Live in Vancouver (06/16/16)
The Cobalt - Vancouver, BC
“Thanks for showing up early…ish” Stu Ross, guitarist for local punk upstarts Youth Decay joked to the crowd. They may have been the first band on the bill – but the ten o’clock start time for the Thursday night show was far from early. But that didn’t stop the crowd from coming in full force for the second Flatliners show in a row for what was billed as the kick off to Levitation Vancouver.
The sold out show was by far the most people I’ve ever seen at the Cobalt. People filled it wall to wall and the back bar was open for the first time in…ever. So to say people were excited would be an understatement. It had been a while since The Flatliners passed through town and it seemed as if Vancouverites were missing the Toronto foursome.
Kick starting the evening was, as mentioned, Youth Decay – a Vancouver punk rock supergroup with members of Daggermouth, Living With Lions and Comeback Kid in its ranks playing in support of last year’s The Party Over. The skate punk bombardment worked well, whether singing about their hatred for bicyclists or their love of Winnipeg, the crowd ate it up and opened up in excited fury.
They made way for Los Angeles’ Together Pangea (not to be confused with Breaking Pangea) who – honestly – felt like an odd choice for a Flatliners tour-mate. Opening up with a country twang, Together Pangea were more jangly than fierce; a mixture of Underground Railroad To Candyland chaos alongside nerd rock conservativeness of Nerf Herder but failing to hit the plateau of either band’s sound. It made for a set that was forgettable, you weren’t upset you were there but you’ll never go out of your way to listen to them again.
The same can’t be said for The Flatliners who – as they always do – slayed it.
Having only released the b-side compilation Division of Spoils since their last date in Vancouver, the band used the opportunity to play a smorgasbord of songs including a select few deep cuts from the rarities album (Fangs being among them).
Cresswell and company were in top form, tightening up their set in their time off ripping through Resuscitation Of The Year, Sew My Mouth Shut, July!August! Reno!, Shithawks, Monumental, Eulogy, Birds of England and more. This was a set not to be missed, and the packed crowd jumped, moved and sang along to every tune.
The band joked during tuning sessions, were charismatic and expressive – honestly, you could watch bassist Jon Darbey all night and be fully entertained – and they played for themselves just as much as the crowd. So much so that their encore consisted of weird nineties rock covers from the likes of Sloan – if that’s not doing it for themselves, then I don’t know what is.