BeatRoute Magazine BC Print E edition May 2017

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BeatRoute Magazine: Western Canada’s Indie Arts & Entertainment Monthly BeatRoute (AB) Mission PO 23045 Calgary, AB T2S 3A8 E. editor@beatroute.ca BeatRoute (BC) #202 – 2405 E Hastings Vancouver, BC V5K 1Y8 P. 778-888-1120 BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics. Currently BeatRoute’s AB edition is distributed in Calgary, Edmonton (by S*A*R*G*E), Banff and Canmore. The BC edition is distributed in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo.

FREE MAY 2017

DIRTY WINDSHIELDS

CBC’S GRANT LAWRENCE CLEANS UP HIS ACT

Feist • Timber Timbre • CJ Ramone • Municipal Waste • Kranium • Russell Howard

+ more


JOHNFLUEVOGSHOESGRANVILLEST··WATERST··FLUEVOGCOM


May ‘17

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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THE SKINNY

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CITY

Yasmine Shemesh

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COMEDY

Graeme Wiggins

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04

05

06

09

10

11

16

WORKING FOR THE

WEEKEND

∙ with Kristie Johnson

TIMBER TIMBRE

FOXYGEN

THE SHINS

RON SEXSMITH

COVER-GRANT LAWRENCE

DIRTY WINDSHIELDS

CHIXDIGGIT

FAKE SHARK

GOODWOOD ATOMS

RODNEY DECROO

GIRL POOL

12 DEADTIME

13

THE SKINNY

-CJ Ramone

-Daggermouth

-Conan

-Unleash the Archers

-Municipal Waste

BPM

-Kranium

-Pacific Rhythm

-Clubland

-Com Truise

-JMSN

CITY

19

-Railway Stage & Beer Cafe

-Spot Prawn Fest

-Say Hey

BOOZE

20

-Andina Brewery

-Pair of Pears

-Bottoms Up

22 THEATRE

-Children of God

-Ties of Blood

23

24 QUEER

26 FILM

27

COMEDY

-Russell Howard

-Nathan Harland

-Carlotta Girl

-Queerview Mirror

-Queen of the Month

-Daniel Blake

-This Month in Film

REVIEWS

-Feist

-The Damned

- The XX

-King Gizzard &

the Lizard Wizard

34 HOROSCOPES

DISTRIBUTION

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locations throughout British Columbia. If you

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Reproduction of the contents is strictly prohibited.

Rodney DeCroo – Page 11

xxxxxx

May 2017 3


with Kristie Johnson of East Vanity Parlour

GLENN ALDERSON

Kristi Johanson is the owner and operator of East Vanity Parlour. In business

for ten years now, the quirky hair salon recently relocated from Main Street

to Hastings Sunrise and the neighbourhood is already starting to boast that

“fresh-out-the-salon” feel to it.

“It's been an absolute whirlwind of expanding, moving, reinventing and realigning,”

Johanson tells BeatRoute. “I'm really loving 2017 at EVP. This last

move was a real ‘balls out’ decision that has blessed us in many ways.”

You can find Johanson behind the chair one or two days a week but the balls

really come out when she’s got a microphone in hand and she’s fronting her

power punk/pop rock band The New Black, a musical project she’s been a part

of for almost as long as she’s been running with scissors.

We caught up with Johanson to talk about what makes her band and the East

Vanity Parlour a cut about the rest.

BeatRoute: How long have you been cutting hair?

Kristi Johanson: I went to Beauty School in 1999. I had a few victims before

then and believe it or not, they are still my clients.

BR: How did you get your start playing music?

KJ: I've been playing with The New Black for over a decade. Before I met the

guys I had a pretty hard time expressing myself musically. It was something I

always really wanted to do, but I was the biggest chicken about it. A friend of

mine challenged me to go grab a local paper and go try out for a few of the

bands advertising for a singer, just to get my jitters out. On that adventure I

hit the jackpot and met four guys that had wicked taste in music and were

incredibly talented. Now they are stuck with me.

bands playing. It makes it hard to a venue to have it's own cult following and

even harder for bands to reach new people.

BR: When it comes to music at work, what sort of tunes do you find yourself

spinning at the East Vanity Parlour on a regular basis?

KJ: I'm the old gal in the parlour who's always changing the music and grumbling

about "kids these days." The policy is that it has to be nostalgic and badass

but it's rare that I bring the hammer down. My current favourites are the

Stranglers, Sam Cooke and CCR, but I feel like that has something to do with

trying to encourage the sunshine.

BR: Now that you’re all set up at your new location, what are your long-term

plans for EVP?

KJ: Now that we have this new functional space I'd really like to get involved

in more events and classes. Share the love, share the knowledge and be a fun

positive presence in our new community. We just wanna be part of all the life

and color that Hastings Sunrise has to offer.

BR: What are your plans for the summer?

KJ: The New Black and the Parlour are finally going to fully collide. We are

shooting a music video for a song that we call “Vanity” in the new space featuring

all of our EVP girls. Stay Tuned.

The New Black are performing at the Fairview Pub with Cass King

and the Next Right Thing on May 12.

BR: Does cutting hair and singing in a band have any crossovers or commonalities?

Does this make your job easier or harder?

KJ: In this industry it's perfect! You can tell people about gigs when you're

behind the chair and you can meet cool new people all the time at shows. It's

nice to have music in common with your clients, saves you from too much

small talk.

BR: What is the most rewarding part about running your own business?

KJ: Providing a fun, creative space for my friends to make a living.

BR: What is the most challenging part about your job?

KJ: Balance. It's a constant circus but the show must go on.

BR: What is your favourite thing about playing music in the Vancouver music

community?

KJ: I'd say the hidden gems. It doesn't matter how big or small the gig is, I feel

like I always get introduced to someone or find my self standing next to " a really

big deal" there are so many talented musicians in this city who have contributed

in a huge way that have just been casually woven into this canadian quilt .

BR: In your opinion, what are some of the struggles that bands face in Vancouver?

Do you have any advice for how to overcome these hurdles?

KJ: I don't understand the struggles that venues or promoters have so it's

not my place to say, but, I do wish we had more loud and proud options, you

know? The kind of places where you walk in and you can tell by the regulars

and the posters on the wall that you are gonna see something in your spectrum.

There seems to be a lot of vague "music clubs" in this city and it's often I

find myself at a show where there doesn't seem to be a common thread to the

photo by Glenn Alderson

Kristie Johnson and East Vanity Parlour are staying sharp in their new home.

4

May 2017


TIMBER TIMBRE

creepin’ in real freaky with a political new record

MUSIC

NADDINE MADELL-MORGAN

Timber Timbre’s sixth album wears the foreboding doubt known to anyone weathering the world today

Timber Timbre’s music is sexy,

swampy, and makes one want to take

off their clothes and sweat a little. The

lyrics drip and ache with longing and

cinematic restraint, in no small part

due to frontman Taylor Kirk starting

on the path of filmmaking over a decade

ago. “I had the idea that I might

like to make music for films and I was

serious about making recording,” Kirk

tells BeatRoute. “By the time I finished

(school) I had made a few art films, and

realized I was making the films so that

I could make the music for the films.”

So, Kirk started Timber Timbre.

“I never even had any idea that I

would even share it with anybody, that

I would even play it for my friends or

anyone I knew. I didn’t have any particular

ambition.”

Six albums, two JUNO nominations,

and two Polaris Music Prize shortlists

later, things are a lot different.

Timber Timbre’s last three albums

has recorded in a myriad of magical

places like the renamed Grand Lodge

No. 24, the studio formerly owned by

Arcade Fire. Other locations have included

the National Music Center in

Calgary and the Banff Centre for Performing

Arts, which was a “real dream.”

Perhaps trying to top their previous locations,

the recording sessions for their

upcoming sixth full-length Sincerely,

Future Pollution, took them to La

Frette chateau, a studio outside Paris.

“The guy who owns (and runs) the

place is living in Montreal part time

and has a relationship with the music

scene here,” explains Kirk of who the

album came to be.

“Leslie Feist had been there, [José]

González, Patrick Watson… so I’d

heard about it forever. Then we had a

show in Paris and we came to visit the

studio, to have a look around and they

were so hospitable and the studio itself

just had a weird vibe.”

Doubt, at one time or another can

seep into artistic endeavors, no matter

the success one achieves.

“The kind of doubt that I had with

this recording I have never had before”.

The writing and recording came

during a time where Timber Timbre

was restructuring as an act and an entity.

All their infrastructure “had to also

be reassembled.” The spooky vibe of La

Frette, the political landscape, and the

lingering doubt Kirk felt seeped into

the recordings themselves.

“For the most part people found

it weird,” Kirk states. “Suspicious or

something.”

“In the past, we’ve always put out

the songs that we’ve liked or felt were

the most interesting. This time, because

we started working with this European

label called City Slang, and the

project has more traction and interest

in Europe, they had a stronger opinion

and they felt that [the album’s lead single,

the morose and lo-fi] “Sewer Blues”

was a better bridge sonically between

the back catalog and what the new record

sounds like.”

Accordingly, Sincerely, Future Pollution

is pure heartache, and despite

photo by Caroline Desilets

the restructuring, just as freaky and

provocative as anything you’ve heard

from Timber Timbre. Anchored by

Kirk’s provocative baritone, it’s bluesy

and bleak with swirling arrangements

and melancholic guitars.

Timber Timbre perform at the

Vogue Theatre (Vancouver) on

May 5.

FOXYGEN

still hanging in there with croons and show tunes

photo by Cara Robbins

EMILY BLATTA

Foxygen employs the who’s who of glam rock to bring us 30 minutes of hangtime

Sam France and Jonathan Rado of indie-rock

duo Foxygen have returned

to perform their fourth album Hang,

with enough energy and nostalgia to

knock you out. The California pair is

well known for their retro sound and

psychedelic undertones, which their

first three records have been built on.

Although rooted in youthful beginnings

as high school theatre kids, and

influenced by the West

Coast music scene, France calls their

career “an evolving, ever-growing discography”,

which Hang is proof of.

Although each Foxygen record is established

in its own right, Hang sounds

less like a growing pain and manages

to explode out of 1960s’ dreaminess

to collide with sounds that are hectic,

smooth and reminiscent of the showtunes

of earlier American days. This

album comes three years after …And

Star Power, and without skipping a

beat, knows it’s ready to be what it is.

“We had this vision of a 1920s crooner

in front of a full orchestra, like Moon

River”, says France about the concept

for Hang. “We weren’t trying to recreate

anything, but were just going with

our own idea of what that period was

like”.

Hang’s feature music video, “Follow

the Leader”, is exactly to the kind of

interpretation France is talking about,

which features him dressed in full

floods leading a pack of wide-eyed,

uncoordinated adults in kid’s clothing.

In true Foxygen style, France looks and

moves like a young Mick Jagger, and

sounds like him on Broadway.

The backbone of their orchestra is

Brian and Michael D’Addario of the

Lemon Twigs, who play drums for the

majority of the record. According to

France, the East Coast band “was the

machine driving the whole thing”,

and they played an important role in

helping to lay the foundation for what

France and Rado were hoping to build.

As a result, Hang is capable of being

versatile, and hits new heights without

being all over the place.

Although only a half hour of music,

Hang is full on, and as much as it pays

tribute to the great American Songbook,

it also doesn’t hesitate to become

something of a glam-rock album.

To help it navigate the genre is Steven

Drozd of the Flaming Lips, who has

collaborated with Foxygen before, and

Scott Walker, whose style France says is

an influence for the Broadway-sounding

track, “Upon a Hill”. In this same

vein are songs “Avalon” and “America”,

which France sings with intensity and

commitment to his character, creeping

close towards Bowie and Mercury

while being careful not to flatter them.

That’s the beauty of Hang—its ability

to both resurrect and let things be.

Foxygen’s theatrical personality—

particularly in concert—might sometimes

feel like comedy, but France

insists that although spectacular, it’s

not meant to be ironic. “I sing from

my heart… Foxygen is about creating

a world”.

Like any great spectacle, France

and Rado’s world should be experienced

in real-time. You can see

Foxygen live at the Rickshaw Theatre

(Vancouver) on May 25th.

May 2017 MUSIC

5


MUSIC

THE SHINS

still dancing around matters of the heart

RON SEXSMITH

celebrating a series of firsts and potential lasts

COURTNEY HEFFERNAN

Indie rock icon James Mercer is getting more jovial with his dance moves in his old age.

LIAM PROST

There is no quintessential indie rock dance move.

There are a few adjacent flails like the skank from ska,

but what indie rock audiences are most known for is

bobbing their heads. This shouldn’t have to be the case.

Relevant to this point: Shin’s frontman James Mercer

tells BeatRoute that he is often “one of the first

people to start dancing” at a party, and is now taken to

getting down on stage, a far cry from the misty indie

Americana that once changed Zach Braff’s life.

“It’s not part of indie rock,” Mercer says, arguing that

to get at a quintessential indie rock dance move, we

might have to “go back to the pogo.”

While he’s not quite embracing the pogo yet, Mercer

has “been feeling a lot more comfortable on stage

and having more fun.” In a recent performance on Jimmy

Kimmel, he is even seen guitar-less, in front of his

six-piece band and amidst a swath of nautical looking

flora. This shimmery brightness is equally evident on

the band’s newest offering.

Released on March 10, Heartworms is the Shins

sixth offering since their formation in ’96, and is so

called because of the thoroughfare it draws between

the heart on its sleeve, and its plethora of earworms.

The record opens on one such danceable moment, a

sk- guitar driven pop song called “Name for You,” an

ode to the “limits that are placed on women’s lives.”

Mercer penned the song specifically thinking about his

children and his wife, whom he praises for her knowledge

of women’s issues and feminist discourse. It’s a

song that is only political in broad strokes, focused on

the experiences Mercer works hard to empathize with.

Musically, Heartworms is a massive and instrumentally

varied collection of songs, but there have been

enough Shins records to identify a relationship and

a consistent structure between them. A Shins record

usually closes with a down tempo affair. This time it’s

“The Fear,” a song Mercer describes as an attempt at

a touching, earnest song.” Mercer penned the song,

but the string arrangement was done by band member

Mark Watrous and it “transforms” the song with a

“mariachi” like melody. It’s a pretty simple song (pun

intended), only “three chords” and it has a softness not

unlike his best albums closers like “Gone for Good” and

“The Past and Pending.”

“I knew that was going to be the last song… I like

leaving on that sort of a note,” reveals Mercer.

While The Shins is characterized as a singer-songwriter

project, Mercer’s song-writing, production,

6 MUSIC

and performance philosophy all stems from this kind

of conscious effort at empathy: he is not a dictator.

Accordingly, Heartworms was written, recorded, and

assembled in a non-linear fashion in collaboration

with several new and returning band members. For

instance, there was a year gap between the writing

and recording of the first and the second verse of “The

Fear.”

Mercer writes the songs, but takes feedback from

everyone he can, from band members, to his management,

and even his mom, although he makes sure to

take everything “with a grain of salt.” The band specifically

is a “really big part of this record.” For example,

upon the soundtrack cut of the track “So Now What”

from director Zach Braff’s upcoming film Wish I Was

Here during a rehearsal for a pre-album release show,

the band pushed for it to be on the record. Mercer listened,

even displacing a song or two that he liked.

The band has also informed the set-list for the live

set, bringing out “new interpretations” of early songs.

“A song like “Girl Inform Me…” has this swing to it

that was never apparent before,” Mercer describes. The

“new arrangement for “Gone For Good”” has “breathed

new life into it” after having “dropped out of the set list

for years.”

When rehearsing for the tour, Mercer describes

wanting “to hear what the guys in the band, what everybody

liked,” and try to incorporate those songs into

the set, while still staying reverent to the material and

the audience and, of course, “play the hits.”

James Mercer is a profoundly empathetic frontman,

both musically and personally, and this has solidified

perfectly into a contest to give away the band’s early

tour van to a young artist that he hopes will use it as

an “asset.”

“I could have sold it or traded it in,” Mercer says of

the unusual competition. “[But] I just wanted another

band to have those crazy experiences.” Thus, he fixed

up the van, a Ford Econoline, and will be giving it away

to a “talented and hardworking” act of choice: all you

have to do is record a cover of a song on Heartworms

and post it on YouTube. Already, dozens of precocious

videos are available for viewing online.

Presumably, the winner will be the visionaries with

the best indie rock dance moves.

The Shins perform on May 27 at the Queen Elizabeth

Theatre (Vancouver).

Despite the finality of its name, The Last

Rider represents a number of firsts for Ron

Sexsmith. His fifteenth album is his first

self-produced work, as well as his first album

recorded with his entire band. From its

conception Sexsmith says, “I knew… it was a

band album.” Whereas on previous records

Sexsmith largely worked with session players

or his producers’ preferred musicians, “This

is the first time we’ve actually gone in the

studio, made the record and the people who

played on it will be with me live. It’s exciting

for me [and] for them.”

