Real Live Action

The VPD, Sex Negatives, White Owl, No Gold

January 10 @ Emergency Room

Review By Mark Richardson and Jordie Yow

On a night that would prove to mark the ER’s ultimate end, it was rather fitting that No Gold too played a set advertised as their last. Yet for Vancouver’s answer to Vampire Weekend, it turned out this wasn’t the case. Later on, the band announced on their website that their rumoured breakup had been a ruse to get people dancing — a move that worked in spades, as the news of No Gold’s demise got the crowd more than just a little moving to the group’s Fela Kuti beats within an already bustling ER. You could argue it was their energetic set that got the job done, but in the end you couldn’t argue with results.
White Owl may not be a staple in the ER scene, but they’ve practised in the space for most of its brief history and even played the odd show there. The four-piece, fresh off recording an album with Greg Ashley of Gris Gris infamy, played a loud and mesmerizing set. Their unique brand of Spacemen 3 funnelled through the melodic-yet-pummeling edge of early ‘90s post-hardcore eventually won over the crowd, many of whom had probably not seen or heard of them before—something that’s hopefully about to change.

Sex Negatives followed with one of the best sets they’ve ever played, which is saying a lot because the band seem to be playing more shows with each ensuing month. They eschewed their tendency for long, tense build-ups and instead played short messes of jagged skronk, which quickly erupted into furies of assaultive punk uppercuts, causing the crowd to bubble over in excitement. The trio instinctively knew that the jig was soon to be up and that this was their chance to help tear the ER down.

Well, they guessed correctly. Within minutes of Sex Negatives finishing their set, and with Nü Sensae about to hit the stage, the police finally showed up, demanding the place be shut down. The trusty ER DJs quickly responded with the Dicks punk anthem, “Hate the Police.” The cops finally shutting down an ER show in mid-swing was a sad but somewhat fitting end to the illegal venue. But if the police think that this is end of alternative venues in Vancouver, I have to say, “Not in my city.”