While Wheels-and-Snake era Degrassi is considered the gold standard of ’90s Canadian after-school programming, we’ll always have a special place in our heart for Jonovision, the CBC’s teenage talkshow hosted by J-Roc—er, Jonathan Torrens. It’s partly because, alongside Street Cents, Jonovision was one of the few Canadian shows that captured the ’90s Can-adolescent zeitgeist. (That being, of course, stitching alien head patches to your canvas World Famous backpack and wearing pajama pants all the time.) It’s partly because Jono did some famously bizarre segments, like the time he reunited the original cast of Degrassi or spoofed Hard Core Logo. But mostly, we loved the show for Jonapalooza, Jonovision‘s hilariously awkward battle of the bands, where lipsynching high-school nu-metal bands collided with veritable Cancon stars, Milton, Ont.’s only ska band earned national airtime, and everyone push-moshed their JNCOs off.

So, here, in no particular order, our five favourite Jonapalooza performances, preserved in all their VHS glory. And if anyone spots the Gob or Limblifter Jonapalooza performances, get in touch!

Scratching Post

Remember when the word “hard rock” didn’t conjure up images of Western Canadian alt-bro bands with cowboy-script logos? Remember when hard rock bands were fronted by girls with fire-engine red, Manic Panic-dyed hair? Remember when nipple rings were rad? We barely do. But thankfully, we have this video of the Nicole Hughes-fronted Scatching Post (and likely a few old Chart magazines) to remind us of the era.

Flashing Lights

CBC-pin-and-Blundstone-toting Cancon masters’ students will forever—forever!—claim that Kanye stole “Flashing Lights”’s namesake from this Halifax outfit. They’re wrong, of course, but how good does their uber-slick, Sloan-indebted pop sound, even a near-decade later? We’re throwing on Where the Change Is right now.


Go ahead. Laugh all you want at Mike Trebilcock’s Mike-Dirnt-in-Joakleys vibe. (Or, for the juvenile among you, his last name.) Or their inclusion on MuchMusic’s Big Shiny Tunes. Yuk it up, jokers. Fact is, the Killjoys’ infectious power pop still might be Hamilton, Ont.’s greatest contribution to the Canpop canon. And aside from a few out-of-tune guitars, their Jonovision performance is classic Killjoy vintage.

Wide Mouth Mason

Rumour has it that Winnipeg Regina ??? Saskatoon’s Wide Mouth Mason—along with their bluesy touring counterparts, Big Sugar—still exist, touring the prairie folk-rock circuit in relative anonymity. Yet even in their heyday (1997, for those counting), Wide Mouth Mason still sounded like the only band you and your dad could agree upon. Chances are, the old fella still spins his copy of Where I Started on occasion, too. 

Jet Set Satellite

In 2013, copies of Winnipeg’s Jet Set Satellite’s breakthrough album, Blueprint, are selling for a single penny on Amazon. But back in 1999, though, they were alternative radio stars, complete with proto-emo guyliner, Randy River pants, and feathery centre-parted haircuts. Here, their teenage-depressive hit single, “The Best Way to Die.”

Sum 41

To top it all off, AUX’s YouTube archeologists uncovered this (surprisingly good) Jonopalooza performance from a very, very early version of Sum 41. How early? Well, they’re fronted by a mystery singer. Deryck Whibley’s the band’s guitarist. Dave Brownsound’s nowhere to be found. And inexplicably, the band tosses a crowd-surfing dummy atop Jonovision‘s frothing, 15-person mosh pit. Here, Ajax teen-punk at its finest.

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