That this album is self-produced is partly

circumstantial: “We decided we couldn’t really

afford to have any outside people, which

is just as well. I had already intended on doing

it with my band so it all worked out, I

think.” Sexsmith and his drummer, Don Kerr,

an experienced producer, worked together

to produce the album. “Don and I, it was very

much a team effort. The band too, everybody

pitched in,” says Sexsmith. The album was recorded

at Bathouse Studio in Bath, Ontario,

which was a welcomed change from the big

cities where Sexsmith has previously recorded.

Despite his previous reluctance to get involved

with the production of his albums,

Sexsmith had much to contribute to the production

of The Last Rider. Its production is a

culmination of Sexsmith’s experienanksce in

the studio: “I sort of knew how these songs

were supposed to go… I’ve done so many records

now, I had a lot of knowledge anyway

that I picked up from these other producers.”

Even from the outset Sexsmith felt a

strong connection to the songs he was writing

for The Last Rider. He says, “I just really

felt close to these songs. Before I even made

the record I was sort of living with these

songs.” The result is an album that is personal

and nostalgic. On “Breakfast Ethereal,” he

recounts memories from his childhood in

St. Catharines, Ontario, and wishes he could

once again look at the world with youthful

wonder. On “Radio” he muses, “What has become

of the world we used to know?” as he

recalls the music he listened to on the radio

growing up.

Though Sexsmith has recently moved from

Toronto to Stratford, he says The Last Rider

is not about his departure from the city. It

is only in retrospective that he realized “The

Man at the Gate (1913)” is his farewell to Toronto.

He says of the album’s concluding track,

“The song was inspired by a postcard from

1913 where I see this little man standing by the

[Trinity-Bellwoods] gate in the distance… Afterwards

I though the song was kind of about

me, really. About hundred years later, I’m the

man at the gate. I once lived there, now I live

somewhere else.” Sexsmith sings that the

man’s presence in the postcard remains “to

prove his existence”; “The Man at the Gate

(1913)” is as much as testament to his life in

Toronto as it is to Sexsmith’s.

With the release of The Last Rider, Sexsmith

and his band are going on a nation-wide tour,

with dates in the UK and Ireland to follow.

When asked if the album title suggests this

will be Sexsmith’s last record and tour for the

foreseeable future he replies, “It’s unrealistic

to think I won’t make anymore records – I’m

writing all the time – but I’d just like to not

do it for a while and play shows and see how

that goes.”

Ron Sexsmith performs at the Rio Theatre

(Vancouver) on May 15 and the

Alix Goolden Hall (Victoria) on May 17.

The Last Rider marks many firsts for Sexsmith while ending many eras at the same time.

May 2017


May 2017 7


8

May 2017


MUSIC

GRANT LAWRENCE

FORMER SMUGGLER RELIVES HIS GLORY DAYS

DIRTY

WINDSHIELDS

the ride to fame is bumpy, but it’s fun as hell

NOOR KHWAJA

ALEX HUDSON

Grant Lawrence is not your typical

rocker. Never mind the fact that he

spent 16-odd years touring as the

frontman of Vancouver garage-punk

band the Smugglers. Never mind

that the group was signed to Lookout

Records (the label behind Green

Day and Operation Ivy). When the

singer-turned-author shows up for an

interview at the downtown branch

of the Vancouver Public Library, he’s

wearing a pink-flecked flannel shirt

and has a Canada flag watch strapped

to his wrist, looking and acting every

bit the part of the affable CBC radio

host that he is today.

This isn’t a criticism, mind you,

since Grant Lawrence makes no claims

to punk rock cred, and is self-deprecating

whenever the subject of the

Smugglers comes up. “I was a bit more

of a gameshow host than I was a lead

singer,” the 45-year-old remembers,

referring in a roundabout way to the

band’s mid-concert dance contests. “I

was a little bit more Monty Hall than

Mick Jagger.”

Nor does he attempt to suggest

that the Smugglers were particularly

good band. In fact, he has spent the

most of the past couple of decades

thinking that their albums were, in

his words, “throwaway.” It wasn’t until

recently that he re-listened to their

discography and discovered that the

albums weren’t completely terrible.

“They’re actually better than we remembered.

We thought they were

shittier,” he admits.

During his years in the band, Lawrence

recorded these highlights from

the road in his personal journals. “I

kept tour diaries with the Smugglers

since day one,” he explains. “Since the

very first gig in 1988 over at the corner

of Homer and Nelson. Every gig, just

wrote it down, wrote it down, wrote

it down.”

These tour diaries were initially

private, but as the band’s popularity

grew (albeit modestly), some were

reproduced as zines. As the Internet

took over as a promotional tool, the

band’s Canadian label, Mint Records,

encouraged Lawrence to publish his

diaries online. After the group disbanded,

Lawrence shifted into a fulltime

job at CBC Radio, and friends encouraged

him to compile his journals

into a book. He first sat down to write

a Smugglers memoir in 2005, but was

unable to find the inspiration.

“I was still burnt out on music, especially

because I was working with

music all day, every day at the CBC,” he

says. “It was kind of like if you work at

Burger King Monday to Friday, chances

are on Saturday you don’t want to

eat a Whopper. In my after-hours, did

I want to write about music?”

While on a lengthy paternity leave

spent raising two children with his

wife, singer-songwriter Jill Barber, Lawrence

finally devoted himself to his

long-gestating tour memoir. When he

dug into his old journals, however, he

was dismayed. “It was just disastrous.

Just horrible,” he says with a cringe.

“I’m going through all these diaries,

and they’re just so embarrassing.

They’re inappropriate. They’re rude.

They’re not the way my forty-something

brain thinks.”

He continues, “In the early diaries,

I’d be like, ‘That promoter was such an

idiot. What a stupid loser and what

stupid dreadlocks he had.’ I would

never say that now. I would never

make a string of derogatory remarks

about what someone looked like.”

Eventually, Lawrence wrote the

book as a novel, peppering his narrative

with photos, concert flyers and

the occasional (epithet-free) page

from his diary. The hilarious, inspiring

and occasionally gross result is Dirty

Windshields: The Best and Worst of

the Smugglers Tour Diaries, due out

in May through Douglas & McIntyre.

(Sidebar)

The riveting story begins when

Lawrence was a teenager growing

up in the ‘80s in the least punk rock

neighbourhood imaginable, West

Vancouver. It was there he met an

older schoolmate named John Ruskin,

who later became celebrity journalist

Nardwuar the Human Serviette f. “He

kind of rescued me from total nerdom

and bullying,” Lawrence remembers.

Nardwuar was a burgeoning concert

promoter who hired cool Vancouver

bands to play school dances,

and this got Lawrence involved in the

world of underground rock.

Local shows led to tours, which

led to record deals, which led to

more tours. And so it went until the

Smugglers finally ended up going on a

permanent hiatus in 2004. Lawrence

became a full-time CBC host, spearheading

the indie-focused Radio 3 and

helping to champion a golden age of

Canadian independent rock.

photo by Shimon Karmel

“It was a great time to do it, because

this Canadian indie rock revolution

occurred right as we started

the Radio 3 podcast and right when

we started broadcasting every day on

Radio 3 online,“ Lawrence remembers

fondly. “It was Arcade Fire and Wolf

Parade and the New Pornographers

and Broken Social Scene and Metric

and Said the Whale. It was all happening,

all at once.” Lawrence also hosted

the Polaris Music Prize Gala six times.

Sadly, those glory days are over.

Now, Lawrence is only minimally involved

in Radio 3, he has dropped off

the Polaris jury, and much of the excitement

surrounding Canadian indie

rock has diminished. “It was amazing

to be part of that vortex,” Lawrence

says with a hint of wistfulness. “It feels

like that decade of glory has faded. It’s

done.”

Then again, it’s never too late to try

to recapture the glory days. After 13

years of silence, the Smugglers reunited

for a one-off show this past January

in California, and they’re playing the

Commodore Ballroom for Lawrence’s

book launch on May 13. They will then

play Toronto and possibly one additional

city before disappearing once

again.

The singer and his bandmates may

never have been particularly popular,

but they’re counting on the fact

that they accrued enough friends

and fans to fill the Commodore for

one night only. And don’t worry, all

you aging parents: the show will be

over by midnight at the latest. “The

babysitter factor is very important,

because so many of our fans are now

parents that if they’re both coming to

the show, they’ve got to get home to

relieve the babysitter,” Lawrence says.

“The babysitter is a 14-year-old and

she’s not working till 2. She’s got to go

home.”

How rock and roll is that?

The Smugglers will play May 13

at the Commodore Ballroom.

Dirty Windshields, the much-awaited third

book by author, musician, and award-winning

CBC Radio 3 Podcast host Grant Lawrence,

will be hitting shelves this month. The

memoir promises a candid account of the

rambunctious tour adventures of the Smugglers

as the Vancouver-based band trekked

across Canada and, later, the world.

“The Smugglers’ motto was ‘ambition,

good times, and denial,’” Lawrence declares.

“Ambition is what makes you believe…Good

times are what you have when that ambition

pans out, and denial is when you add

in when the good times maybe aren’t that

good.”

“We were teenagers on the road, so there

was a lot of booze, a lot of drugs, and…

there was sex,” Lawrence divulges, on what

readers can expect. “Sex happens, people

do have sex…when rock and roll is involved,

there tends to be even more sex.”

Lawrence has a natural ability to reel his

audience in with a casual sense of familiarity.

However, veering away from his witty

recounts of past moments with the Smugglers,

he reveals the more sincere message

within the book’s pages: “I know it sounds

a bit cliché, but I would say that the deeper

meaning would be to follow your dreams.”

Dirty Windshields is being launched

at the Commodore Ballroom on May

13.

May 2017 MUSIC

9


MUSIC

CHIXDIGGIT

reflecting on old tales of pop punk history

FAKE SHARK

slaying the zombie tends to make one feel more human

JAMIE GOYMAN

Chixdiggit frontman KJ Jansen recalls stories from the frontlines of the last 25 years of Western Canadian pop punk.

TIM BOGDACHEV

Chixdiggit are GREAT! They have all qualities

that I like about music — they play

pop punk, they are very funny and they

are on Fat Wreck Chords. What’s not to

like?

They’ve been around for more than 25

years and it’s a known fact that they sold

over 100 shirts with their logo before

even playing their first show. And when

they played that very first show about

a 100 people showed up in Chixdiggit

shirts and promoter thought that they

were really good. They weren’t. But this

is a good story.

I wasn’t at that first show because I

discovered Chixdiggit good 10 years later.

I grew up in Russia and had very limited

access to punk rock. But there was

a CD-R making its ways around Russian

punk rockers. It had albums on by Lagwagon,

No Use For a Name, Bigwig and

one of the albums which were squeezed

in on those 700 megabytes was Born

on the First of July by Chixdiggit. I liked

it. It had the super hit “Quit Your job,”

which was whole 25 seconds in length.

I showed that song to my friends who

were heavily into Limp Bizkit and korn,

they didn’t like it.

In 2012 I did my first interview with

frontman KJ Jansen at Cafe Crepe, across

from the Venue where they played their

show. We had a great conversation and

KJ was so nice that he even mentioned

our chat in Chixdiggit’s latest song,

10 MUSIC

“2012.” This is how I made it on a Fat

Wreck Chords release. Dream accomplished,

nothing to live for anymore,

great success!

Last time Chixdiggit played a show in

Vancouver we hung out for a few hours

before their set at the Cobalt and then

we went to see another two Fat bands,

ToyGuitar and CJ Ramone, who were

playing at the Rickshaw the same night.

The thing which struck me about KJ that

night that he is a phenomenal storyteller,

he’s the kind of person who can make

an average story sound great. So in this

interview I asked him to tell a couple

of stories related to The Smugglers and

the early days of Chixdiggit because it

would make great sense in anticipation

of the Smugglers reunion show on May

13, which Chixdiggit are playing as well.

EARNEST BAND

Our first seven-inch, Best Hung Carrot

in the Fridge” came out in 1995 and

the guy who released it, Jack Tieleman

from Lance Rock Records, would send

us photocopies of reviews or any kind of

response. One of the reviews was from

Vancouver’s student magazine Discorder.

The reviewer was referring to us as

being “a little too earnest” and we were

like what the fuck does “earnest” mean? I

don’t think we’ve been described as “earnest”

since. And the review was written

by this guy named Grant Lawrence.

photo by Scott Cole

Couple of years later we were invited

to play “Music West.” It was a type

of festival where bands fight over the

attention of people who’re gonna try

and make them famous. We’ve all been

drinking quite a bit and everybody at

the bar had nametags on. I remember

walking through the bar and one of the

nametags said “Grant Lawrence - Mint

Records.” It was the guy who said that

we were “earnest.” I still don’t know what

“earnest” really means. I confronted him,

but in no time we were friends: talking,

drinking and hanging out all night. As

an aside, Grant told me recently that

sometime during that night we ran into

NOFX, which would have been the first

time I crossed paths with Fat Mike. I had

no idea who they were at the time. Anyway,

Grant and I ended up staying up all

night and eating at a downtown Denny’s

at six a.m. As a welcoming host, Grant

offered to buy me a dinner, but the problem

was that he tried to pay with a BC

Health Card, which isn’t a form of payment

in most places. I ended up paying

for both of us. So I not only got a bad review,

but also had to pay for the reviewer’s

dinner. Despite all this we’ve been

“earnest" friends since that night.

Chixdiggit perform on May 13 at

the Commodore with the Smugglers.

After a small hiatus Vancouver’s own Fake Shark are coming back fully

stocked and ready to keep the momentum rolling. Their new album Faux Real

(May 26 - Light Organ Records) not only comes across as their most cohesive

work to date, it also features the vocal stylings of Hannah Georges on mid

album track “NOFOMO”, and “The Real Zombie” is matched with the lyrical

flow of the one and only Kool Keith. “That song is really about putting away

the old version of the band,” explains lead vocalist Kevvy Mental, “it’s a new

lineup and a new sound so that one lyrically is about putting a bullet into the

head of a real zombie (*ahem* Fake Shark – Real Zombie).”

Coming off their ’15 release Liar the band has tried to simultaneously satisfy

their own tastes while trying not to alienate their audience; really showing

the new direction they’ve set in motion for themselves. Cutting the track

list down from the original 70 written songs to the album listed 11 was no

easy feat for the guys, figuring out exactly how to make their tastes a reality

and put it out for the masses to enjoy is never a cake walk. After working on

albums for Carly Rae Jepsen & The Katherines, Mental took hold of his vision

and placed his thumb on the middle grounds of two vastly different styles,

punk and pop. “I just kept writing new songs and changing direction,” tells

Kevvy, “I wasn’t sure how pop I wanted to go, which was a real struggle for

me because I had been producing and writing so much radio pop and I like

that stuff, but I also like Black Flag …I think ‘Cheap Thrills’ is a marriage of

those things.” That gritty bass, pulsating beat, and Tony Dallas’s very James

Brown-esque moments throughout, really puts fans on notice of what Fake

Shark is all about in thits new form.

Meeting their goal of creating a record that wouldn’t come off completely

alien to fans, yet still bring something new to the mix, the guys of Fake Shark

really put their best foot forward with this one. “Some of the content on

the album is so personal that it feels kind of awkward being the room with

people when they hear it. It’s really vulnerable and I’d say ‘Heart 2 Heart’ is

the best example of that,” tells Mental, “if someone were to read the lyrics

to me I would probably crawl into my own belly button. It’s like holding the

awkward part of a journal and just handing it over to a bunch of people." A

trifecta of talent and ambition these West Coast boys aren’t strangers to hard

work, always learning, growing, and pushing themselves to expand on musical

boundaries the guys of Fake Shark are nowhere close to being finished yet.

To put it bluntly they aren’t lazy about anything.

Fake Shark will perform at the Lucky Bar (Victoria) on May 27.

photo by Mandy Lyn

After a rest, Fake Shark gets real with a new album and an evolved sound.

May 2017


GOODWOOD ATOMS

the soft space between human and machine

KRISTIE SPARKSMAN

A feeling you can’t quite explain, a bright space filled with art &

plants, the magic of conversation between old friends; these are

things that make us feel alive. They can also spawn creativity and

connection, and for one awe-inspiring Vancouver group, spinning

those human feelings into song comes oh so naturally. GOOD-

WOOD ATOMS are a band set on delivering a truly encompassing

experience.

From humble beginnings (meeting and jamming once, then

playing their first set at Khatsalano a few weeks later) to their

latest EP Place, released May 12 on Yunizon (Paris), they focus on

maintaining humanity first, and producing music second. “The

conversations we have and the hanging out can kind of reflect

in the creative writing we do,” Francis Hooper says, “I always find

the best stuff [we write] is when we just hang out and free flow

chat and then whatever that topic was, like if it was more grim,

GOODWOOD ATOMS find a very down to earth Place with the release of their aptly titled new EP.

RODNEY DECROO

finding a connection to grief and then something better

HEATHER ADAMSON

then the music can reflect that. Like a reflection of the emotion

we felt right then.”

GWA have been called many things. Cosmic indie, tech-folk,

a way-easier-to-understand-what-he’s-saying Alt-J, but by staying

true to their philosophy (“try not to make contrived, front brain

music, set an ambience, and get lost”) they defy any such label.

