Found God in a Mini Turtle Named Mr. Rodney: Psychedelic Porn Crumpets in Toronto’s Axis Club

10/15/2022: The Perth quintet takes the Great North yet again after two years

Rarely do you ever get a miniature turtle performing an operatic masterpiece in a psychedelic rock show. Even under the dark amalgamation of swirling neon colors and flashing lights, the spotlight was on Mr. Rodney, propped up on a high bar stool with the bright, fluorescent white lights on his tiny frame. The thing is obviously a prop, but the suspension of disbelief from concertgoers who treated it as an essential member of the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets made it all the more surreal. Perhaps the bizarre dreaminess of the set was enhanced by the trippy and colorful visuals on the screen, or maybe it was the psychedelic nostalgia that one would get with heavy and distorted garage rock riffs. Who knows? It could be the hot haze from a dense cloud that may or may not have been caused by the complementary smoke machines above the stage. Either way, two years were worth the wait for the Perth quintet’s return to the Great North. From starting off as a university project in 2017, the Porn Crumpets achieved massive success through their 2018 single, “Social Candy.” The creative versatility of combining elements of grunge, intoxicatingly trippy guitar licks, and a spacey voice that borders between a whisper and a distant choir is what truly cemented the Porn Crumpets into the iron grip of the Axis Club’s dance floor. 

Starting the night off with Mr. Rodney’s beautiful rendition of “Nessun Dorma,” followed by a bombastic introduction of all five members of the Porn Crumpets raising their guitars and beers at the tune of an operatic crescendo gave the crowd an idea of what awaited them. Starting off the set with songs like “Tally Ho” and “Lava Lamp Pisco” was an intense experience of instant chaos and cardio—just what you would expect from a Porn Crumpets show. These weren’t songs that were made to listen to within the comforts of your bedroom; every Porn Crumpets song was designed and handcrafted to get you up and jumping around until your legs tire out.

The magnetic presence of the quintet seemed to influence the entire crowd—in one instance, strangers felt like long-lost friends under the haze of smoke and blinding neon lights. There was laughter, spilled drinks all over the floor, and an insane amount of hair spun in all directions. It was almost akin to a high school reunion; I may or may not recall the person who suddenly decided to dance with me, but it's all in good fun so long as I keep the energy up. The band didn’t need to speak to the audience, since we already understood what they wanted us to get from the music. Hit songs such as “Found God in a Tomato,” “November,” and “Hymn for a Droid,” had everyone uniting in solidarity as we screamed the lyrics despite a lack of oxygen in our system. The Porn Crumpets certainly had a hypnotizing spell cast on us all; no matter how tired or dehydrated we were from jumping and pushing each other around, we still managed to keep some air in us to scream “now we’re here, everything’s unclear.”

The quintet used a quick break to claim Toronto as a city with a reputation for rowdy, lively crowds, then begins to give the crowd their warmest appreciation with an added flair of Australian obscenity. Maybe it’s just the way they do things down under, but the casual and everlastingly consistent profanities in each sentence managed to bridge the gap between the floor and the stage. Whenever they talk, it feels warm, sincere, and candid—just like the fuzzy, runner’s high you get with the explosion of the mosh pit during their encore, where they played “Cornflake.”

My head was hit by crowd surfers left and right, my face has been slapped with several men with hair that was way longer than mine, and I’ve personally slipped a few times due to the amount of alcohol spilled on the floor. Case in point: who the fuck cares. It’s all part of the experience, and with a band like the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, you need the edge of a fast-paced, brutal mosh pit to further feel the adrenaline that the music is already conveying.

If ever you get the chance to see the Porn Crumpets live, you have to understand that the show isn’t merely an auditory experience—you’ve practically allowed the universe to open your seventh sense at the very moment you consciously decided to buy tickets to their show.