Live In Vancouver (04/16/15)Studio East - Vancouver, BC
By Bobby Gorman
It’s a sad fact that all-ages shows are slowly going the way of the dodo bird. It used to be that every touring show that came through town were all-ages with drinking sections; but now it’s rare sight to see – effectively eliminating the youthful crowd from experiencing the sights and sounds of a packed punk crowd. I built my love for music at concerts when I was fifteen and sixteen, singing along with strangers in sold out clubs and there’s nothing I could imagine that would ever come close to replacing that.
So it saddens me that the new generation so rarely gets to experience that joy simply because they’re too young.
With that in mind, it was exciting to seeing a varied crowd at Studio East as Somos, Lemuria and Tigers Jaw played in Vancouver Thursday night. All-ages show help foster an environment of excitement that is sometimes missing from the jaded 19+ shows as it introduces the kids who can’t go to the bar shows to the joys of live music – embedding within them a love of concerts that will hopefully last a life time.
Kicking off the show was Boston’s Somos touring in support of last year’s Temple of Plenty. Their punchy brand of emo was tight throughout, although they were battling a lack of familiarity from the crowd. People were interested and respectful, but the excitement hadn’t hit the fan yet as this served mostly as an introduction to the band for most people. Nevertheless, the set showed a band with promise and in a few years Somos won’t be fighting for familiarity in the scene.
Lemuria were next and considering they’ve played Vancouver numerous times before and are on a slightly larger label (Bridge Nine Records), many in attendance knew the trio this time. Bouncy when the time called for it, but reserved and delicate even more so, Lemuria were the first band of the night to really get the crowd involved. With three vocalists alternating duties, the crowd dance and popped around while the excitement (felt by both the drinkers and the youngsters) began to build up.
By the time Tigers Jaw were ready, the crowd were bursting and they erupted as soon as the first chord was strung. Despite a recently revamped lineup (three members quit after their recorded Charmer but Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh decided to battle on with a new supporting band), they still sounded spot on. Some were worried as Adam McIlwee’s vocals led several of the band’s highlights, but those concerns were put to rest and the pits opened up, the stage divers flew and people sang along in happiness.
For someone who hasn’t been to an all-ages show in far too long, this was a nice reminder of why there should be more of them. It’s like Against Me! once sang “Just gimme a scene where the music is free / And the beer is not the life of the party” – you want the music to be the highlight, so that even if you don’t know every word to sing back at the singers, you’ll still be having a damn good time.