“We’ve always embraced the eclectic variety of our sound - we all

kind of have different musical personalities,” Joe Pooley explains.

A live show consists of a sync’d up visual presentation by Allison

Deleo, and a personal invitation to get lost in the unpalpable

energy. They also run a small recording venue, The Juniper Room,

and it acts as the perfect space for experimentation, jamming,

collaboration and ultimately, creation. “The visuals make each

song feel like it’s own little journey within,” Hooper shares, “Just

dimming and having movement with the lights can keep our

brains zoned in on the journey. When we’re physically feeling a

lot of energy, the ambience around that - the pace of the visuals

theres a synesthesia between the colours and the music and

making you feel each song.”

Goodwood Atoms perform at the Cobalt (Vancouver)

May 13.

GIRLPOOL

a fresh new sound for DIY folk punk duo

MATTHEW WILKINS

May is going to be a critical month

for LA-based duo Girlpool, who

plan on releasing their first ever

album since the act’s inception

in 2013 that features a full band.

Standing in stark contrast to a once

characteristically sparse triad of

bass, guitar, and voice, Powerplant

can be expected to contain... well,

more. But will this new album be a

step in the wrong direction as musicians

Harmony Tividad and Cleo

Tucker progress away from a sound

that they inhabited so perfectly in

the past?

To date, Girlpool (a name swiped

from a chapter in Kurt Vonnegut’s

Cat’s Cradle) has established itself

as a one-of-a-kind singer-songwriter

duo with a DIY punk edge— a

sound gleaned from their time

playing in various local punk bands

throughout their respective youths.

The two met in 2012 at LA venue

The Smell and have been best

friends ever since, both sharing a

special closeness that extends beyond

their relationship as mere

bandmates. “Our relationship has

shapeshifted many different ways”

Tividad says of their friendship after

being together as a band for four

years, “but I think in essence and at

root our love and respect for each

other has only grown.”

Almost all songs to date contain

the same bass and guitar combo

that scratches out minimal, understated

rhythms and melodies while

Tividad and Tucker’s arresting yet

MUSIC

matter-of-fact vocals soar overhead.

The lyrics, —delivered often

in beautiful harmony by the pair’s

almost frighteningly complementary

voices— speak incidentally of the

average life, the day-to-day, and the

profound events and relationships

that spring up in the midst of it all.

“There’s no goal or expectation that

we have going into writing”, says

Tucker, “I find it really important

to be all allowing when I’m writing

music.”

And with no preconceptions to

guide the creation of their lyrics

or music, Girlpool’s honesty and

transparency take the helm during

the creative process. “I can’t really

tell where the next record will go

because it’s entirely just based on

what we feel compelled to do in the

moment of recording it,” says Tividad.

This creative spontaneity lends

the music an unmistakable edge,

seemingly embodying the average

and unpredictable nature of life.

Coupled with Tividad and Tucker’s

earnest and powerful reverence

and admiration for one another, the

music within their eponymous EP,

Before the World Was Big, and now

Powerplant contains a strength and

breadth of emotion that’s hard to

come by anywhere else.

Girlpool perform on May 27

and the Biltmore Cabaret

(Vancouver).

From the deepest place of sorrow and despair comes the new

release from Vancouver’s timeless troubadour, Rodney Decroo.

After losing a long-time friend and neighbour to cancer who had

been a major fixture in his life, DeCroo was left feeling at an emotional

crossroads. “I have an incredible capacity for self-destruction,”

explained DeCroo. “I knew I could go and get drunk or do

heroin and tear down everything in my life that would destroy

the memory of my friend, or I could pick up the guitar and get to

work, so that’s what I did.”

DeCroo is now focused on ensuring his new music connects

with audiences live as he plans his upcoming Canadian tour.

“Touring is hard and exhausting,” said DeCroo. “Every tour is an

odyssey. I come back different every time. Everything you think

you know about yourself changes, it forces you to discover different

things.” As he is busy with promotion and scheduling and

interviews and social media posting, DeCroo acknowledges that

there is a side to being a musician that is always straddling “borderline

narcissistic.” “You have this part of yourself that is introspective

and sensitive and vulnerable as you write and get lost

in the process of creating. But then when it is finished there is

this other part of me that craves the attention and spotlight and

recognition and I become deeply resentful when I don’t get.” It is

this raw honesty that is reflected in the songs shared on Old Tenement

Man, an album that peels back the emotional layers of a

man whose deep experiences of trauma keep leading him back to

photo by Rebecca Blissett

local songwriter rises from the trenches with Old Tenement Man

the one thing that keeps him sane, music. “I can get overwhelmed

by things very easily, but when I get a guitar in my hand I just

feel better. Music saved me because it provided a place I could

put things I didn’t understand, and now all these years later, it

remains essential to my being as a person. Period.”

The Old Tenement Man album release show is all ages

on May 31 at The Cultch, with special guests Geoff Berner

and Fraser Mackenzie. Nightwood Editions is also

launching DeCroo’s book, Next Door to the Butcher

Shop, this same night.

Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker advance their sound on Powerplant.

May 2017 MUSIC

11


Dystopia in Little Vancouver

In Situationist vernacular there was a concept

known as “psychogeography” that

originated in Letterist circles and was influenced

by early precursors such as Dadaism

and Surrealism. Psychogeography is

an approach to geography that studies the

conscious and unconscious effects of a geographical

environment on the behaviour

of individuals, which involves reimagining

one’s terrain around them in innovative

ways. Creating one’s own map of the city

is a broad example. What occurs in an underground

artistic community is a specific

example. Whether deliberate or forced, we

operate in this niche, creating space where

the terrain allows us, not where the conventional

framework permits us. The problem

is that this is not New York or Los Angeles.

There isn’t that much space left.

Vancouver is often regarded as one of if not

the “most livable” cities in the world with the

“best quality of life.” Vancouver is unique in that

the extremes of abject poverty and desperation

paired with world-renowned wealth and

“progress” can be witnessed in the span of a few

city blocks. As we enter the age of the future

this city is a utopia in the eyes of many, but in

reality it’s a city that encapsulates a dystopia;

the demise and decay of a system, extremes on

both ends of the spectrum, the pretense of civic

institutions long known to be a hoax to some,

and a population without the means or the will

to enact tangible widespread change through

primarily self-preserving processes. Issues of displacement

and gentrification are intertwined

as they both are executed by the same power

structure and driven by the same motives.

FROM THE DESK OF MITCH RAY

We do have to acknowledge that not everyone

sees things the same way. The explosion

of the rigid right into the optics of the artistic

left in recent months has exposed to a certain

degree the sheltered bubble (self-imposed or

by proxy) and lack of sense of a vast reality

comprised of a range opinions and perceptions

and that far differ from your own. Just because

they aren’t right doesn’t mean they aren’t real.

A refusal to acknowledge is a resignation to

the very same rationale you oppose. It’s called

“hypocrisy.” An acceptance of these differences

as reality can be met with either compliance,

conversation or confrontation. I suggest

that compliance is a forfeiture and that would

be the worst possible approach. One should

pursue the options of conversation or confrontation

depending on the specifics of the

issue at hand.

The battle we are facing is the struggle to

continue to create something out of increasingly

little available space. The city sees the

exact same problem but from a different perspective.

Their response is displacement and

gentrification. They proceed recklessly, acting

as if it’s a big metropolis where there is room

to sweep it’s problems under the rug. This is

a small city. These are real and dire issues. The

physical confines of the landscape will force a

social and artistic reaction. A human reaction

to a structural problem. In a time of increasingly

frequent unprecedented happenings

this will surely be one of them, and it is near

imminent. In the wake of unprecedented happenings

the opportunity to do unprecedented

things presents itself. The horizon is now the

foreground.

photo by Asia Fairbanks

Colby Morgan

12 THE SKINNY

May 2017


CJ RAMONE

how to be part of the American bloodline with dignity and grace

JOHNNY PAPAN

“Punk rock is a very fickle piece of the music business.

I think there’s almost become a punk rock

uniform as far as how you see the world and how

you think about things. It’s really got turned on his

head to a certain extent. The whole idea behind

punk doesn’t have to do with politics or anything

like that. It’s about doing things your way, how you

think it’s right. That’s punk rock.”

CJ Ramone is one of only seven people on this

planet who is honored with the infamous Ramones

surname. Joining the legendary punk-pioneers the

Ramones in 1989, he held bass duties until the

group’s disbandment in 1996. Since then, Ramone

has taken on different projects, including his own

solo-act, which dropped its third album American

Beauty earlier this year.

“I wanted to make a positive statement. With

all the crazy stuff going on, everyone is hating on

the United States. To me it’s kind of beautiful that

the whole population of the country is involved

in the political process and there are more people

out there standing up for what they believe in.” Ramone

continues: “There’s a lot of good stuff going

on in America too, and I think people just don’t get

that, they don’t see it.”

Drawing influence from his roots, Ramone’s

catchy melodies and creativity were inspired by

genres such as motown, country, and 60s pop. Still

an in-your-face punk record, it’s clear CJ’s time with

the Ramones continues to impact him today. “On

my first record [Reconquista] there’s a song called

‘Three Angels.’ It’s about my time in the band, my

relationship with each one of the guys and what

they taught me,” Ramone explains. “Joey told me

not to be apologetic for being myself. Johnny’s advice

was not to worry about taking care of other

people until you know how to take care of yourself.

I learned from Dee Dee by just watching him,

he was a study in survival on his own.” American

Beauty’s sixth track, “Tommy’s Gone,” is a tribute

to the last passing member of the original Ramones

lineup, Tommy Ramone. “Tommy was the architect

of the band. The biggest lesson I learned from Tommy

was to trust your own instincts and trust your

own judgement. If you really believe in something,

you have to stick with it and go all the way if you

wanna make something happen.”

A veteran to the genre, Ramone offers insight on

his opinion on the current state of punk music. “I

think it’s dying down and I’m really happy about

CJ Ramone explains the meaning of punk rock and finds American Beauty

it. Punk music was never meant to be played in

big stadiums. It was never meant to be an overly

commercialized billion dollar industry. It was created

for a small group of people who understood

what it really meant,” Ramone explains. “It’s contracting,

which is good because when the genre

contracts, the talent level goes up. The amount of

people coming to shows goes down, but you end

up listening to a lot better stuff than when there’s

eight-million bands playing a watered down version

of something somebody told them was good.”

Ramone concludes: “I come from the small

shows, the small venues. That’s where I’m happy. I

like where I play, I like who I play to. People come out

to dance, have a couple of drinks, and have a good

time. There’s no gimmicks no crazy light shows or

stage antics. It’s just a really good rock n’ roll show.”

CJ Ramone performs on May 4 at the Rickshaw

Theatre (Vancouver), and June 5 at

Doc Wiloughbys (Kelowna).

SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY

CLUB

fundraiser

7

14

21

28

EAST VAN GARAGE SALE +

1

MADCHESTER

MONDAYS

8

80s/90s MANCHESTER

BAGGY SCENE

BRITPOP

SHOEGAZE

DANCE

INDIE

$4 HIBALLS

$4 BEERS

$3 SHOT

SPECIALS

NO COVER!

15

22

HACIENDA CLASSICS

80s/90s UK + BRIT POP

MONDAYS WITH DJ SUZANNE

29

DJ SUZANNE HAMPTON

NO COVER/$4 HIBALLS

FREE POOL

//CLUB//

NEW WAVE

2

9

16

FESTIVAL

23

60S DANCE PARTY

30

CHEAPSKATES

3

10

RAMONA (SEATTLE)

DEAD BARS (SEATTLE)

NEEDLES + PINS

JESSE LEBOURDAIS

17

24

31

THE EAST VAN 90s

ALTERNATIVE PARTY

QUIETER (SEATTLE)

LEISURE CLUB

GUILT TRAP

BB

NINE INCH NAILS

TRIBUTE

SHIT v GIVER

(LA)

VERSING

(SEATTLE)

WALTER TV

4

11

18

25

NO BOY

COYOTEE

WITCHY SISTER

MILKERS WANTED

THE DARK EIGHTIES

EAST VAN 90S

PARTY

5

12

19

26

COVER ME! W/

6

13

20

27

May 2017 13

THE SKINNY


CONAN

revel in the heaviness of doom

BRAYDEN TURENNE

Hailing from Liverpool, England, Conan are a three

piece doom metal band founded in 2006 by guitarist

and lead vocalist Jon Davis. Raising to considerable

heights of success within the doom metal

genre, Conan’s music is possessed of crushing

weight and glacial pace.

“I think we’re better when we play slow,” Davis

states. “Originally, I just wanted to play to my

strengths. I’ve never been a particularly gifted musician

and it was easier to write slower songs with

less chord changes and complicated riffs. It evolved

from there.” Turning weakness into strength, there

is no sense of deficiency in the band’s songs, as

Conan seem to revel in the sluggish and more simplistic.

Along with the riffs and the pummeling drum

hits, the vocals, shared between both Davis and

bassist Chris Fielding, shriek-forth like the growls

of mountain gods, depicting scenes of swords, sorcery,

and barbaric violence. Fantasy and mythology

are key to Conan’s aesthetic.

“When I start writing a riff, it will conjure up

images in my mind and put me in a certain mood,

Conan seeks to stare down the fine art of crushing weight and glacial pace.

or may make me think of a certain part of a book

or scene in a movie I’ve watched,” Davis confirms.

“I’ve always loved reading books and I’ve always

loved playing role playing computer games. I kind

of feel that writing songs is like all of those things

rolled into one. It really just feels like I’m escaping

from the normal world when I’m putting a song

together.”

It was last year that Vancouver first felt the

wrath of Conan, and now the band are set to return

to the Astoria on May 13th during their latest

North American tour

“If you want to be taken seriously as a band, you

have to tour. But, on the flip side of that, I feel as if

going and playing music live is probably one of the

last truly free things you can do,” Davis concludes:

“So much of modern life is regulated and monitored.

Restricted. Any opportunity to make you

feel like a human being for once should be grabbed

with both hands.”

See Conan decimate the Astoria in Vancouver

on May 13th.

UNLEASH THE ARCHERS

power-metal posse wrestles with immortality

ANA KRUNIC

Unleash the Archers jump into the concept album gauntlet with Apex of the Immortal.

Originally hailing from Victoria, BC, Unleash the

Archers has been laying down their heavy power

metal sound since 2007. With three acclaimed

full-length albums already under their belt, the

upcoming Apex stands to build on that tradition

with a focused concept. "We wanted this album

to feel the same from beginning to end, across the

usual spectrum of genres we like to incorporate,

but ultimately with the same feel that colours the

whole album," says Brittney Slayes, vocalist and

founding member.

A concept album, Apex tells a story from the

perspective of the Immortal, a character who

is cursed with an eternal life in which he cycles

through thousand-year periods of stasis until

someone beckons him to do their bidding. In this

case, he is awakened by the Matriarch, a woman

who implores him to hunt down her four sons and

return them to her so she may perform a ritual

sacrifice and achieve immortality.

The first single off the new album, "Cleanse the

Bloodlines," is the only song told from the perspective

of the Matriarch and tells of the first meeting

between herself and the Immortal. The accompanying

music-video shows the Immortal capturing

the first of her sons for sacrifice. While Unleash the

Archers are no strangers to this kind of conceptual

songwriting, this is the clearest vision they’ve had

about an album.

"On our previous album Time Stands Still, we

didn't want a random collection of songs, but it

kind of became that," Slayes explains. "[For Apex]

I wrote out the story in chapters. There were just

certain riffs that [guitarists Andrew Kingsley and

Grant Truesdell] would come to the jam space

with and I would go, ‘that's definitely THIS part of

the story.’ They also came up with material based

on what I had written. We all write together, so

why not have this path to follow in that process?"

Apex will be released internationally on June

2, much anticipated by both their fans and the

band itself. "Of course you always think that your

newest material is the best, so there's a bias there,

but I'm super excited with how the record turned

out.".

Unleash the Archers is playing an album

release show in Vancouver at the Rickshaw

Theatre on June 2. Also catch them

at Lucky Bar in Victoria on June 9 and The

Cambie in Nanaimo on June 10.

14 THE SKINNY

May 2017


MUNICIPAL WASTE

making punk kids listen to metal

GRAEME WIGGINS

If there’s one thing about the metal scene that can

be a little much to take sometimes, it’s how seriously

some bands take themselves. For thrash band

Municipal Waste this has never been a problem,

their discography is laced with songs about drinking,

thrashing and a lot of downright silliness. It’s

part of what makes the Richmond, Virginia band so

appealing, that sense that you’re not being sold a bill

of goods. There’s an authenticity that lies beneath

the high speed riffs and humour.

Part of what made them this way clearly stems

from their punk roots. As vocalist Tony Foresta puts

it: “Yeah, for the first five years we were more of a

punk band then we realized. We were tricking punk

and hardcore kids into liking metal.” In fact, part of

what made him bring the effort he does into the

band and scene was influence from seminal Richmond

punk band Avail. While not remotely thrash,

Avail, and vocalist Tim Berry in particular, brought

the ideas of work ethic and DIY community to the

fore. “That was the band that got me into touring

and getting into that work hard ethic. They really

brought a sense of community and scene in Richmond,

and I’ve always embraced that.” So much so

that Tim Berry even makes a guest appearance on

their last album The Fatal Feast.

