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Two Dollar Bill worth every Bad Penny

Ash Houghton | Interrobang | Lifestyles | November 28th, 2005



Last weekend I learned that one man's no-show parade is another man's Two Dollar Bill and the Bad Pennies show.

It all started when my sister convinced me that it was London's Santa Claus parade. She then begged me to go with her so that she didn't look ridiculous being a grown woman alone with no children at a parade where the intended audience still can't tie their own shoes. Now, I was sure that the Santa Claus parade was not last weekend at all, but since we were little my sister has always been able to persuade my opinion on things. So my boyfriend and I bundled up and trucked on over to my sisters house, which was a twenty minute walk. We then all marched down town where it became painfully obvious that there was no parade on. My sister thought it was hilarious; I was grumpy, tired and cold. However, my mood drastically changed when on the way back from the downtown core I saw a sign out front of the Alex P. Keaton informing me that Two Dollar Bill and the Bad Pennies would be playing that very evening (!). The whole night was saved!

You see, the local London music culture has always tended to embrace collaboration, transformation and co-operative efforts. No band exemplifies these qualities more than Two Dollar Bill and the Bad Pennies, who have been gracing the local scene since as long as anyone can remember. Possessing the unique quality of never being the same band twice, Two Dollar Bill remains an absolute delight with every encounter. With styles ranging from Celtic, to Bluegrass to Rockabilly, and lineups consisting of some of the greatest musicians London has to offer (at one time even including such local notable as Paul Nesbit-Larking, head of the Political Science department at Huron College), Two Dollar Bill's staying power is matched only by its entertainment value.

In its current incarnation, Two Dollar Bill is running the pub circuit providing what can only be described as Old Timey Rock & Roll. Songs ranging from very early Elvis to Bill Haley and the Comets, one cannot help but sing, clap and dance the night away to the twangy stylings of this enormously talented group. This time round, the ever-present Bill is accompanied by the staples: electric guitar and stand-up bass. However, what makes the current lineup so intriguing is drummer Carlos LaTorre, who provides a percussive backbone with wire brushes on an empty tin can. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could possibly be more rock & roll than that.

As they are often tricky to track down, and fans that don't have an ”in” with the band, like me for instance, may find seeing Two Dollar Bill a daunting exercise in futility. However, keeping your eye open because this enigmatic group is incredibly rewarding. In the grand tradition of pub acts, Two Dollar Bill and the Bad Pennies bring to every venue an atmosphere of sheer enjoyment. Whether you are trying to sit back with friends over a pint or dance the night away, tracking down an elusive Two Dollar Bill show for an evening out will leave no one disappointed.
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