In case you thought the Vancouver punk scene was dead, Mint and Deranged Records proved that it is alive and well. On March 18, the labels co-hosted a show that showcased new talent and seasoned veterans of the Astoria stage with a killer line up of Tulip, Dumb, Century Palm, Woolworm, and Tough Age.
Tulip opened the night and they are definitely the hot band of the moment. Being relatively new — their first and only available release is from September of 2016 — their name has been on posters almost every weekend and it’s not hard to see why. They have a hard-to-place misty sound that can be really haunting. On that night, however, the energy was unusually low throughout their performance. The crowd was barely engaged and the band never did anything to take it to the next level, seeming satisfied with enthusiastic tolerance. The music was clearly well-rehearsed and they write beautiful songs, but Tulip seemed off and the audience could definitely feel it.
Dumb followed and they were amazing. It was their last show before heading off on a tour through the States, and the performance was a testament to their well deserved success. The first song brought life to the set and electrified the venue. The lead singer Gal’s awkward banter between songs was endearing and created space for the music to take centre stage. The band mates joked that this was one of their last shows, rotating the responsibility until everyone had been accused of breaking every audience member’s heart by threatening the dissolution of their new favourite band.
Century Palm was a blast from the past, bringing ‘80s inspired sensibility and style. The lead singer donned a black-sequined jacket, straight out out of an off-brand Prince music video alongside the more contemporarily dressed bassist and drummer in flannel and jeans. The Toronto band recently signed to Deranged Records and their disco punk held its own following Dumb’s potentially dwarfing performance. Century Palm was definitely entertaining, getting the audience to dance in a way the other bands never quite reached.
Woolworm took the stage and inserted their personal brand of punk-rock into the show. After Dumb, they were definitely my favourite of the night. Their energy was completely captivating. The lead singer gripped the mic and embraced the lyricism of the harder genre, never quite shouting but somehow still maintaining the intensity set by the music. Heralded as “the most exciting band in Vancouver right now” by a member of Dumb, I had to reconcile my love’s love with my brand new fandom.
I left just as Mint Record’s Tough Age began to play and their signature heavy and somehow poppy drums floated behind me as I walked out onto the street. From memorable punk performances to the audience standing there as if all under contractual obligation to not move to the music, Mint and Deranged showcased the talent and the community in a distilment of authentic Vancouver culture.