Municipal Waste are touring in support of their

new album, due out in June. It’s been a long time

coming, five years in fact. The reason is humble and

prosaic. As Foresta describes it, “I don’t think anyone

in the world was dying to have a sixth Municipal

Waste Album come out, so we’ve been on the road

for a long time. Let’s chill and let these songs settle

in.”

With such a long time between albums, a concern

might be that they’ve decided switch things up

or experiment. Foresta denies that, with a caveat:

“It’s a regular ass Waste album. One of my friends

just heard it for the first time and he said it’s our

‘mature’ album. I would take offense to that, but

he explained that some of our best songs are on it,”

Foresta states. “There’s some definite hits that people

will definitely remember for a long time. We’re

more mature as a band I guess. We still sing about

dumb shit though.”

Municipal Waste’s penchant for button pushing

and humour are bigger than just the music. They’ve

generated a lot of controversy with the release of

t-shirts featuring a cartoonish Donald Trump shooting

himself in the head. Despite the controversy,

they’ll still be bringing them on tour. “We’ll have

some in Vancouver. If we don’t bring them everyone

will be asking why we don’t have them. I want

as many people out there as possible wearing that

shirt because fuck Donald Trump.” It’s not so much

that they’re political, “I think we’re just obvious. I

don’t like racists! I don’t hate a lot of things but I

hate hate.”

Catch Municipal Waste live at the Modified

Ghost Festival II, Saturday May 27 at the

Rickshaw Theatre

photo by Kip Dawkins

With Slime and Punishment, Municipal Waste bring you that sixth album you didn’t know you wanted.

May 2017 15

THE SKINNY


BPM

KRANIUM

bringing modern reggae dancehall to the mainstream

VANESSA TAM

While reggae and dancehall music first got started

in Jamaica, over time it’s rich and colourful history

has transported itself all over the world to become

a movement that’s loved the world over.

Growing up in New York by way of Montego Bay,

Jamaica, Kemar Donaldson is one of the brightest

up and coming stars in modern reggae dancehall. In

just a few short years, Donaldson signed a deal with

Atlantic under the stage name Kranium and has already

collaborated on tracks with major artists like

Ty Dolla Sign, Tory Lanez and interestingly enough,

Ed Sheeran.

“The crazy thing is we first wanted to do the remix,”

Donaldson said over the phone thinking back

to how his verse on Ed Sheeran’s hit single “Shape Of

You” first came about. “Yeah it was so amazing that

when they reached out to us just like okay, I have

to come good on this record and that's what I did.

When you're doing a collab with an international

act in such calibre; when ya contributing ya have to

make sure that ya contribute right.”

As the nephew of the innovative Jamaican reggae

artist Screwdriver, Donaldson holds his art and his culture

first and foremost in all of the music he makes. “I

mean culture is something we're, it doesn't leave at all,

you know? Especially in New York,” Donaldson says. “I

just stay in tune with everything that's going on; I feel

like it never really leaves us.”

When asked about his thoughts on the current

trend of North American artists like Drake making

reggae and dancehall inspired music, he has no

problems with it at all. “I feel like people need to

understand that we are artists,” he explains. “Ya understand,

an artist's job is to be artistic and to be

artistic you have to try stuff. So if you are a country

artist and you say, ‘I wanna jump on a dancehall

record,’ by any chance go ahead and do it because

that's your job. I don't see nothing wrong with it.

I have hip hop songs in my record ya know and I

have afrobeat in some of our records. Ain't nothing

wrong wit it! Just like, do it right. If you're gonna do

it just do it right.”

He goes on to say, “I feel like we reaching a point

in life where the artist will always get backlashes after

a ting that's not supposed to be done because

as I said artists are supposed to go out and be creative

and extend and reach and try to push different

boundaries with music. Show me that you can do

some country song and pull it off. Show me [that

you] can do some reggaeton with a reggaeton artist

and pull it off. Show me [that you] can do some

afrobeat, some dancehall ya know so. If you wanna

go an explore, then you go an explore.”

Kranium performs at Venue May 20th.

Kranium believes artists are supposed be creative and try to push different boundaries in music.

16 BPM

May 2017


BPM

CLUBLAND

your month measured in BPMs

vanessa tam

Pacific Rhythm has spent 4 years creating physical artifacts of the local dance music scene for all to discover

PACIFIC RHYTHM 4 YEAR

music curated by particular palates for all to enjoy

VANESSA TAM

Unknown to most, there is a major

commonality between the Ironman

Triathlon, Shark Week and local record

store turned label, Pacific Rhythm; the

premises for all three were actually

conceived over a few drinks between

friends.

“I guess it was like four years ago,”

recalled Derek Duncan on how Pacific

Rhythm was first founded. “I was working

at Dane's restaurant Bestie and we

just talked about how cool it would be

to open a record store.”

Armed with a cool $200 investment

each by Duncan and his two co-founders

Dane Brown and Russell Cunningham,

Pacific Rhythm started as an online

shop stocking hard to find records

hand picked by the trio. “I initially

[would just] deliver records for free so

everyday I was meeting up with people

after work like riding my bike,” Duncan

recalls. “I did that for like six months

and while it was wildly unsustainable

it was also really interesting because it

kind of showed me that there was a lot

of people that maybe weren't the party

type, but they were appreciators, you

know? It was just nice to go out and

kind of see those faces.”

While currently based in Vancouver,

Duncan, Brown and Cunningham

originally came from Calgary, Alberta,

Castlegar, British Columbia and Windsor,

Ontario respectively before starting

Pacific Rhythm. Combining their

collective experience, the three tastemakers

have come to develop a signature

vibe within Vancouver’s electronic

music scene; including Duncan’s latest

position at the helm of the Celebrities

Underground.

“I had begun working with Blueprint

on a few projects last year, namely

with Seasons Festival, and we had talked

about working together for a long

time,” says Duncan. “The opportunity

to take over the bookings for the

basement came forth and I took it. It's

been really exciting to basically turn the

blank slate [of the Celebrities Underground]

into something that I feel like

has the potential to grow into something

[incredible]. It's been really fulfilling

and cool to have the opportunity

to book a lot of people that I wouldn't

have [been able to] on my own. It's nice

when people take a leap of faith on you

and are willing to cosign in that way.”

With new local releases by Khotin

and D.Tiffany on the horizon, Pacific

Rhythm goes the distance by choosing

to press all of their records physically in

addition to their online releases. “I pretty

much started [Pacific Rhythm] it because

I'm a strong believer in creating

physical artifacts. And even if it was to

stop tomorrow, I would be proud of the

fact that we at least documented some

of the music that I thought was really

important and kind of left it behind to

the next generation to find out about.

I think it's really cool when things don't

just live on the internet and have created

physical objects.”

Evolving from an online store, to a

physical shop and label, and now back

to an online store and label, the team is

still working to tweak Pacific Rhythm’s

position in a competitive global market.

“The last couple years I've just been

trying to change what my expectations

for the label are,” explains Duncan. “Because

[while] I was releasing one record

per year, I was also mounting so much

music at the same time.”

“My initial thought for the record label

was like, ‘Okay I'm gonna do three

compilations and then I was gonna

release three individual EPs from each

of those artists that was on the compilation,’

he goes on to say. “That just

happened last summer. Now I guess

we're just in the process of catching up

with what I initially said I was going to

do. We’re getting pretty close to it, in

terms of like a release schedule, but for

the next incarnation of the online shop

it's just gonna be us selling our friend's

labels more or less focusing primarily

on stuff from Vancouver. Because I

don't think there is a Vancouver centric

online store that is sort of like your ‘one

stop shop’ and all that.”

Pacific Rhythm will be celebrating

their four year anniversary at

various venues May 11-13th.

Nevermind all those hyped up music festival lineup announcements, what’s

happening here and now in Vancouver is more important anyways. Live in the

moment and meditate on which hip hop and electronic music shows you’d like

to check out this month, woosah.

Oddisee

May 12 @ The Biltmore Cabaret

Hailing from Washington, DC, intellectual rapper Oddisee, real name Amir Mohamed

el Khalifa, got his first real break in the music industry by producing and

performing the track “Musik Lounge” on DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Magnificent LP. Releasing

a new studio album this year titled The Iceberg, el Khalifa sparks fresh dialogue

around the current political climate in America.

Groundwerk 2 Year

May 13 @ Vancouver Art and Leisure

Local electronic music incubator Groundwerk is celebrating their second anniversary

this month with a full day of workshops, panel discussions and performances

hosted at Vancouver Art and Leisure. Furthering their goal to serve as

a hub for musicians by sharing knowledge, creating mentorships and fostering

new connections, Groundwerk continues to be a pillar of Vancouver’s local music

community.

Young M.A

May 21 @ The Vogue Theatre

One of the greatest new female rappers on the scene right now, Young M.A, also

known as Katorah Marrero, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and is

best known for her 2016 hit single “Ooouuu.” An impressive lyricist and performer,

Marrero is unapologetically herself in her music and is poised to do whatever

the hell she wants with her career.

Ben UFO

May 21 @ Celebrities Nightclub

Celebrating Hessle Audio’s 10th anniversary this year, Ben UFO is one of only a

few DJs from the UK able to make a name for himself without starting to produce

his own music. Gaining popularity through the emerging dubstep scene in

London, Ben UFO has developed his sets to showcase the more unfamiliar and

experimental aspects of electronic music.

Bonobo

May 24-25 @ The Commodore Ballroom

Simon Green, commonly known as Bonobo, is a downtempo musician, producer

and DJ who’s currently on tour promoting his latest studio album, Migration.

Known for his use of organic instruments layered over obscure samples and minimal

drum beats, Green’s music takes on a meditative quality that allows the

listener to seamlessly immerse themselves deeply into his world.

Young M.A.

May 2017 BPM

17


FEATURED CONCERTS

VICTORIA, BC

TANYA TAGAQ

PLUS WILLIE THRASHER AND LINDA SADDLEBACK

SUGAR NIGHTCLUB // MONDAY, MAY 15TH

RON SEXSMITH

PLUS JESSICA MITCHELL

ALIX GOOLDEN HALL // WEDNESDAY, MAY 17TH

BPM

COM TRUISE

a break from the sounds of planets whizzing by

HOLLIE MCGOWAN

It’s been a decade since Seth Haley started producing

music as Com Truise, and now he wants nothing

more than to slow things right down.

“It’s not a race,” he mentions over Skype from his

current home in L.A. “It’s good to take your time.

When the press release was completed for this record,

it hadn’t dawned on me that it’s been six years

since the release of my last album. I used to rush, but

I like the results better now when I take my time.”

Perhaps it’s growing older, perhaps it’s the current

situation that the music industry is in; swirling

deep in an online maze where everything sits at

people’s fingertips ready to be consumed and then

spat out again as soon as possible. Either way, Seth

Haley is finding that his biggest lesson since his inauguration

into the world of chill wave has been to

literally, well, chill.

“I’m just trying to get out more,” says Haley. “Little

things like spending more time at the grocery

store is more freeing [these days]. Sometimes I feel

like I should just get a real job like at a record store

or something while I’m at home, just to distract me.”

One would think that after ten years, the desire

to switch up a routine would be a logical step in an

artist’s career. Most things come in cycles and the

last decade of Haley’s life as Com Truise, the intergalactic

space human, has been a whirlwind into another

dimension. His moniker has already travelled

through space, lived through the hazards of life on

planet Wave 1, met the alien love of his life and is

JMSN

a life of lofty goals and musical integrity

Com Truise ends one chapter and begins another with his latest album Iteration

finally now with the release of Iteration, out on June

16th on Ghostly International, finding peace in a

galaxy far far away. “I’m in a weird transition phase,”

he goes on to explain. “As I’m getting older, I’m realizing

that’d I’d much rather have some [peace and]

quiet.”

Moving from New York to Los Angeles away from

his family and friends has certainly given him some

breathing space, in addition to short bouts of loneliness.

“I’m from New York originally and I get very

homesick. That has clouded my creative process

[for a while].” Despite those setbacks however, Iteration

eventually surfaced and Haley is finally able to

breath a sigh of relief while closing a chapter to a

narrative that has become closely intertwined with

his creative process.

photo by effixx

“I just find it easier for me to write with a narrative,”

shares Haley. “Writing with a narrative has

helped me keep everything cohesive. This album,

Iteration, is definitely the final chapter [within that

story]. I could go on forever with it, but it’s good to

have a beginning and an end.”

It may be the end of this particular tale, but certainly

not the end for Com Truise and the evolution

of Haley’s musical career. “I’m excited to start fresh

and possibly begin writing a different story or idea;

maybe I’ll dabble in some other styles of music that

I used to make. Maybe a little more ambient, a little

more dancey. Who knows?”

Catch Com Truise performing at Imperial May

5th.

RISING APPALACHIA

PLUS DUSTIN THOMAS

ALIX GOOLDEN HALL // SUNDAY, MAY 21ST

FAKE SHARK

PLUS LITTLE DESTROYER

LUCKY BAR // SATURDAY, MAY 27TH

FOR FULL CONCERT LISTINGS & TO PURCHASE

TICKETS, PLEASE VISIT:

WWW.ATOMIQUEPRODUCTIONS.COM

FACEBOOK /ATOMIQUEPRODUCTIONS TWITTER @ATOMIQUEEVENTS

Whatever Makes You Happy teaches us all to go with the flow a little more

JAMIE GOYMAN

The first time JMSN’s simply elegant

and beautiful voice, real name Christian

Berishaj, hit the soundwaves with

“Alone” off of his self-produced 2012

record Priscilla, eardrums around the

world were in shock. Like discovering

photo by Eduardo Figueroa

a cereal box prize, JMSN is a musical

treasure of the industry who started

making his mark just five short years

ago.

Having known all his life that music

was something that he was going to

pursue as a career, Berishaj took on

the lofty goals he set out for himself

with relative ease. “I was going to do

it and figure it out no matter what,

and I’m still trying to do that,” says

Berishaj. “That’s my first passion, creating

music, so I’m always going to be

doing that.”

With each new release, Berishaj

continues to show incredible artistic

growth and integrity in his work. The

sheer honesty and emotion his work

embodies sends wave after wave of

shivers down the spine whether the

lyrics are backed up with slow pulsating

beats like “Ends (Money)” and

“Fuck U,” or the more up-tempo levels

of “Hypnotized” and “’Bout It.”

Originally from the Detroit area, and

now based in LA, Berishaj is truly one

of those multi-faceted artists that we

hope never stops making tunes – and

so far that’s the plan. “[The music I

make] always changes, which is what

makes us human. Constantly growing

and changing, I don’t want to ever

be put into a box,” Berishaj goes on

to say. “My favourite artists can’t be

put into a box; they make what they

make and I aspire to be one of those

artists. I think it’s good when you can’t

describe it.”

His latest record, Whatever Makes

U Happy, came out on April 28th and

let’s just say, the album is soulful as

fuck. “Where Do U Go” and “Drinkin’”

really showcase where JMSN stands

creatively in 2017, and it is in no way

a disappointment. How could it when

the album closes with “Patiently,” a

track that the artist states as the best

song he’s ever written. “I just followed

where [the music] took me really,

that’s why the album’s called Whatever

Makes You Happy,” explains Berishaj.

“It’s a little more of doing what

I was feeling and not really worrying

about what’s going on in the outside

world. Not that I hadn’t done that

with other albums before, I feel like I

had an epiphany of, ‘This is what I do,

so I might as well be happy doing it.’”

With all of the success surrounding

him as an artist, he has kept himself

in check and has been able to keep

himself away from the flash and shine

of the industry. “I’ve just never been

that type of person so I don’t think

that should change because of what

I’m doing. That’s just my personality,

it changes a little bit as you go, but

there are staples of your morals that

stay the same. I don’t think it serves

me in any way to be like that. I just do

things that are me.”

JMSN performs at Alexander

Gastown May 17th.

18 BPM

May 2017


RAILWAY STAGE AND BEER CAFE

the heart of the legendary venue keeps beating in its new iteration

NOOR KHWAJA

SAY HEY CAFE

keep it simple, stupid

WILLEM THOMAS

CITY

The spot prawn festival opens a window of

opportunity to celebrate a west coast treat

The Railway Stage and Beer Café is a great place to enjoy a great beer and experience quality live music.

SPOT PRAWN FESTIVAL

a crustacean cornucopia at False Creek

photo by Frederique Neil

AUGUST BRAMHOFF

Picture it. Vancouver Island, circa 1992. A

young mother and her two children stir restlessly

in their rented cabin near a cove, while

spring rain pours like nails falling on a tin

roof. Around two in the afternoon, the first

of the harvesters arrive, weighing and sorting

their catch. In gumboots and carrying umbrellas,

the small family walks down to the

dock, curious to see what is on board. For

a few dollars, the freshest, most succulent

prawns become centerplate on a humble

lunch table.

