Underneath the sole colour morphing light illuminating the halfpipe at SBC restaurant, two skateboarders hit the ramp while waiting for the first act of the night, Calgarian crossover-thrash outfit Mandible Klaw. Taking their name from the WWE wrestling move popularized by Mick Foley, Mandible Claw’s vocalist, Steve, seemed inclined to engage the audience with a similarly rambunctious swagger. Wasting no time, the first song saw him launch himself into the crowd, maintaining astonishing vocal consistently while the tide of the people whipped him back and forth.
With guitarists Justin and Dave both wielding Gibson SG’s, the absolute power of the guitars was punishing in the best of ways, with the energy transferring itself without loss into the pit that had just formed near the front of the halfpipe. “I was a janitor once, this song is about that,” Steve breathlessly remarked amidst the wall of feedback, as the steady and thoroughly headbangable “Custodial Wrath” began its exponential acceleration into pure insanity. At one point Steve managed to lasso an audience member with the slack in the mic cord, a wonderfully Calgarian move on his part.
Next up was Fully Crazed, mercilessly hammering power chords across the pipe, as empties flew through the air and vocalist Stinky Mark roared with a boozy assertiveness. Not only did the band seem to be having a wildly fun time on stage, their passion came through in each and every tune, making for absolutely fantastic entertainment. Willy Jak’s guitar solos were especially killer: fast, precise, and aurally impactful, they blended seamlessly with the pulverising tone of Wes Texas’s rhythm.
The band had an excellent sense of how to build tension throughout their setlist, like when Dustin Schwam’s sharp percussion abruptly stopped in sync with the rest of the band, allowing for a moment of anticipatory silence before kicking off again into the pulverizing skate rock.
Finally, the Tubuloids, whose new flexi-zine was clutched in the hands of the audience, made their appearance. The stage was shrouded in darkness, until green filtered lights synced with Teddy Rennie’s vibrant, popping, drums began to illuminate the giant banner that had been erected behind the band. On the third song of their setlist, “Hastings Beach,” Kevin Baxter and Rob West melded the fuzz of their guitars together to create marvellous, psych-tinged breakdowns, as Baxter, who also operates as the band’s vocalist, wiped sweat from his brow. The kick drum was painted with the descriptor “tsunami surf-rock,” a term that certainly suits the wild, stormy sound that the band created.
Before the night got a chance to start winding down, Baxter pulled out a surfboard from the back of the stage, and invited members of the crowd to ride it, guided and supported by the arms of fellow audience members. After the final song of set, and the corresponding chants for an encore, the band returned to the stage — Baxter humorously telling the crowd “that was totally scripted, you guys fell for it” — before the group dived into an extended instrumental jam to bring the night to a riotous close.