Live Concert Review

7 Seconds / Bishops Green / The Briggs / Success

Live in Vancouver (06/15/15)

Fortune Sound Club - Vancouver, BC
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Fortune Sound Club rarely puts on punk shows and focuses more on the dance scene, but it’s always a blast when they do and, generally, leans more to the hardcore persuasion. Fucked Up and OFF! both previously played there and now last night was the legendary 7 Seconds with three unbelievably solid openers.

In fact, it was the openers that initially attracted me to the show – particularly Seattle’s Success and LA’s The Briggs. Kicking off the evening was the former – ripping through numerous tracks from their impeccable Radio Recovery album on Red Scare Industries. A perfect Fest band, their brand of gravelly punk follows in the vein of suburban exploration and questioning that has made the careers of bands like The Menzingers. Despite being relatively unknown to the crowd, the band served as a an appropriate warm up playing songs such as Believe In, Nowhere Kids, Flowers, Lives That We Deserve, a Stiff Little Fingers cover with Joey Briggs on vocals and finally Revolution Schmevolution to cap the set off.

After Success, The Briggs came on and there`s no way in hell they felt like the second band on a four band bill. No. These guys put on a headlining performance – and one of the strongest sets I`ve seen in ages. Coming back after a lengthy hiatus –  discounting their new EP, their last album came out back in 2008 – and it was clear that the break rejuvenated them.

They were wild, passionate and venomously strong. For most of the songs, they brought up a guitar tech so Joey Briggs could run wild with the microphone but honestly every member was running wildly. No one stayed behind the mic stands, they pulled as close to the crowd as possible – from the opening chords of Third World War to the closing chant of This Is LA. It was frenetic, chaotic and passionate  as they played through Madmen, Charge Into The Sun, My Own Enemy, Blacklist, One Shot Down and a handful of newer cuts – Broken Bones and Seriously How Old Are You? if I remember correctly. For an old fan, the set was pure perfection and even those who had never listened to them before were severally pleased with the result.  As I said, a headlining set from a 2nd band slot – the night was already rocking.

Local favourites Bishops Green were next. Fresh from a European tour, the band brought the Oi! fans out in full force. Fronted by the charismatic Greg Huff, the band rekindled the sound of the dying UK Street Punk scene (despite being Canadian).  With a steady stream of sing-along anthems built on a working class ethos, Bishops Green had the crowd climbing over one another to sing into the microphone with Huff.  Tough without being tough guy, Cockney Rejects and Sham 69 would be proud.

Finally, it was time for the real headliner of the evening with 7 Seconds.  After a somewhat less than positive experience at another punk staple show on Saturday (Screeching Weasel), we weren’t quite sure what to expect from  Kevin Seconds and his hardcore group; but what we got was better than I could imagine.

In a stark contrast from Saturday’s aging punk show, Kevin Seconds was alive. He was energetic, gracious, enthusiastic and smiling. After 35 years, it remains clear that Seconds still loves every minute he’s on stage and he – and the band – sounded spot on. He thanked the women in the crowd instead of condoning them – playing Not Just Boys Fun and encouraging as much participation as possible.

With thirty five years under their belts and ten albums (five of which were released before I was even born), 7 Seconds has not only a wealth of songs to choose from but also a wealth of experience to build on. Both of them were evident – playing new tracks like this year’s Exceptional followed by 1984’s The Crew without hesitation.  Greg Huff came on to sing If The Kids Are United and the crowd went wild for their cover of 99 Red Balloons but the set was tied together by the hardcore staples’ originals such as Walk Together Rock Together, Your Hate Mentality, Sooner or Later, We’re Gonna Fight, Slogans on A Shirt and New Wind.  

At the end of the night, no one could deny that all four bands on the bill were incredibly solid – and there’s really no better way to spend a Monday night than at a hardcore show.