Perhaps you can’t relive the above moment,

however don’t let the next closest

thing pass you by. The Spot Prawn Festival

at the False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf boasts

a cornucopia of delicious spot prawns — a

seasonal favourite in both British Columbia

and Asia.

For those not in the know, a spot prawn is

quite different from your average run-of-themill

prawn. Wild BC spot prawns, identifiable

for their rusty colouring and white spotted

tails, turn pink when they are cooked and

have a sweet flavor. The harvest season begins

in May and can last for eight weeks.

With a limited number of weeks to enjoy

this ocean treat, eight BC chefs including the

One of the city’s most historic and iconic

gems, the Railway Club, has been reborn after

its unfortunate closure in March of last year.

After its 84-year tenure, the space has been

revamped by new owners and is now called

the Railway Stage and Beer Café, combining

live entertainment with local beer. Speaking

with the Donnelly Group’s Chad Cole, the

managing director of the new venue, it is

clear that important elements of its former

inhabitant have been lovingly preserved.

“We tried to keep the bones of the place as

is just to maintain the history of the Railway

Club,” he says. “The biggest change is adding

a 24 Kraft Beer lineup that’s rotating local

craft beers and then adding a state of the art

sound system which makes the sound absolutely

beautiful.”

With changes to the sound systems and

other minor alterations to help give “the

place a little bit of a face lift,” the Railway

Stage and Beer Café aims to be “a comfortable

venue where you can come in and enjoy

a great beer and experience awesome

music.” There will be live entertainment five

days a week, showcasing local indie bands

Wednesday through Saturday, and comedy

on Tuesdays. While local “up and comers

that are breaking the scene” are the target

entertainment of the venue, there will be

occasional headliners and ticketed performances.

Cole explains that “depending on

who’s rolling through town,” the stage will

aim to have a headlining act about once every

two months.

In terms of live entertainment spaces, Cole

mentions “it’s a tough market.” However, he

is positive that if the marketing and booking

of bands is done with care, “you can make a

venue really thrive.” As stages similar to the

Railway continue to shut down around the

city, it is important to acknowledge the vitality

of their existence. Local talent needs

to have venues much like the Railway to, in a

sense, act as gateway stages to bigger venues

in their futures. “I do feel that the city is lacking

in spaces like this,” Cole adds.

The Railway Stage and Beer Café opened

with a bang last month, with a successful

headlining performance from favourite local

band, the Zolas. So, faithful patrons, don’t

fear: the new and “brightened up” venue

maintains the heart of the old Club, including

the long bar stretching the length of the

room and the train. With changes in modernity

and the inclusion of local beer and lunch

specials, the Railway Stage and Beer Café has

a promising future indeed.

The Railway Stage and Beer Café is located

at 579 Dunsmuir Street.

Fairmont Whistler’s Chef Isabel Chung and

West Restaurant’s Chef Quang Dang will be

at this year’s festival showcasing and demoing

new dishes that feature spot prawns.

If cooking at home is not your style, then

make sure to leave room for the main festival

event, the Spot Prawn Boil, which sells out

every year. With prawns literally from the sea

to the pot, and libations courtesy of Evolve

Cellars and R&B Brewery, it’s not hard to see

why.

And, importantly, rest assured that this

event is earth-conscious. The BC Spot Prawn

Festival has partnered up with OceanWise to

ensure sustainable practices. “We are incorporating

seafood sustainability at the Spot

Prawn Festival,” says Chef Céline Turenne,

the Executive Director of the Chef’s Table

Society, a not-for-profit organization that

has now hosted the Spot Prawn Festival for

11 years. “Wild, trap-caught, BC spot prawns

are a ‘best choice’ option based on the five

sustainability criteria used for BC fisheries

assessments.”

Spot Prawn Festival is May 13 at the

False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf.

Just a few doors down from Chinatown staple New Town Bakery,

a contender has emerged — a hero, even — to offer quality-hoagie-lacking

Vancouverites the very thing they've been missing: honest,

unpretentious, tasty sandwiches done right, New York delicatessen

style. Say Hey Cafe isn't a formal cafe per se, but a proper sandwich

shop that has a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere, a straightforward

and simple menu, and some seriously solid hoagies.

The owners, restaurant industry newcomer Zachary Zimmerman

and experienced chef and restauranteur (Corduroy Pie Company)

Graham Marceau, are deservedly excited about their new project,

which Zimmerman describes the inspiration for coming from a

trip to New York during which he fell in love with Brooklyn's classic

sandwich spots, with a particularly mean roast beef leaving a sandwich-sized

hole in his heart after getting home. “I would eat it everyday,”

he recalls. “In theory, roast beef is a staple sandwich, but I came

home and realized I couldn't get a good sandwich here. It's a matter of

simplicity. Vancouver has a strange way of overcomplicating things.”

That desire for simplicity is reflected in the design and operation

of Say Hey Cafe, a deep rectangular room. The warmly lit space is

immaculate and full of charming touches, by way of some creative

collaboration between Zimmerman and designers Knauf and Brown.

Zimmerman, who put in almost 12 years as a garbage man flipping

dumpsters prior to flipping Vancouver's sandwich game on it's head,

says, “the platform for Say Hey was making a place that I would want

to go.” The counter service style suits him perfectly. “I like people

coming in and not really knowing where to order. I was doing the

garbage thing for 12 years, mostly alone, and I love that this is now

my business, with a real face to face interaction with everyone that

comes in.”

The menu is intentionally slim, whereas the six subs (four fixtures

and two revolving features) are hefty bundles of high quality ingredients.

A relaxed list of sides such as soups and “magic beans” compliment

the sandwiches. A point of pride for Zimmerman is the drinks

cooler — no liquor license here! — which runs the gamut of sugary

beverages, from Five Alive (“We're very much about those childhood

food memories”) to rare imported sodas that Say Hey Cafe might just

be the only stockist of in Vancouver.

While Say Hey is a smaller operation (16 seats) than kitchens

Marceau has worked in previously, the forethought and effort put

into its opening by the two is considerable. They take sandwiches seriously,

and it shows.

Say Hey Cafe is located at 156 E Pender Street.

photo by Willem Thomas

Say Hey gives lunch lovers an honest sandwich and a Five Alive.

May 2017 CITY

19


BOOZE

ANDINA BREWING

equatorial flavour to brighten up a rainy city

JENNIE ORTON

If you travel down Powell Street to

make your way to Yeast Van, you will

likely be undeniably drawn to the #bigyellowbuilding

by the intersection at

McLean. Adorned with steel paneled

signage in the shape of a long-haired

woman looking like an illustration

fresh off the pages of The New Yorker,

the building is as vibrant as the culture

it celebrates.

“All of the ingredients are feminine

nouns so for us beer is very feminine,”

states communications and marketing

director Claudia Amaya.

Andina, which is a term used to describe

women from the Andes, brings

something entirely new to the craft

brewing community of Yeast Van.

From the tasting lounge, which features

the original load bearing beams

and repurposed wood from the renovated

decades old building, to the

ceviche and red sauce served alongside

their beer, there is an authenticity

to culture and respect for history

Some of the most storied pieces of art ride a long

and complicated road before they come to be, often

changing hands and crossing borders and coming

in and out of contact with danger along their

journey to their appreciation by the masses. The

mark of a wise man is to know such a piece of art

when he sees one—or tastes one, as the case may

be. Deep Cove Craft’s Shae de Jaray is one such

wise man and, together with Long Table Distillery’s

co-founder/master distiller Charles Tremewen,

he rescued a very well-travelled and sublimely

well-crafted pinot-barreled pear brandy from what

would’ve been a tragic early grave down a drain in

North Vancouver.

Before opening Deep Cove Craft in 2012, de Jaray

was involved in a cider project in Oregon using

pears as the base. When he decided to move operations

to North Vancouver, he brought with him a

pear eau de vie they had previously made that was

quietly aging in pinot barrels. But as the brandy sat

unaware, browning gently in its cozy barrels, Deep

Cove acquired their craft distilling license and that

is where the trouble started. By law, distilleries with

the craft designation must only carry spirits that

were distilled onsite and feature only local BC agricultural

products. Suddenly the precious barrels

weren’t legally allowed to be onsite because of their

contents being chock fulla Oregon agriculture.

“So, my next call was to my man Charles,” says

de Jaray.

“I can just see you dragging these barrels around

the countryside,” jokes Tremewen.

Tremewen and Long Table Distillery boast a

being brought by Nicolás and Andrés

Amaya and their family at Andina.

Take the aforementioned red

sauce: Claudia makes it herself and

when she attempted to use a food

processor to increase the speed and

size of her batches, her family called

her out on it “not being the same red

sauce she has always made.” So it was

back to the literal chopping block to

do it by hand again. And the results

are palpable.

The beer is no different. Andina is

able to bring a taste of South America

to west coast craft bwrewing practices

and the result is an “innovative

but balanced” approach to craft brew

creativity.

“We want to fusion the South

American heritage while still respecting

the craft brewing industry of the

west coast,” Amaya says. “That’s why

we don’t have styles that are traditionally

South American, we have the

black IPAs, the traditional IPAs, pale

PAIRS OF PEARS BRANDY

a bottle that has seen more miles than most men

JENNIE ORTON

ales, because I think that is very comforting

to have those classic styles.”

For example: the Melcocha Andean

Mild Ale with its honey sweet

sugar cane juice influence, or the upcoming

Lulo Gose; a German style of

wheat beer which will be brewed with

the Columbian fruit Lulo, also known

as “little orange.” Or the recent seasonal

offering: the Passionfruit Black

IPA.

“ Yes! It’s a very unexpected beer,”

Amaya explains excitedly. Made with

passionfruit from Columbia, the beer

commercial license, which allows them to hold and

offer the brandy.

“We are just perceived as the rescuers and bottlers

in this cooperation between two distillers,”

Tremewen muses.

The commercial license is necessary because

Long Table chooses to make their gin by the standard

legislated UK method of using a highly rectified

third-party neutral grain spirit. Suffering

the large mark-up tax that goes along with it, this

license nonetheless allows for foreign materials to

be used in the distilling process. Suddenly, the pears

and their forbidden contraband had a home and a

name: Pairs of Pears Brandy. It was launched at Long

Table on April 15.

“What’s really cool is it a) gives an opportunity

for it to be drank by Long Table’s and our own following

and anyone else who wants to experience

such a cool and unique product, but it also gives

us a chance to explain the difficulties with both of

these licenses, both on our end with the restrictions

in ingredients and for Charles having to pay

this ridiculous markup,” de Jaray says. “This brandy

has kind of, in a sense, become a conversation piece

over the difficulties and red tape that us small folks

in the distilling world find ourselves dealing with.”

Like an outlaw rescued from the executioner,

Pairs of Pears is the little bottle with the big past,

and it comes out in the taste. Thick with the barrel

characteristics that come with five years of aging

and the full syrupy mouth-feel of the fruit, the brandy

finishes clean with a subtle burn; and though it

tastes amazing in a side car, its journey dictates that

The Amaya brothers have created a beer lover’s home away from home.

boasts a tart flavor one wouldn’t expect

from a black IPA, but that seems

very much at home as one anyway.

And that is the appeal of Andina:

when you are there you feel very

at home within a different cultural

approach. A great deal of that is the

result of the labour of family love the

brewery truly is.

“Everybody left a part of themselves,”

Amaya attests.

Andina Brewing is located at

1507 Powell Street.

out of respect it should be enjoyed neat.

To grab one of these rare and well-earned bottles,

head to Long Table Distillery soon. It’s your

chance to raise a glass to the little guy and drink

to the long-practiced tradition of finding a way

through a thick rulebook to sweet, sweet victory.

Long Table Distillery is located at 1451

Hornby Street.

photo by David Arias

Pairs of Pears is a treat wrestled from the grip of

bureaucracy by two relentless local distillers.

BOTTOMS UP

getting to know your local bartenders

Ever wanted to know more about that person

behind the bar pouring your liquid courage?

Here’s your chance. This month, meet Courtney

Richards from Jackalope’s Neighbourhood

Dive.

HOW DID YOU START BARTENDING? I

started bartending at a hotel pub in Kamloops.

It ruled, we would open up the pool table for

our friends, turn all 20 TVs on to Intervention

and eat chocolate bars on Sunday nights.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED AT JACK-

ALOPE’S? I’ve been at Jacks for around a year

and a half, and been the bar manager for the

last year.

BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB? Everything

from the ownership down rules at Jackalope’s.

We are treated respectfully and fairly, we are

given a place to hang out with great friends

and customers, listen to rad music and be ourselves.

FAVOURITE DRINK TO MAKE? The beef

back! We are pretty sure we invented it. It's

a shot of rye followed with a shot of beef au

jus and it's amazing! I love watching people try

them for the first time they are always totally

stoked.

GO-TO DRINK ON A NIGHT OFF? $5 pints of

PBR at the Princeton.

TELL US ABOUT THE GREATEST NIGHT

YOU’VE EVER HAD AT WORK. It sounds

cheesy but we always have a great time at

work. The staff at Jacks is like a family so on

any given night you are hanging out with pals,

cracking jokes and listening to killer tunes.

THE WORST? When I break off all my dang

fingernails.

Jackalope’s Neighbourhood Dive is located

at 2257 East Hastings Street.

Courtney Richards wants to

serve you a beef back.

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May 2017


May 2017 21


THEATRE

CHILDREN OF GOD

hope and perseverance in the face of cultural genocide

KATHRYN HELMORE

On July 11 2008, a ring of 11 chairs

marked the floor of the House of

Commons. The chairs were designated

for five Indigenous leaders and six

residential school survivors. In front

of these guests, Stephen Harper apologized

on behalf of the Government

of Canada for residential schools.

To many, the apology marked the

end of a long silence regarding a dark

chapter in Canadian history. To Corey

Payette, playwright and creator

of the play Children of God, the time

for silence has passed and the time for

reconciliation, atonement, and conversation

has come. He plans to move

forward by putting the topic at centre

stage.

In Children of God, the children

of an Oji-Cree family are sent to a

residential school. It is the story of

children who were robbed of their

community and the mother who desperately

tried to see them, yet was

never let past the school’s gate.

“Children of God demonstrates the

intergeneration impact of a cultural

TIES OF BLOOD

mining the depth of human flaws to find virtue

genocide,” says Payette. “It shows

how this chapter in Canadian history

changed the course of lives. We hope

that it will help people understand

what happened. We hope that people

will enter the theatre one way and

leave it changed.”

While the production might seem

like a tragedy, it is fundamentally about

hope and perseverance, says Payette.

“It is a testament to the strength and

reliance of our ancestors. It dares us to

look at how far we’ve come. Despite

what happened, we have held onto

our culture. That takes strength and

courage.”

Children of God pays homage to

the resilience of Indigenous culture

and its growing prevalence in sectors

that have, until this point, been dominated

by Western culture. This work

involved over 30 people, has a cast of

nine, and required four independent

theatre companies; the compelling

narrative and First Nations-inspired

musical score proved irresistible to

the national theatre. After opening

in Vancouver on May 17, the play will

be staged in theatres across Canada,

including the National Arts Centre in

Ottawa.

“There’s something about this

show that is beyond me,” said Payette.

“It has its own momentum and

photo by Matt Barnes

Children of God takes a life of its own to tell a dark truth hidden for far too long.

a strong purpose. I can’t wait to see

how it is received.”

Children of God runs at the York

Theatre from May 17 – June 3.

KATHRYN HELMORE

22

THEATRE

A play by American writer Caity Quinn, Ties of

Blood reaffirms that the works of the Brontë sisters

transcend time. Yet, instead of reinventing their

classic novels Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, this

production dives deep into fact, not fiction.

Ties of Blood is a retake on the story of the

Brontë family: a 19th-century family of literature

geniuses who dealt with financial insecurity, isolation,

and alcoholism. While their literary mastery

has continued to endure, all three sisters and their

brother lived a difficult life and passed from tuberculosis

at a young age.

Quinn’s play tells the story of ambitious Charlotte,

passionate Emily, benevolent Anne, and their

troubled, opium-addicted brother, Branwell. As

Charlotte struggles with an abusive and incestuous

relationship between Anne and Branwell, themes of

domestic violence, forbidden love, drug addiction,

and conflicting loyalties arise.

“As someone who has always been fascinated by

the Brontës, I wanted to explore the suggested incestuous

relationship between Anne and Branwell,”

Quinn says. “Through doing so, I explore abuse. The

play uses the lives and novels of these individuals

as a metaphor to understand men who are abusive

and the women who stay with them.”

Ties of Blood reveals domestic abuse and incest within one of English literature’s most important families.

Quinn, herself, struggles with helplessly watching

a close friend trapped in the circle of an abusive

relationship. This inspired her to write about the

complexities of abuse and love, and the effect these

relationships can have on witnesses.

“Charlotte, a loyal sister to Branwell and Anne,

allows her concern to change into anger and victim

blaming,” Quinn continues. “Abuse is a disease

that affects everyone it encounters. Frustration

can amount in witnesses as they become disgusted

with loved ones for staying in a harmful relationship.

