One Friday night last month, UBC’s Gallery pub—dark, decorated with beer logos and usually known for hosting Pit Pub spillover and karaoke nights—was transformed into a fun and intimate concert venue. “I have never felt the Gallery this way before. It’s like it’s not a shithole!” one attendee mused. The evening showcased some of Vancouver’s best up-and-coming bands: the Sappers, Fine Mist and the SSRIs. With the addition of rad-and-a-half karaoke in between sets, members of the crowd were able to display the varying degrees of their own vocal talent.
It was an eclectic and enthusiastic collection of people: students, off-campus fans, friends and Friday night pre-drinkers. Like the crowd, the bands’ musical styles were diverse—folk, ‘80s synth-pop and jazzy-piano hardcore are not a typical combination—but the interesting rhythms, catchy beats and camaraderie shared by the bands brought them into an alluring congruence.
Shindig 2008 runners up the Sappers came on first, playing mellow folk tunes to an energetic but chatty crowd. Their energy came alive during the captivating, gospel-like closer “Gloria”. The pub was joyously singing and clapping along without any reservations. These earnest, skilled musicians couldn’t help but make me smile.
Next, the Vancouver duo Fine Mist brought the crowd up to a higher frequency with their creative and bouncy synth twists and Megan McDonald’s powerful vocals. Watching Fine Mist play is, if you’ll excuse me, a mystical experience. With the house lights low, incense, a brass unicorn, a bear and a white light set complete with dream catchers turned the Gallery into the inside of a fortune-teller’s caravan. Performing on the floor in front of the stage, the band mingled with the crowd, and everyone danced together.
Next, Shindig 2007 second-placers SSRIs brought everyone into yet another headspace, with four members punching through power chords, hard synth solos and solid drumming, fueling a small but powerful mosh pit. My favourite song of theirs, “Time Ate the Garden”, was well ground out—it sounded like a warped Victorian poem, enhanced with mangled piano. Unfortunately, several members of the audience either had other places to be or had an early bedtime, as many had left before the SSRIs finished their set. Still, a small but loyal troupe of fans kept jumping until the end. This bodes well for future shows at the Gallery—let’s hope we see more soon!