When Vancouver locals Tough Customer ended their set, the band clustered together on stage in fits of laughter. Kat grabbed the mic and addressed the audience one last time, singling out Nik of Bored Décor: “Sorry Claire grinded up on you. She thought you were Aidan.”
This was the final punchline in Tough Customer’s comedy of errors. The closing of a hometown sandwich with Bored Décor and Marbled Eye (Oakland), Tough Customer’s set was nothing short of a hot mess. This outcome was foreshadowed by Katie and Claire’s choice of warm-up music — guitar riffs from Heart’s “Crazy On You.” Though every song was bookended with Kat cussing out malfunctioning parts on the drum kit, the beats were consistent enough to keep the crowd dancing throughout.
After giving an impassioned “Tell You Off,” Katie lost her voice to coughing and Claire took the mic, holding its stand at an angle. She stepped off stage to join the dancing audience, clunkily dragging the mic stand with her. Suddenly confused, Claire exclaimed into the microphone, “What? You’re not Aidan,” followed by, “I can’t tell Liam about this.” (Liam being her partner.) Claire was grinding up against Bored Décor vocalist Nik thinking that he was someone else. The absurd interruption of Claire’s realization was more than anyone in Tough Customer could handle — except for maybe Ben on guitar, who kept his cool through all the mishaps and stage banter.
If Tough Customer had a post punk doppelganger, it was Marbled Eye. The four-piece played a tight set. The vocals alternated between band founders Chris and Michael, who were stationed on opposite ends of the stage both playing guitar. Andrew on bass played between them, taking up most of the stage rocking out. The band thanked the venue and wished a happy birthday to Kat, who they claimed, “promised us a twerking crowd surfer during our set.” The audience was tentative with their affection, but they inched closer with every song and were won over.
Bored Décor opened the evening with dramatic flare. Nik lit candles on stage ritualistically, and the band started off with some of their slower songs. After the opening song, Nik said, “I would say come closer, but there are a lot of candles up here. I wouldn’t want something to happen.” In blatant disregard, the audience crowded the stage, casual swaying transforming to moshing. The set hit a climax at the lyrics, “Any form of pleasure is relief” in “Spasms,” a song off their forthcoming album. The audience actually sighed in disappointment when the song ended.
If only we had known then what was to come.