This play not only explores abuse, it explores

what it means to be a witness to abuse.”

Coming at abuse from the angle of the witness is

a fresh take on an often-told story. Quinn candidly

recognizes the struggle undergone by those on the

outside looking inwards.

“The strength of the play lies in its honesty,” says

Quinn. “We’re not always angels and sometimes,

when dealing with someone else's choice, we resort

to frustration, judgement, and even disgust. Yet, inevitably,

the play reminds us that we cannot judge

a friend for their choices and we must love them

regardless of what they do.”

Ties of Blood runs at the Havana Theatre

from May 10 – May 13.

May 2017


RUSSELL HOWARD

popular comedian snatches humour back from the cold clammy hands of important issues

HARLAND WILLIAMS

following penguins to the Taco Bell drive-thrus of our minds

TANIS LISCHEWSKI

COMEDY

Russell Howard is the court jester if the court jester was a self-conscious shaved vag.

KATHRYN HELMORE

Known for impersonating a vulnerable, insecure

and hairless vagina, Russell Howard is comedic

force to be reckoned with.

This young British comedian has held a coveted

role on massively popular panel show

Mock the Week and has the largest social media

following of any British comedian. His TV

show, Russell Howard’s Good News, was one

of BBC Three’s most watched shows. Nevertheless,

in typical British fashion, Russell is

understated about his success: “my success?

I’ve never really thought about it,” Russell said.

“The very fact that there’s people in Vancouver

waiting to hear my jokes is such as mind-fuck.”

While Russell’s personification of a vagina is

not grandma-friendly material, do not dismiss

him as a silly jokester looking for cheap laughs.

Anyone who has gleefully giggled at his jokes

knows there is more lurking underneath the

surface.

Russell’s vagina skit is a prime example of

this multi-faceted comedy. This joke was inspired

by a statistic stating that a quarter of 16

to 25-year-old girls self-harm. It inspired Russell

to do some digging into why girls have insecurities

and mental health problems.

“One reason for these insecurities was

photo by Avalon UK

porn,” said Russell. “Porn would tell girls they

had to shave their pubes. I thought it would be

great to do a skit whereby a proud, natural and

unshaven fanny of an older woman would lecture

an impressionable fanny. I hoped this skit

would raise awareness while taking the piss.”

Russell’s often ridiculous material comes

from an intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate

place. As is the case with all good

comedy, it has purpose. “Right now there’s

a lot of very angry people in the world,” said

Russell. “And that’s understandable. There is

an increasing divide between the haves and

the have-nots. Yet the right wing are speaking

the loudest. There is no opposition to those

who are angry and hateful. Where’s our Martin

Luther King? I think that comedians have become

the opposition. Comics are the dissenting

voice.”

In this period of anger and disenfranchisement,

Russell Howard has chosen to do more

than keep calm and carry on. This comedian

has decided to take up the mantle of court

jester and laugh at the state of our society.

Russell Howard is playing at the Rio

Theatre on May 16th.

Canadian comedian Harland Williams

is also artist, director and actor

who has appeared in more than

fifteen films. He has even written

and illustrated several books including

the Lickety Split series.

From his first role as a State Trooper

on Dumb & Dumber in 1994, to

his latest role in Puppy Dog Pals as

Bob, he has been around the block.

This year though, he hopes to finish

writing the sci-fi novel that he’s

been working on as a side project.

“Writing a book is tough business,

it takes a lot of will and mental

power"

Sometimes being in the spotlight

isn’t always that easy, it can even

be slightly problematic at times.

When asked about some of the

more bizarre fan interactions he’s

had, he told me that fans have tried

to hurt themselves, they’ve threatened

him, they’ve even gotten arrested

for abusing their partners at

the shows. But despite some of the

downfalls of being in the spotlight,

there comes a time in one’s career

where you are able to just go a little

bit crazy and have a lot of fun.

“One of the funniest things to

happen to me recently was probably

when I was digging into my

computer and found a scene from

a movie I directed called Fudgy

Wudgy Fudge Face, and the scene

is called The Valley Of The Dolls.

The other actors and I are driving

a pickup truck through the desert. I

had bought about 80 of these three

foot tall dolls and then I planted

them in the sand. We basically drive

through the valley of the dolls, and

they try and attack the truck. So

we put on boxing gloves and just

punched the shit out of them”

When Williams isn’t busy hard

at work making people laugh, you

can find him skipping down streets

on the search for daisies. You may

even find him going through farmer’s

markets in search for that perfect

new piece to add to his wonderful

taxidermy collection. One

place where you will definitely find

him twice a week, is on his podcast

The Harland Highway where he discusses

issues ranging from serious

to the bizarre, artistic, unusual, and

silly. He also features callers, as well

as interviews and comedy sketches.

His main gift is his spontaneity.

As an experiment to test the limits

of this he was asked:"A penguin

walks through that door right now

wearing a sombrero. What does he

say and why is he here?” He quickly

responds “Yo, Brosif. Let’s go get

that Taco Bell !! I run over and grab

my electric sausage, the penguin

hops on the back as they fly on over

to the Taco Bell Drive-Thru.”

Sounds like a hot ticket.

Harland Williams will be at

Yuk Yuk’s on May 12th.

Harland Williams doesn’t need 7-minute abs to work out.

May 2017 COMEDY

23


FROM THE

DESK OF

CARLOTTA

GURL

CARLOTTA GURL

Hello my lovely little Lottas and welcome

back for another monthly installment

from the hallowed Haus of Gurl. As many

of you have probably seen from my social

media musings, Carlotta Gurl has

just gotten back from a whirlwind tour

around Europe and it was the trip of a

lifetime. The art, the architecture, the

wine, the food (yes she actually ate), the

men, the everything was simply divine. If

I can encourage anyone to do anything in

their life then it's this; take a trip. Travelling

abroad, especially to a place you've

always longed to visit, is one of the most

amazing experiences you can ever give

yourself. Introducing yourself to another

place and fully immersing yourself into

it's culture is a glorious way to enjoy life

to the fullest. I feel behooved to share

some of my experiences on this exodus

with you all.

I was lucky enough to travel with a

dear friend I hadn't seen in quite some

time and being able to reconnect with

her whilst travelling was quite lovely. We

studied art together many years ago and

always said that one day we would travel

to some of the lands that were the birthplaces

of modern art and it wasn't until

this year we got too make that dream a

reality. Let me tell you nothing is more

magical than enjoying a flute of champagne

high atop the Eiffel tower while

gazing over this beautiful city in all it's

resplendent glory. Bringing Carlotta Gurl

down the River Seine for a guided boat

ride Amidst lots of curious onlookers

was a divine experience I will never forget.

Wandering through the avenue des

Champs-Élysées in high heels and posing

for pictures at the historic Arc de Triomphe

was a truly angelic vision. Touring

the Lourve museum and getting lost in

the myriad works of Art and sculpture,

and being gobsmacked by two surprise

tickets to see the fantastical spectacle

that is the Moulin Rouge. My insatiable

passions for all things showy were indeed

met at this tremendous extravaganza.

Words fail me in trying to describe this

tour de force show. I was very simply in

Heaven.

Then came Italy. For all my dreams of

places of pure beauty, Rome and Venice

made them come true in every way. it

wasn’t truly transported back in time until

photo by Chase Hansen

I stepped foot in Venice. Every canal, every

corner, every bridge, every turn, was filled

with more and more things to discover.

It is here where I got to enact another

longtime dream of mine; to replicate

Madonna's "like a virgin' video. Picture

it; the Gurl dressed in pure Italian attire,

sailing through the canals in her very own

gondola, crooning " like a Venitian, I'm in

love for the very first time". A joy I got to

share with everybody in Facebook land as

well. To top off that virtuoso experience,

the Gurl won herself some attention of a

very handsome virile Italian man, and got

to enjoy firsthand true European passion

unleashed. It was tres incrediblay! I could

go on and on my darlings but alas all good

things must come to an end. I hope you

enjoyed my adventures in Europe and I

look forward to seeing you all out and

about in the Realm and at my shows. Loving

you all. arive derchi bellas.

QUEER VIEW MIRROR

why #VisibilityMatters

ANASTEJA LAYNE

As a young child, I was enamoured by the glitz and glam of fashion.

Like a lot of femmes, my first experience with 'fashion' was

watching Victoria Secret Angels prance and twirl on the runway.

I quickly learned what feeling sexy, confident and present did for

people. I was also blindly unaware of the complexities of ego, self

conscious and misogyny.

Eventually I went on to being an awkward over-weight teenager.

Trapped in dysphoria- no answers for me in my small village.

Here, I began to see and understand the grey in life and I decided

to make a change. "*Become a Model*"

I didn't want to be known as the 'fat-black-Gay kid' (a harsh,

but true reality), and I knew I was the only one that could evoke

such change within myself.

I lost 100 lbs, graduated with honours and went on to grab a

modelling contract and set off to globe trot! I also met my first

transgendered woman. I barely got to know her but she radiated a

warmth and love so powerful, in that moment, Marianne Williamson's

'our deepest fear,' suddenly made sense. I also came to know

by living my truth and being the best I can be, I normalized what

being transgender was. That my unique story would give others

permission to do the same. So five years ago I began my own transition.

In that truth I found more success then fathomable: in my

life, career, even in love. The boy who never was kissed, became

the bombshell.

Your uniqueness, no matter your chosen or identifiable demographic,

are animated representations. Your presence and your

personal success', joys and compassions, are a catapult of normalization.

Because unique is normal, and that is ok. You are allowed

to embrace your beauty, your talent, your sexy, your fabulousness.

It's ok to only be validated by yourself because beauty is an experience

you can only define for yourself. That's why #visibilitymatters

XO

@thatsirengoddess

photo by Chase Hansen

24

QUEER

May 2017


QUEER

AMY GRINDHOUSE

Squamish’s most commercially successful Drag Queen

Amy Grindhouse steps onto the stage,

microphone in hand, she looks shy,

“I’m going to sing live for you if that

all right” she says into the mic and

the audience loses their shit. As she

effortlessly weaves her way through

“Love me Harder” by Arianna Grande

she exposes different parts of her hairy

unkept body. The audience is madly in

love, they shower her with money, they

scream. This is the Effect Amy has on

people, she is sweet, she is funny, she

is a breath of fresh air in a scene that

fights so hard to be perfect.

Drag to Amy is a very special experience,

she started Drag in High

School in Squamish, she shares, “Drag

has become many things for me, it's

an incredible artistic outlet, a way to

air out some of the demons hiding in

my closet, and most importantly it's

cheaper than therapy! What makes

drag so unique is there are NO rules!

Of course I love glamorous, "pageant"

and polished drag, but I don't think it's

any more valid then "alternative" styles.

That goes beyond fashion, it's important

to stress that drag is for anyone and

every body! When performers are their

most authentic selves, that's when the

magic happens.”

Amy is known for her looks. They are

unique, weird and literally nobody else

would every were them at times. “I love

that drag allows us to have a break from

reality, and we get to play dress up for

a while! When I was a kid I was always

wearing some crazy costume, and now I

get paid to do it!” shares Amy. This level

of escapism is a gift Amy gives to her

audience too. She has the gift of making

people laugh. Her kindness really

does shine through.

Amy is a cohost/co-creator of The

Sleepy Girls Show in Kitsilano. It happens

the last Sunday of every month

and often centres around a broad them

where guests tell stories from that time

in life. It’s a must see show, so go see it.

Formative years in life are interesting,

we all have things that have happened

that have shaped who we are,

to Amy Drag is very Cathartic, she

shares, “I started doing drag to heal my

self worth. When I was 14, I decided to

hook up with a stranger. Things went

south pretty fast, the first thing he said

to me was "you look fat in person, you

should loose weight", then guilted me

into doing things I wasn't comfortable

with. After that I internalized the trauma,

and kept meeting up with guys

who made me feel terrible. I have always

struggled with body image, and

this certainly didn't help. As I grew up

I needed to find an outlet to vent out

all my frustrations, and reclaim my sexuality.

For me, Amy has always been my

way of taking it back. She is all my insecurities

amplified! My comedy comes

from that, I heal through laughter. Joking

about sex and my body has actually

made me feel beautiful! I took the fear

out of the equation, and by performing

we can all laugh about it together.”

Amy Grindhouse is a star on the rise

and her carefree attitude, though it

may seem lazy is actually well thought

out and carefully crafted. She has a

spirit for improv and it shines when

she is on the Microphone. She is one to

watch.

Catch Amy the last sunday of

every month for The Sleepy Girls

Show at Displace Hashery! Dinner

is at 8:30 and show is at 9:30.

photo by Chase Hansen

May 2017 QUEER

25


FILM

I, DANIEL BLAKE

you can’t teach an old man new tricks

ALEX SOUTHEY

THIS MONTH IN FILM

support your local cinema

HOGAN SHORT

I, Daniel Blake

If you read into the hype, I, Daniel Blake is

the cream of the crop of the completely

played out misanthropic old man subgenre.

Put simply, not a lot of it will surprise

you, but it will easily please thanks to its

bag of audience charmers. These include

lilting accents, old folks fed up with minute

inconveniences, and an array of minor,

loveable characters who play things

straight, no matter what.

The film's title gives the greatest indication

of the way director Ken Loach

and writer Paul Laverty handle their main

character. “I, Daniel Blake"—It's all about

him. That's how he sees it, that's how others

understand it. At one point he says,

"I'm just going in circles." That's because

his need for attention and general narcissism

keeps him disconnected from reality.

Even when he tries to help a wronged

single mother, the scene becomes about

him.

Unfortunately Loach and Laverty provide

such a big helping of Daniel at the

beginning (he badgers a well meaning

doctor, for example, while inescapable

introductory credits roll over a black

screen) it ends up souring the film that

follows, which contains a moving, platonic

relationship with the aforementioned

single mother Katie (Hayley Squires) and

her kids, and with his young neighbours.

Poetic moments hint at why I, Daniel

Blake won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. The

acting is strong, and the dialogue rings

true. It hits all the marks. But this is the

issue; the film so clearly aims for those

designated marks that we can’t clap for

the bullseye. In an unoriginal world, in a

tired genre, this one issue undermines a

lot of what might have been a lot more

emotionally stirring had the character

type not been such an easily identifiable

type at all.

The reliance on familiarity of subgenre

to try and do something new is almost always

worth seeing. In this case, it doesn’t

work, and frankly it might not be worth

seeing. The attempt dulls the film's positives

and emphasizes its negatives.

Perhaps a bit like an elderly narcissist,

I, Daniel Blake greatly succeeds in the familiar,

fails at some of the new, and avoids

a lot else.

I, Daniel Blake opens in Vancouver

May 5

Chuck

May 5

A true-story boxing tale of heavyweight Chuck Wepner.

Wepner, a former Marine, was unexpectedly chosen to

fight Muhammad Ali in a title match. Sound a little like

Rocky? Wepner’s story was actually Stallone’s original inspiration

for that film. This movie has a great cast (real-life

couple Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts) and great early

reviews.

Burden

May 5

Burden is an unfiltered look at performance artist Chris

Burden as he takes his gallery of work to riskier and more

dangerous places. This documentary follows a man who is

willing to get shot, run over, crucified or whatever else he

deems is art. Watch and decide if you agree with him.

The Lovers

May 5

Legends Tracy Letts and Debra Winger star in this new

take on an old idea. The Lovers focuses on a married couple

both having their own affairs, each unaware of the other’s

infidelity. What they do become aware of is that they

are beginning to fall in love again.

War Machine

The Wall

May 12

In Iraq, two soldiers are pinned down by an enemy sniper.

They can’t escape, with only a flimsy wall shielding them

from death. An interesting concept that hopefully makes

for a good movie about our will to survive and brotherhood.

The incredible Aaron Taylor-Johnson stars with the

world’s second-biggest wrestler-turned-actor John Cena—

this could go either way.

War Machine

May 26

Netflix has been churning out incredible material in 2017

and this film, written and directed by David Michôd (Animal

Kingdom), will almost certainly be another great

one. This parody-esque modern war story follows a charming

and victorious four-star General (Brad Pitt) during the

rise and fall of his command of NATO forces, all through

a journalist’s hard-hitting exposé. This has an all-star cast

and may be a serious contender for Netflix at the Oscars

The Blockbusters

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Two words: cautiously

optimistic. The talent is there. (May 12)

Alien: Covenant – Alien is perfect. Aliens is great. Prometheus...

well, maybe not good, but at least this one looks

awesome. (May 19)

FRIDAY LATE NIGHT MOVIES!

19+

VALID ID FOR

BAR SERVICE

VISIT WWW.RIOTHEATRETICKETS.CA FOR SHOW TIMES & TICKET PRICES

MAY 12

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

MAY 19 TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME MAY 26 BUBBA HO-TEP JUNE 2 ALMOST FAMOUS

26 FILM

May 2017


Feist

Pleasure

Universal Music Canada

For any avid listener, Feist has always provided a

gateway into one’s own turmoil. Although she

writes for herself, the former Calgarian has a way

of translating her internal dialogue into relatable

fodder by way of her venerable falsetto. Where her

breakout album The Reminder skyrocketed her career,

and turned her into an international pop star,

follow-up Metals pushed back against that mould,

garnering her critical acclaim and 2012’s Polaris Music

prize. Six years later, she has returned—in full

Feist force—with Pleasure.

