Live In Vancouver (10/17/15)
The Rickshaw Theatre - Vancouver, BC
As much as I’m loathe to admit it – I’m old enough now that nostalgia plays a roll in my concert going activities. I still see new bands, but there’s a certain charm from seeing an old favourite live and that’s what happened at the Rickshaw Theatre Saturday night.
First was Fire Next Time – for most, an unknown entity; but for me, nothing will ever be more nostalgic than Fire Next Time and Audio/Rocketry. Those two Edmonton bands defined my Edmonton local punk youth as I watched them play week after week in small venues with sweaty friends.
Now I’m lucky if I see them once a year but when I do, it’s a blessing.
With a new record out on Stomp Records, the folk-punk band is picking up their game, touring more and garnering more fans – and, rightfully so. Fronted by the rough and road weary James Renton – who’s vocals could easily be compared to an amalgamation of Tim Barry and Ben Nichols with an angsty scream – Fire Next Time regaled the theatre with songs about my old hometown. While it would’ve been nice to hear River City Blues one more time, singing along with Red Lion Rampant and Rosewood Jesus just felt right.
Following them was Minnesota’s gruff punks Off With Their Heads who are, sadly, sometimes hit and miss live. Luckily for those in attendance, Ryan Young and company were in top form – barrelling through a non-stop set of self-deprecating, angsty, angry punk. Young only stopped once to condemn beer being thrown at him and otherwise kept his head down low and blasted through their bass-heavy tunes. Staring with I Hope You Know the band played through The Eyes of Death, Start Walking, Nightlife, Focus On your Own Family, Altar Boy (which they dedicated to all those who hate organized religion), Janie and Don’t Make Me Go.
The set was cathartic; a reprieve for any pent up anger as people crowded to the front to sing along to a band that will surely go down in the annals of punk history. Therefore it makes sense that Good Riddance – a band that is already in the punk history books – ended the night.
Having not toured through Vancouver since around 2003 (partly because they broke up between 2007 and 2012), Good Riddance fans were salivating at the prospect of a nostalgic kick and that’s what they got: A pure, unaltered, punk rock show.
Russ Rankin sounded spot on, spitting screaming vocals overtop Luke Pabich’s crunching guitar and Chuck Platt’s pulsating bass lines. Platt’s vocals were shot thanks to a bad sound set up the night before and you could hear it in his harmonies; a tad disappointing, but then again, punk was never about perfect harmonies.
So fists were thrust into the air. Beers were drunk. Circles were created and ran; and punk fans lost themselves in the moment. Whether it was Grace and Virtue or Mother Superior or even Weight of The World, the crowd enthusiastically sang back with Good Riddance.
Always marginally political, the band continually encouraged the crowd to vote in the upcoming election and seemed genuinely excited about the outcome.
Whether you voted or not, it was a shot of nostalgia for fans who waited a dozen years to see the band live again.
It still just blows my mind that I’ve been seeing shows for twelve years. I am old, but damn it still feels good.