There was a show even before this show started at Hoko’s. The East Van fixture ran karaoke mostly featuring performances from band members and a few brave folks from the audience, including a comically mistranscribed rendition of “Eye of the Tiger” (“It’s the eye of the tiger / It’s the never give up!”). Synth-heavy karaoke warmed everyone up for the bass and drums duo of Nanaimo’s Bash Brothers. Wasting no time, the band launched into a loud and fast set, rocking out hard to songs about guitar parties, partying babies and going to see Andrew W.K. (which is synonymous with partying). The group’s fierce tunes and playful tone even inspired, appropriately, a Hawaiian-shirted baby and his mom to dance outside the restaurant, setting a perfect mood for the rest of the show.
The follow-up band, Madonna Bangers, got right down to business, evangelizing like travelling priests between songs to contradictorily explain their chugging punk rock and psyched out bar jams. This playfulness wasn’t lost on an audience fully accepting of the gospel.
The stars of the night were Vancouver’s Apollo Ghosts. This band, as usual, played an amazing set to an audience packed with followers, with singer Adrian Teacher proving yet again that he is a consummate showman. With call and response choruses between the band and an audience that knew all the lyrics, Apollo Ghosts’ songs abounded with involvement—this band truly plays music for the people; readers, if you haven’t heard this band and its melodic indie rock, do yourself a favour and check their LP, their EP and see them play live. And Mint Records: sign this band! [ed. I know, right?]
Makeout Videotape was hard-pressed following up Apollo Ghosts, if only because of the outrageous heat that was filling the room (a third of the audience had left, surely to avoid heatstroke). The band soldiered on with their distinctive reverb soaked guitar riffs and Mo Tucker-style stand-up drum squalls. Despite some unfortunate attempts at audience participation, Makeout Videotape proved a cool end to a sweltering evening of musical community.