When pitching this review to our team, one of

BeatRoute’s editors was skeptical;

He didn’t want a Feist fan to gas her up further,

he wanted to know: “Is this going to be a ‘one for

her, one for her fans’ type situation?” The truth is,

it’s hard to say. There’s skeletal frameworks of radio-ready

hits on the album, but it lacks the polish

or obvious-charm of her earlier work.

This is of course intentional. Feist is too skilled a

songwriter and musician for it not to be. On Pleasure,

she wanted to create and record songs in their

rawest, purest forms. As is expected, there’s plenty

of hissing guitar and echo throughout. The album is

shaped similarly to Metals; there’s no major stand

outs, but thematically, and as one piece of work,

it holds strong. What it lacks, in comparison to

her previous work, is the expansiveness of sound;

the presence of many hands in production. She’s

achieved her goal of entrenching the album with

humanity, but that also gives the album a harshness

that could be divisive.

In an interview with Pitchfork, she said, “It was

about wanting to make sure I was making another

record because I needed to do it and not because

it’s just what I’ve done so far.” To that point, my

editor could count this as an album for her. It’s an

album for one to get lost to and with – there’s a

warmth throughout it, it’s just not obvious. If Feist’s

going to be the pop star many want her to be, it’ll be

on her terms and in her way.

On “A Man is Not His Song,” Feist slides over a

soft guitar line, as the song builds up to a choir of

voices, echoing behind her: “We all heard those old

melodies (like they’re singing right to me.” The song

then ends with a Mastodon guitar riff; an abrasive

antithesis to the rest of the song’s framework, and a

disruption of the peace inherent. The album is meditative

throughout, inviting guests just when you’ve

hit solitude.

Four test pressings of the album’s vinyl are, at the

time of writing, due to be released to fans, who were

asked to describe their ideal listening party scenario.

The truth is, this album’s probably best enjoyed

alone, or in a small group and an intimate setting,

there’s no celebration quite like “1234” or other uplifting

Feist moments.

Pleasure is no less loud than she’s been, and

there’s even hand clapping and choral chants

throughout. “Any Party” perfectly stages the nervousness

and excitement one feels returning home

to a town and old friends you used to know. It’s a

mix of pleasure and loss, syncopated by blues guitar

and mild distortion. It even ends with you leaving,

the door creaking, crickets in the air as you enjoy

the solitude that comes after. There are so many

unexpected elements, moments within moments

throughout Pleasure.

“Pleasure” and “I am Not Running Away,” see Feist

embodying the rock goddess she could easily be.

Like PJ Harvey, she sounds at home drawling with

harsh guitar. The album’s title track and lead single

is so carnal, you can almost feel your body pushing

up against someone else’s in the moment. “I am Not

Running Away,” has her singing like a late-night dive

bar crooner, a lamentation for her independence.

Each song could be Feist’s pop-friendly moment,

but each song has some element that pushes it or

distorts it so that it’s not quite complete. In “Pleasure,”

she brings you where you think the song will

climax, only to pull it away from you. On “I Wish I

Didn’t Miss You,” there’s a structure of a tragic song

about heartbreak. The reverb on her voice distorts

her words to a loneliness and timelessness. This is

anyone’s heartbreak, but also anyone’s retribution –

coming to terms with your own weakness.

Tweeting about the album initially she said, “The

experience of pleasure is mild or deep, sometimes

temporal, sometimes a sort of low grade lasting,

usually a motivator.” This is true for all of it. It’s less

about pleasure than the anticipation leading up to

it, the work in service of the reward…And there’s

definitely Pleasure in that.

• Trent Warner

•illustation by My-An Nguyen

May 2017 27

REVIEWS


Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog

Fast Romantics - American Love

(Sandy) Alex G - Rocket

Gorillaz - Humanz

Hollerado - Born Yesterday

Mac DeMarco

This Old Dog

Captured Tracks

Mac DeMarco has grown up, for better

or for worse. This Old Dog is peppered

with fatherly wisdom and a subdued

acoustic backbone, frequently broken

up by classic DeMarco synth elements.

It’s his quietest project yet, a realization

that the stars might not be calling

as often as they used to. At first, the

lackluster melodies and preachy lyrics

are overshadowed by DeMarco’s zestful

earlier albums, but just like fatherly

advice, there comes the realization that

maybe he’s right after all.

At the tender age of 26, salad days are

gone for DeMarco, fleeting through

years of rigorous touring and the little

time he’s had to enjoy his accomplishments.

In the process of moving from

New York to L.A., he finally had the opportunity

to breath, letting the songs

on This Old Dog take the backseat while

he adjusted to a new life. By letting the

album mature in a chamber of reflection,

he’s made a collection of songs

that prove an old dog can learn new

tricks; it’s not just another one rehashed

and recycled.

Over layered melodies, DeMarco sings

about melancholic themes, ranging

from appreciating life while you still

can and the loss of love that any longterm

relationship carries with it. The

record has some of his best songs in an

already stellar discography. “Moonlight

on the River” is something else, though,

staying true to its title by transporting

the listener to where moonlight hits the

water, causing a tidal wave of somber

and magnificent emotion across seven

minutes.

This Old Dog may not be Mac DeMarco’s

most instantly gratifying album,

but it is certainly his most sophisticated,

proving that getting old isn’t all that

bad.

•Paul McAleer

Fast Romantics

American Love

Light Organ Records

Hot on the heels of winning a 2016 nomination

for the SOCAN Songwriting

Prize for their song ‘Julia,’ Ontario’s Fast

Romantics are set to release their sophomore

album, titled American Love.

Proof that the traditions of Canadian

rock and roll are alive and well in 2017,

the album is packed with rich-sounding

music that is layered with instruments

and narrative song writing that manages

to simultaneously capture a piece of

Canadiana while remaining accessible to

rock fans of all stripes.

The sound throughout the album remains

full-bodied, with rare dips into

slower, more introspective sounding

bridge sections during some tracks. The

core of most songs come straight from

the roots of rock music with tastefully

distorted guitar and driving percussion

delivered in almost every track on the

album. Sporadic synth rhythms and

the distinct ringing of bells and chimes

round out the musical arsenal, adding

an extra layer of sonic depth to the

music. One caveat to American Light

is that, if you are looking for variety,

this album is lacking it in some ways.

The sound, tone and tempo is more or

less consistent throughout the entire

album, so don’t go into it expecting a

rollercoaster of musical changes.

Chances are, if you have listened to any

Canadian radio in the last six months or

so, you have heard the single “Why We

Fight,” which was released in January

of this year. If you enjoyed that track,

chances are this album will pique your

interest as a whole. Cover to cover, it delivers

a solid, upbeat-yet-introspective

rock and roll sound.

•Jodi Brak

(Sandy) Alex G

Rocket

Domino

Whether it’s indie-rock, pop, or hiphop,

there’s always a disappointing

groan when an artist releases a new

album that sounds exactly like the

last few. With (Sandy) Alex G, there’s

no reason to worry. The Philadelphia-based

artist is a bottomless goldmine

of ideas, and he’s just getting

started.

Rocket is (Sandy) Alex G’s eighth fulllength

release since 2011, but he has a

handful of unreleased projects that are

equally as impressive. His ear for melody

and organic songwriting is reminiscent

of Elliott Smith, but his most cutting

songs speak to the do-it-yourself

nature of, dare I say it, early Modest

Mouse. Last year, his talents attracted

Frank Ocean, landing him a spot on the

critically acclaimed Blonde.

“Bobby” is the first single from Rocket,

and it is easily one of the best songs of

the year. Exchanging lo-fi charm for

alt-country purity, the track embraces

fiddles, stunning harmonies and

crisp production to create something

universally beautiful. Complete with

dogs barking and intoxicating vocals,

“Poison Root,” starts the album off by

continuing the alt-country theme, but

it isn’t as initially accessible as “Bobby.”

The same could be said for the rest of

the album: alt-country in spirit, yet full

of surprises that only Alex G could pull

off. It is musically and lyrically dense,

but it is a rewarding experience when

everything finally clicks.

With tracks like “County” and “Alina,”

Rocket floats into the cloudy realm of

dream-pop, but they felt perfectly in

the context of the album. “Brick,” on

the other hand, is a bit of an anomaly

on Rocket, abandoning serenity in

favour of relentless punk rage. It’s a

shocking moment on the album, but

it’s also masterfully executed.

There’s something for everyone on

Rocket, yet Alex G doesn’t double

down on one consistent tone. Even so,

anything that’s left to be desired has

probably been explored on one of his

past releases. And, amazingly enough,

there’s still a lot left to be discovered.

•Paul McAleer

Gorillaz

Humanz

Parlaphone / Warner Bros.

Gorillaz fans have been waiting a long

time for a new album. The group’s last

full-scale effort, Plastic Beach (2010),

was a cohesive collection of well-crafted

singles met with critical and commercial

success.

Though, Gorillaz is not just music.

The ‘band’ themselves is a virtual one

comprised of cartoon characters. 2-D,

Murdoc, Noodle and Russ make up the

animated band, while former Blur frontman,

Damon Albarn (who voices 2-D), is

the only permanent musical fixture and

comic book artist Jamie Hewlett creates

the majority of the group’s visual art.

There’s been a lot of hype built-up

around this release, through social media,

endless singles, VR apps, listening

parties and $350 deluxe editions. Humanz

has not lived up to it.

Albarn describes this album as a

soundtrack for a party at the end of the

world. For the most part, it succeeds in

conveying this theme.

Humanz sees Gorillaz’ once excellent

fusion and disregard for genre fall apart,

however their knack for crafting a compelling

track does shine through at

some points. 2-D introducing himself to

the album amidst the Popcaan-fueled

trap/dancehall chaos of “Saturnz Barz”

is one of the group’s very best musical

moments across their entire discography.

“She’s My Collar” and “Andromeda”

are both fun, spacey dance tracks.

“Busted and Blue,” a conventional,

but well-written and produced ballad,

serves as a reprieve from the hedonistic

party of the rest of the record.

While the theme of the album is an interesting

and well-executed one, the

empty production, mishandled mishmash

of tone and arrangement missteps

leads to Humanz likely being a disappointment

for many fans.

•Cole Parker

Hollerado

Born Yesterday

Royal Mountain Records

As Hollerado’s fourth LP, Born Yesterday,

kicks into gear with the title track, it

seems the Ottawa four piece have finally

teetered off their riff-based indie rock

origins and into full pop punk territory.

Following the gargantuan release of

2015’s 111 Songs, the accessible route

seems like the natural path for the

band - drop a couple fun, radio friendly

tracks with chant-along choruses and

call it a day. And although there are a

fair amount of “yeah-yeah-yeah”s and

“woah-oh”s scattered across the album’s

refrains, Born Yesterday also succeeds in

covering a lot of diverse ground over its

38 minute run time.

From the political march of “Grief Money,”

to the staccato strikes and Andrew

WK-esque party piano line in “Sorry

You’re Alright,” Hollerado’s ability to

comfortably explore their authentic indie

pop sound is on display throughout

their latest LP.

Though Born Yesterday continues to

weave around the usual alt rock standard

Hollerado has occupied, it does

lack the memorable anthem tracks that

established their name as a Canadian

indie mainstay. Though the track “Age

of Communication” flirts with the emotional

strike, it never quite explodes into

the celebratory chorus it seems to build

towards throughout.

The comfortable nature and light-hearted

subject matter of Born Yesterday,

however, allows for the short LP to remain

enjoyable throughout, even without

the expected payoff of an anthemic

standout.

•Nathan Kunz

Kendrick Lamar

DAMN.

Top Dawg Entertainment

With DAMN. the 29-year-old Kendrick

Lamar proves that his name belongs in

the history books, but it’s what it means

to be the greatest that seems to be tugging

on his conscience. Like on much of

To Pimp a Butterfly, DAMN. finds Lamar

trying to come to grips with his hip-hop

deification while he lives in the sin of a

mere mortal.

At first glance, DAMN. is a less sonically-ambitious

album than its two

jazz-indebted acid-freakout forebearers

— To Pimp a Butterfly and Untitled

Unmastered — but by offering his most

accessible music since his world-conquering

breakthrough album, good kid,

m.A.A.d. city, Lamar finds room to let

his lyricism shine.

There are plenty of moments on DAMN.

that elicit jaw-dropping awe. Lamar’s

winning streak is boisterous, but free of

the smugness that surrounds so many

other greats. In fact, Lamar’s draw lies

in his insistence that even at the top of

the game, he’s still a human like everyone

else.

Yet, on tracks like “FEEL.” and “FEAR.”

when Lamar is at the peak of his lyrical

and rapping abilities, his talent feels

anything but human. The former track

features Kendrick locking into the bossa

nova beat with an expert precision.

His flawless flows, cadences and dense

rhyme schemes make it increasingly evident

that Lamar is a singular talent. Like

his Reagan-era Californian forbearers

Tupac, and Dr. Dre, Lamar uses his platform

to diagnose society’s ills. On the

25th anniversary of the Rodney King tri-

28 REVIEWS

May 2017


1

2

3

4

5

6

Jokes feat.

Ivan Decker

The Living

Society

presents

Uno Mas Trio

Mr. Boom Bap

presents

Boogie Nights

with

Coco Jafro

The Railway

Stage presents

Illacuda

Lust for Life

special guests

Highland

Eyeway

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

Jokes feat.

Efthimios

Nasiopoulos

The Living

Society

presents

Erica Dee

Mr. Boom Bap

presents

Boogie Nights

The Railway

Stage presents

The Ballantynes

Lust for Life

Greatest Hits

of All-Time

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

Jokes feat.

Simon King

The Living

Society

presents

Ashleigh

Eymann

Mr. Boom Bap

presents

Boogie Nights

with

Mud Funk

The Railway

Stage presents

Public Eye

Lust for Life

special guests

JP Maurice

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

Jokes feat.

Kathleen McGee

The Living

Society

presents

Mississippi Live &

The Dirty Dirty

Mr. Boom Bap

presents

Boogie Nights

The Railway

Stage presents

The Prettys

Lust for Life

special guests

Ponytails

28

29

30

31

Jokes

Hosted by

Gavin Matts

& Dino Archie

The Living

Society

presents

Sam Chimes &

Friends

May 2017 29


Kendrick Lamar - Damn.

John Moreland - Big Bad Luv

Mutoid Man – War Moans

al, it’s clear that Lamar’s mind still focuses on police

brutality, but it’s his introspective look at American

rage that inevitably makes DAMN. the first classic

album of the Trump political era.

•Jamie McNamara

John Moreland

Big Bad Luv

4AD

John Moreland plays tunes for the Greyhound, full

of hard-timer narratives and steady as a prairie

highway on Big Bad Luv, kicking off with the passing

farms diner shuffle on “Sallisaw Blue,” and with the

Americana elegance of “Old Wounds,” “Every Kind

Of Wrong,” and “Love Is Not An Answer.” Moreland’s

lyrical depth shines and his vocal tone quakes

with the workingman’s blues - “Running from the

Armageddon jury, born to put your love on trial,”

- without resorting to the simplest way to say it.

That’s where the poetry lay, “I used to say, ‘I love

you, and wonder who I was talking to,” rounding to

boulder conclusions: “If we don’t bleed it don’t feel

like a song.”

The distance and subtlety in the production of

Big Bad Luv feels like the plains, assured that there

won’t be any sharp turns, just wide veers that take

you around the next corner, as easy as passing

farms. Moreland’s comforting vocal tone, plaintive

and masculine, delivers his lines with honesty and

avoids cliches. Even as close to The Boss as he arrives

a couple of times, Moreland sounds like a man

on the tools, framing up in the field to counter the

wind.

•Mike Dunn

Mutoid Man

War Moans

Sargent House

Mutoid Man are Stephen Brodsky from Cave In,

Ben Koller from Converge and All Pigs Must Die and

Nick Cageo from a really cool metal bar in Brooklyn

called St. Vitus, the latter’s inclusion almost blowing

out of the water any suggestion that MM are a Probot-style

pastiche supergroup. Almost.

The band play something that is both thrash and

hair metal but often faster than both, a reminder

of Koller’s Converge pedigree (and Brodsky’s, when

his band weren’t trying to be the the Foo Fighters).

A Chelsea Wolfe cameo on two tracks is one of the

few reminders that musical progress didn’t stop

on January 31st, 1989, and this album was clearly

written for anybody who finds that an appealing

prospect. If it isn’t, then War Moans may not justify

repeat listening, but will serve as a 45-minute

long advertisement for what sounds like a killer live

show.

•Gareth Watkins

Perfume Genius

No Shape

Matador Records

For those who struggle with mental health issues,

who are survivors of trauma or who are marginalized,

contentment can be a very weird place.

When your existence is called into question and

when this world shames a silent part of you, there

are different choices to make: Do you become defiant?

Or do you become invisible? Achieving contentment

is a battle hard-won.

