If you didn’t know that Vancouver was hurting for live music venues, this gig brought the sad reality home. The place was half-full at its busiest. The “sexy” club décor, complete with sports scoreboard-style lights lining the back of the stage, highlighted the incongruity between the cheesy newness of Venue and the catchy revivalist styles of the two bands. This aside, both bands did their jobs well. Woods made me feel like an old man, but in a good way, reminding me of the lo-fi scene I enjoyed in the ‘90s. Not much for stage presence or speaking to the audience, the group played adequately, and generally entertained those who made the effort to arrive early to see them.
The house became more boisterous once psych-hippies Dungen took the stage. Geddy Lee look-alike Gustav Ejstes and his merry group of Scandinavians launched into the better known work from their last two albums with ease and flair. Reminiscent of Ash Ra Temple, Dungen are part psychedelic rock, part Krautrock, and part ‘60s jam band. I was impressed by their Vancouver fan base, considering that they were singing in Swedish to a primarily English audience. Being ignorant of the words makes one not only concentrate more on the music, but to the meaning you attach to the foreign words, resulting in an odd feeling of connection to the lyrics. A couple of slow songs, a few flurries of flute and a respectable three-song encore (it was a weekday, after all) left those of us who stuck it out to the ripe old hour of midnight glad that we did.