Pursuit of Happiness refreshingly cheeky

review of live show at the Cycle and Sport Truck Show, Winnipeg Convention Centre, March 3, 1989

by Gaylene K. Dempsey, Winnipeg Free Press, March 5, 1989

A Cycle and Sport Truck Show seems an unlikely place to catch Canada's newest rock sensations, but despite diversions such as a mechanical surfboard and a swimsuit fashion show, more than 500 people at the Winnipeg Convention Centre were still receptive to The Pursuit of Happiness on Friday night.

Led by androgynous singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Moe Berg, the five-piece band ripped into more than a dozen tunes off their recent Todd Rundgren-produced Love Junk LP, currently making its way up the charts in both Canada and the United States. The album exhibits Berg's decidedly warped views of the pursuit of young love, the trials and tribulations of growing up and even social consciousness, and the concert followed suit.

TPOH played their odes to angst and cynicism - Killed by Love, I'm An Adult Now and Hard to Laugh - juxtaposed beside songs about the mystery of women on Ten Fingers and Walking in the Woods and those containing out-and-out sexual innuendos.

Though the band appeared to have a slight case of road weariness (particularly noticeable in Berg's sometimes strained vocals), they still came across as refreshingly raw, cheeky and willing to rock out in a barren, cement-dominated room the Convention Centre ordinarily calls its garage.

Singer Leslie Stanwyck, clad in a black miniskirt and cropped top, vamped her way into the enthusiastic audience's heart by doing little more than occasionally strumming a black acoustic guitar and uttering her sultry backing vocals. Blonde guitarist Kris Abbott, wearing a black patent leather jacket, proved she has what it takes to play with the best.

The band makes no secret of its '70's pop and rock influences, but by intertwining Rolling Stones-like power chords, driving riffs from bands like Montrose and Motown's wall of sound, they have come up with a niche to call their own.

Copyright 1989, Winnipeg Free Press

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