The truth is, you become adaptable. 2014’s Too

Bright saw Mike Hadreas (Perfume Genius) existing

in and relishing in defiance, but his new work

No Shape, shifts the dialogue internally. It’s far

from, but influenced by his early piano balladry.

It expands the sonic environment created on

Too Bright, pushing Hadrea’s limits further than

they’ve ever been. By virtue of existence, his work

pushes back against a hetero and cis-normative

gaze, but this album’s focus is on being OK in spite

of it all; not letting the anger and alienation swallow

you up. On lead single “Slip Away,” he sings,

“They’ll never break the shape we take… baby let

all them voices fade away.”

No Shape is an aptly appropriate title. It was pulled

from “Wreath,” where Hadreas sings, “I wanna

have with no shape,” expressing his desire to be

free from the confines of physicality, and what’s

associated with his, in this world. But it’s more

than that, as Hadreas’ music refuses to be confined

to one style or influence. The album is a slow mix

of ‘80s soft rock gallantry, smooth jazz, gospel, and

R&B. On “Slip Away,” he sounds like Kate Bush, ornate

and sophisticated, while on “Die 4 You,” he

has a Sade-like sentimentality, darkness bubbling

beneath the surface.

Despite the wide range of influence and sound,

Perfume Genius is an auteur commanding each

into his whims. No Shape is cohesive, fearless, and

jubilant.

• Trent Warner

SLATES

Summery

New Damage Records

Three years ago Edmonton’s Slates released Taiga to

nominal success with the help of prolific producer

Steve Albini. The band’s newest effort Summery,

uses the same set of ears to take their sound to a

place it hasn’t yet been. The record is full of angular,

energetic guitar lines and buoyant emotional

soundscapes, creating an optimistic arc for the listener.

There are moments of light nihilism in the

titular track, “Summery,” but they in no way overpower

the louder moments of clarity which suggest

instead pausing for a moment; taking a breath and

moving forward into the next season. The band has

gone through several things in their personal lives

in recent years and this record carries forward their

signature style of grunge-y Canadiana, but with the

obvious wisdom and confidence they’ve accumulated

over the years.

Where Taiga can feel gloomy at times in its’ heavier

tones, Summery decidedly goes in the opposite

direction, in search of a different outlook. Small

details within much of the distorted, flickering guitar

work make that obvious and vocalist/guitarist

James Stewart gives just enough away through his

lyrics to reassure us Slates can handle any storm

that comes their way.

•Brittany Rudyck

Woods

Love is Love

Woodsist

Brooklyn’s Woods fuel our hearts fire on their latest,

Love is Love. This six-track short, yet illustrious,

work reflects on the current political climate in the

US with a peaceful mirror rather than vain rumination.

It serves as a reminder of “energy flows where

attention goes” – their attention flowed fluidly and

rapidly with this one, taking a mere two months to

be written and recorded subsequent to the latest

US election. The short and sweet care package provided

by Woods is a refreshingly psychedelic lemonade;

it electrifies and entices with twists of jazz

and packs sweet punches of worldly beats and entrancing

rhythms.

“Love Is Love” starts off with a layered, reverbing

beat blended with Latin flair, then soothes the listener

with the lead guitar that cuts through with

concise conviction. “Bleeding Blue” holds horns

which shine out, reminiscent of Floyd’s Atom Heart

Mother, while heeding warning with lyrics, “If we

want love - hate can’t stay”. “Lost In A Crowd” portrays

the feeling of when one’s guts are tangled in

knots, sublimely depicting how many are feeling after

the election: “Just when we thought it couldn’t

get worse/I’m lost in a crowd; a descending darkness/And

it feels like a dream, but the trip gets

worse/And I’m lost in a crowd”.

The star-crossed beatnik/nu folk flower “children”

created a warm, hopeful album that gracefully transitioned

from their last, City Sun Eater In The River

Light. The 60’s West looks to today’s East; Brooklyn

must be the center of the new Haight Ashbury -

watch the magic unfold.

•Shayla Friesen

THE GENTLEMEN HECKLERS PRESENT

HAYAO MIYAZAKIʼS

WITH ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK BY THE INVINCIBLE CZARS

May 2017 31

REVIEWS


LA Vida Local

Ultrviolence

Forty Knives EP

Northern Light Records

"My life is such a fucking mess," croons Ultrviolence mastermind Nate Jespersen midway

through Ultrviolence's latest EP, Forty Knives. His music, on the other hand, is a perfectly

crafted mix of classic post-punk elements. Acoustic guitars blend with retro synth pads,

distorted drum machines and Jespersen's melancholic baritone vocals, at times making

one picture Glenn Danzig fronting The Cure. From the industrial angst of “Dead Bedrooms,”

to the gloomy ballad “Let You Down Slow,” fans of gothy rock will find lots to love

in these tracks that would fit seamlessly alongside classics in a Dark Eighties playlist.

• Elliot Langford

Larissa Tandy

The Grip

Thalassophile Records

2417 EAST HASTINGS STREET

Beatroute Oct.indd 1

2016-10-21 2:17 PM

The Grip is Vancouver-via-Melbourne Larrisa Tandy’s debut LP and it gets a hold of you.

The Grip’s firm hold is anchored in Tandy’s rugged yet captivating voice set to a stellar

soundtrack of sensitive Americana. Lonesome lap steel glides along next to Wurlitzers

and heart-rending lyrics. On “Harder Heavier,” Tandy laments her heart is “harder than

the hardest stone, heavier than you know,” while “The River” evokes her home in rural

Australia. Recorded by Sarah Harmer and Kathleen Edwards collaborator Jim Bryson, The

Grip is a vivid document of Tandy’s struggles with health, the law, love and relationships.

• Sean Orr

Indian Wars

I Wish I Was As Happy As John Denver

Bachelor Records

Indian Wars tread familiar ground on their third record. The cheekily titled I Wish I Was As

Happy As John Denver sees the five-piece deliver another collection of countrified Southern

rock tunes. Brad Felotik’s worn-out drawl and narrative lyrics serve as a snapshot of a

hardworking band roughing it out on the road. “Dollar Bill” is a brief but effective driving

song, elevated by gospel backing vocals and Felotik’s observational lyrics. Indian Wars succeed

at capturing a mood and feel that is both nostalgic and timeless. The comparisons to

acts like Creedence Clearwater Revival and Lynyrd Skynrd are abundant and almost too

easy to make. The record’s washed-out, dusty production makes the album sound like an

artifact of the late ’60s rather than a 2017 release.

Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of golden-age Southern rock, Indian Wars have plenty to

offer on their latest record.

• James Olson

Soft Serve

Trap Door EP

Independent

Soft Serve’s new EP speaks favorably to the benefits of brevity. The three-piece deftly display

their musicianship and the variety of their sound within a less-than-20-minute runtime.

They start off strong with the instrumental track “Whisper in the Wind,” a wistful

mood piece, complete with deliberate yet uncomplicated guitar work, tinkling keys, and

spacey sound effects. The second track, “Pat’s Pub Open Blues Jam,” is the definite highlight

of the release as it’s swirly lo-fi psych pop, sounding reminiscent of a songwriting

session between Wilco, The Velvet Underground and Mac DeMarco.

Capping off with the driving ‘70s guitar rave-up “Soft Soap,” Soft Serve have delivered a

thoroughly enjoyable EP.

• James Olson

32 REVIEWS

May 2017


The Damned

April 15, 2017

The Commodore Ballroom

It’s important to note The Damned have been

a band since before punk rock was even punk

rock. And they’re still a band today, even after

photo By Tanis Lischewskib

King Gizzard and the Lizard

Wizard w. Orb

Vogue Theatre

April 10, 2017

punk rock was reportedly murdered back in

1994 — witnesses claim they saw Billy Joe Armstrong

and Dexter Holland fleeing the scene.

Celebrating 40 years, the UK innovators were

in full form when they stepped out of the shadows

of a nearby graveyard and touched down at

the legendary Commodore Ballroom for a night

of pure nostalgia. It appears as though they were

able to drag half of the graveyard with them

too, based on how much of the audience was

comprised of Vancouver’s oldest punks. We’re

talking real punks though, the good kind you

can only read about in books like Please Kill Me

or anything by Chris Walter. In fact, the notorious

local author was even spotted front and

centre, singing along to almost the entire set.

That many salty punks in one place is always

good for some unexpected alcohol-fuelled

drama, but there were actually fans of all ages

packed into the venue that night to catch a rare

glimpse of one of the first punk bands to ever

release a single, an album and subsequently tour

the United States.

Singer Dave Vanian could basically win an

award for top sexiest vampires over 40 if such a

thing ever existed. It probably does somewhere.

The debonair frontman arose from his coffin

backstage and right into the spotlight, following

a spooky keyboard intro courtesy of Monty

After a cutthroat game of knifey spoony,

it would appear that Australia has wrestled

nearly all forms of rock music away

from this side of the pond fair and square.

On April 10 the Vogue theatre hosted two

imports from Oz that were decidedly tighter

and more fully formed than most local

bands attempting the same sound: threepiece

doom/psych rock group Orb and the

7-piece monstrosity that is King Gizzard and

the Lizard Wizard.

Definitely more psych than other doom

bands, Orb is a ride of confident musicianship

and throbbing riffs. Zak Olsen’s guitar

boasts a multiple personality as it switches

from a quaking drone to a talkative wah

wah in a single breath. Particularly impressive

after the Inigo Montoya trick of switching

over from the bass halfway through the

set.

King Gizzard was the real brain melt of

the evening, however. Boasting a candy

store of stringed instruments and a pair of

drummers facing each other on stage like it

was high noon, they vaulted the audience

through a relentless setlist of tracks off the

new album Flying Microtonal Banana, a sonic

and compositional high point for a band

already proven in the category of craftsmanship,

as well as some older favorites. A true

high point of the new material was “Nuclear

Fusion”, a strumming rumbler that sounds

like it is actively kicking up white sand in

the desert of Alamogordo New Mexico

where the Manhattan Project actually took

place. By the time they shook us with the

unstoppable fave “Robot Stop,” we were all

war boys ready to follow this 7-headed steel

beast out into the dusty ether in search of

Valhalla.

• Jennie Orton

Oxymoron, the band’s longtime charismatic bighaired

keyboardist.

Dressed in black from head to toe and singing

with his left arm supported in a black sling, “I’m

only wearing half a straitjacket tonight,” Vanian

joked before the band broke into “Generals”

from their 1982 album Strawberries.

The last time The Damned performed in Vancouver

was 2001, three days after 9/11, a fact that

guitarist Captain Sensible reminded everyone of.

“How many times have you seen the Damned

play our last show?” Sensible asked the audience,

reminiscing on the band’s first farewell tour in

1978.

Forty years into their career, the band is significantly

older but not amiss in any capacity.

Playing for nearly two hours on one of the crustiest

Saturday nights the Commodore has seen

since NOFX played two sold out shows back in

November, The Damned treated their fans of all

ages to a charged up set of songs that spanned

their entire career. From “Disco Man” to their

cover of Paul Ryan’s “Eloise,” and of course,

“Smash It Up” and “New Rose,” The Damned

proved that no matter how steeped their image

may be in the themes of death we know and love

in goth culture, they’ve actually never sounded

more alive.

•Glenn Alderson

photo by Galen Robinson-Exo

The xx, Sampha

Thunderbird Arena

April 25, 2017

REVIEWS

Thunderbird Arena greeted concertgoers with signs

warning epileptics of strobe lights and the smell of movie

theatre popcorn, a perfect depiction of the night ahead.

Known for his recent collaboration with Drake, Sampha

filled the arena with the spicy offspring resulting from a

drum-synth affair. With strong vocals and a plethora of

intriguing melodies, Sampha set the mood for the soonto-be

heart wrenching ride.

After a lengthy intermission, Romy Croft, Oliver Sim,

and Jamie Smith entered a stage surrounded by a series

of crescent placed, 20-foot-tall, spinning mirror rectangles,

directing light from their core. Celebrating their first

show in Canada in four years, The xx opened strong with

“Say Something Loving,” followed by the famous “Crystalized”.

Croft and Sim teasingly danced, finishing the track

with a Frère Jacques style round. And so it began, the

smell of BC bud floating through the area – the great side

to the delicious platter of atmospheric indie pop being

served up on a shiny platter.

From upbeat to sensual we transcended through

“Sunset” and “Basic Space,” filling the stadium with a raw

essence of indescribable emotion. And just when you

thought you could swallow back the tears, Croft took the

stage preparing for “Performance” by asking for “support

on this next song because I’m playing it on my own and

that’s quite scary.” A girl, a guitar, a single spotlight, and

the most beautifully raw emotion. An energy so strong

that it filled the entire stadium, connecting the furthest

strangers.

• Paige Paquette

photo by Galen Robinson-Exo

May 2017 33

REVIEWS


NEW MOON RISING: your monthly horoscope

Month of the Yin Wood Snake: Full Moon May 10, 2017

QUAN YIN DIVINATION

•illustration by Syd Danger

The element of this lunar cycle is yin wood and the final bits of kindling

are burning down into a pile of ash. The hidden earth, metal,

and fire make the second half of the month a striking contrast to the

first few weeks, empowering this full moon’s transition to be both

transformational and emotionally charged. Yin wood represents the

qualities of tolerance and patience — a remedy to practice in light of

any angry or impatient tantrums. This breeds in us the encouragement

to abide in non-action, watching powerful emotions come and

go and taking action from a place of kindness and compassion, rather

than from a fierce outburst.

The snake favours sensuality, intellectual savvy, attention to detail,

administrative tasks, and keen planning. After the action-packed

Dragon month passes, this is a time to follow up, envision plans for

the future, seek guidance, or dream a forgotten dream. The earthly

combination of the Rooster/Snake combines with the dependable Ox

to create a metal trine, so if you are born in the year, month, day, or

hour of the Ox, you’ll soon know how metal affects your flow.

Rabbit (Pisces): Don’t sweat the small stuff. There’s plenty to do

without having to trip over trivial things — rise above the drama and

do what needs to be done without complaint.

Dragon (Aries): Working on details can be tedious but excellence

is only achievable through attention to the particulars. Make magic

happen by reading the fine print and doing the paperwork.

Snake (Taurus): Set an example for others to follow. When life

gets busy and complicated, discipline and extra effort are needed, so

put in the time now.

Horse (Gemini): This month’s full moon will bring you back into

the game — play hard and work harder to set yourself up for a busy

time of growth this summer.

Sheep (Cancer): Grab a friend and go to the spa or take in the

Vancouver Opera. The world can wait and luxury has its benefits.

Monkey (Leo): This year’s activity peaks for you with work and

family matters coming into focus. Take time to check in with your

feelings — especially the deeply rooted ones you may have under lock

and key.

Rooster (Virgo): Hang time with your peeps and discuss your superior

understanding of life, the universe, and everything, even arguments,

can inspire deeper awareness.

Dog (Libra): Let go of any workaholic tendencies for a period and

give some attention to family matters. All of us have in us the need

for community and family, and people will come to you looking for a

companion this month.

Pig (Scorpio): New work opportunities and perhaps time to weed

your garden of any dead wood that might taking up fertile space. Letting

go can make room for the real growth that is taking place for you.

Rat (Sagittarius): A short reprieve from the pressures of the year.

Take it easy this month and get ready for the inevitable changes that

are coming to you this year. Rest and prepare for a busy growth period

ahead.

Ox (Capricorn): Here’s a chance to correct any past mistakes, ask

for forgiveness or make a fresh start — a change in your overall attitude

is what’s needed now. Work on eliminating negative states of

mind to make room for blissful optimism.

Tiger (Aquarius): Appreciation starts with you. What are you

grateful for? Someone could owe you an apology but maybe there’s

one you should be offering as well.

Susan Horning is a Feng Shui Consultant and Bazi Astrologist

living and working in East Vancouver. Find out more

about her at QuanYin.ca.

June 10th & 11th

1024 Main Street @ The Ellis Building

Our Community Sponsor

Vendors/Brands email:

mainstreetbikeexpo@gmail.com

mainstreetbikeexpo

mainstreetbikeexpo.com

34

May 2017


May 2017 35


FRIDAY MAY 5 | THE VOGUE THEATRE

UPCOMING

SHOWS

MAY + JUNE 2017

FRIDAY MAY 19

TOO MANY ZOOZ

with Funk Schwey

The Biltmore Cabaret

SATURDAY MAY 13

I AM

RAPAPORT

The Biltmore Cabaret

FRIDAY MAY 12

ODDISEE &

GOOD COMPNY

with Olivier St Louis

The Biltmore Cabaret

TUESDAY MAY 16

THE WILD

REEDS

with Blank Range

& Jenny Banai

The Biltmore Cabaret

SATURDAY MAY 13

GOODWOOD

ATOMS

The Cobalt

5/13 JOJO

The Vogue Theatre

6/3 DAY WAVE

The Biltmore Cabaret

6/14 HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS

The Biltmore Cabaret

/MRGCONCERTS @MRGCONCERTS @MRGCONCERTSWEST

FOR MORE INFO & TICKETS

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GO TO MRGCONCERTS.COM

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