Live at The Korean Cultural Centre
Vancouver, BC (12/16/14)
Waking down Hasting Street to the Korean Cultural Centre just before 930, you could already hear the music pulsating through the walls. Local Vancouverites The B-Lines were tearing it up by the time I got in and despite not having seen them in over a year, the four piece band still delivered the searing performance I’ve come to expect from the foursome.
Slightly poppy eighties hardcore, The B-Lines carry with them a spastic presence that many bands lack. The gangly front man flails and wobbles on stage – a mixture of Greg Attonito with Keith Morris – he moves with a wiry stiffness that bends and snaps as the music requires. Casually (and always sarcastically) joking with the crowd, The B-Lines were a throwback to the Smiling Buddha days of the Vancouver scene with a set that cumulated with the self-deprecating chorus of “We are the opening band.”
Fellow Vancouverites Weeds were next on the four band bill. Starting with a shaky sound setup, the first few songs left many in the crowd under whelmed. Snare drums too high, guitars too low and vocals barely audible, the band started off very very weak. A few adjustments in the sound booth and their real sound slowly started to break through. Leaving the eighties hardcore behind, Weeds were a distorted post-rock/grunge combo that was so big in the mid-nineties. It took a few songs in and angry comments to the sound man, but Weeds successfully riled up the crowd for the two touring bands of the evening.
First was Toys That Kill a band that, despite being around since 1999 and garnering countless praises from friends and critics alike, I’d never previously checked out. As they stepped on stage I instantly recognized three of the members from The Underground Railroad To Candyland and knew we were in for a treat.
And boy was I right.
This band was tight, loud and enthusiastic. Todd Congelliere’s vocals are strong and unique as they are in Underground and from the moment the first chord played through, you knew why Toys That Kill were one of the touring acts. They commanded the stage and the crowd finally began opening up, bouncing, jumping and moshing along with the punk rock act.
It was a sight to see that was only eclipsed by the headliners: Joyce Manor.
After cancelling their afternoon show back in September during their opening stint for Brand New, it seemed about time that Joyce Manor returned to Van City for their own headlining gig. The band, which recently made headlines for their anti-stage diving stance, has a rather rabid fan base that tends to go wild for their particular brand of fast paced pop-punk. Despite a somewhat small crowd, those who filled the Korean Cultural Centre were no different.
Ripping through tunes like Leather Jacket, Call Out, Beach Community, Derailed, and Constant Headache from their Self-Titled debut along with Falling In Love Again, End Of The Summer, Schley, The Jerk and Heart Tattoo from their Epitaph debut, Never Hungover Again, the band focused primarily on those two albums. A new cut from their Toys That Kill split along with two from Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired rounded out the set along with one or two ultra early songs that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. Despite a somewhat short set – what do you expect when none of their album pass twenty minutes – Joyce Manor still delivered a show worthy of the three month wait.
As fewer and fewer venues offer all ages shows, it’s good to see that the odd one still squeaks through; because as we left drenched in sweat, there was no denying that this show – filled with sing alongs with friends and strangers alike – will serve as a blueprint for what punk shows should be for all the youngsters who made it out on the chilly Tuesday night.