Real Live Action

Tough Lovers

with We Need Surgery, and Elizabeth
April 11 @ The Biltmore

by Tristan Koster

There’s something about combining summer, beer, and rock ’n’ roll that makes for a perfect day. Maybe I was wishing more for summer, but the beer and music were covered at the Vancouver stop of Unsigned, a series of five dollar shows taking place across Canada that support indie musicians as well as various local charities. In this case all profits went to Music B.C. and many a beer were consumed for charity. A feel good-vibe pervaded the night and enthusiastic, though not overly-abundant, crowd.

Elizabeth opened the night with their intense old school punk styling and grungy-good looks. They’ve been fairly quiet since their 2011 album Hazards, Horrors and Liabilities, but snuck in some new material, which got me excited for their future. The crowd was having fun, but there was a lot of awkward head nodding and feet shuffling. It culminated in a painfully contrived stage rush, but they still got points for featuring a melodica, and playing with a lot of heart.

Formed in South Korea and based Vancouver, We Need Surgery impressed with their energy and synth-laced party rock, unfazed after being introduced as “We Are Surgery.” They rolled with it and busted out some new songs, which you can anticipate on a forthcoming EP. By their final song “Go, Go, Go,” the crowd had their hands in the air.

The night really belonged to Tough Lovers though, perhaps because it was guitarist Graham Madden’s last hurrah with the band. They are seasoned pros now and this incarnation of the band played an incredible final show. It was bittersweet, but they sent Madden off to new things with some sweet extended solos and a fantastic encore of “Before the Sun Sets.”

Wishful thinking or not, I’m calling this the kickoff show for summer. And I’m looking forward to the upcoming season of beer, sunshine, and great tunes.