Monday, June 9, 2008

Music, Wasted (Friday-Saturday)

My God, what a hectic week this turned out to be. Went to 4 out of the 5 Music Waste nights and managed to catch about 20 different bands. I had to bail on Sunday night because I was too exhausted/hungover to go out 6 nights in a row (Iron Maiden was on the Tuesday night before the beginning of the fest). Besides, I had seen most of the bands playing Sunday night, and the ones I wanted to see are all playing the ER next weekend. Anyways, here's a quick rundown of the bands I managed to catch over Friday and Saturday.

Nu Sensae, who I have seen several times before, were in peak form. They always seemed a little shaky before and their singer lacked some confidence. Let me tell you that any stage fright she may have had before was no where to be seen on Friday. Her vocals were absolutely horrific but in the best way possible. Very reminiscent of Kat Bjelland of Babes in Toyland at her absolute nastiest, though musically it was pretty far from 90s riot-grrl. The duo of drums and bass was pretty bouncy and conducive to slam dancing, which, luckily, due to the odd and small layout of Hoko's, didn't happen.

Vapid, who I had yet to have seen, played a pretty mean set of aggressive post-punk influenced rock. Their singer, who dressed up like your drunk aunt ready to party, was howling in the crowd's face the entire night, leaning back and pausing only to howl some more. I had to leave this set after a half hour to head down to Pub 340...

Certain Breeds were quite the surprise, as I had heard very little about the band before seeing them perform. Their sound was, to say the least, pretty dark, but this was no straight up goth affair. Icy keyboards coupled with melancholic Cello helped their sound reach more interesting terrain than your typical Siouxsie rip off, of which there are plenty abound.

Ice Cream were next and they didn't disappoint either, not that there was much hype. The band has played very few shows to little fanfare over the last few months. 3 people sing in this band including the drummer, keyboardist and guitarist but only the keyboardist, who seemed like she wanted to break out and front the band, was struck by nerves and quietly delivered her few lines. The style was a good mix of female fronted post-punk, glam and disco, which their myspace clearly states. But, unlike most favorites on a band's myspace, Ice Cream's were actually right there in the music! And they did a damn good job with them! Fancy that.

Onomatapoeia rocked a set of heavy laptop beats fronted by his manic vocal attack and attempts to get the crowd rocking. In between songs he had to fend off his seemingly coked-out buddy who kept attacking him while he tried to set up the next track. Other than his cape-wearing friend, the crowd was a little too tame to indulge the singer in his antics. This sorta thing woulda' worked out a little better if everyone knew what they were in for. Note: to any kids who want to attempt this sort of act, the fuel is apparently cough syrup and Red Bull, among other illicit substances.

Jesse Taylor was up next and rocked a similar vibe, ie. dancing and shouting along to pre-programmed beats and trying to get the crowd riled up. My favorite quote was, "Let's get this place shut down, like Black Flag did in the 80s!" Good stuff but not nearly up to the usual standard of a Twin Crystals or CH 3x4 set.

After Jesse's set, I raced down to the Astoria to catch the last half of i/i's set, and, boy, am I glad I did. i/i turned out to be the best surprise of the whole fest, and they now enter into my list of favorite Vancouver bands. The vibe was similar to Bardo Pond (the electric violin makes it happen!) but more like if they were on a hit of speed rather than a bottle of cough syrup. The music was instrumental and pretty loose, even though they all did seem to be on the same path to frenzied nirvana.

White Owl played immediately after and were in top form, which was surprising considering that their drummer had just gotten back from a 2 month tour with Modern Creatures. Their new-ish bass player, Bianca, who also moonlights in The Riff Randells and Ice Cream, anchored the group and gave the crowd something to move to. Meanwhile, the wah attack of Brandon's guitar and the buzzsaw assault of Lindsay's (who is also the singer) guitar kept all the bro's heads-a-bangin'. The true muscle of the group is the Octopus-armed drummer, Mike, who gives all the tracks their thunderous, poly-rhythmic feel. Catch the White Owl kick off the second night of Geronimo!, which is a new night at Pub 340 every Wednesday.

Winning played to a thinning crowd (most people were heading over to 340) but nonetheless were fantastic. I had heard the record at work and didn't think much about it. This band is all about the live show. They play a brand of anti-rock in the vein of US Maple, the kind of rock that would have your average indie-rock fan clamoring for the door. These boys pulled it off quite well, I do say. Had to leave this one a little early to catch White Lung at 340.

These girls are really growing on me, and after their set opening for CPC Gangbangs and their headliner at Music Waste, they're proving to be one of Vancouver's finest DIY bands. The night was pretty blurry by this point so most detail is now lost to the night, but I highly recommend checking this band out before they a) break-up or b) become too big for their own good.
Thanks for all the memories, Music Waste, and we'll do it again next year!

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