Even though this was the third iteration of Pat’s Pub’s Junkyard night, few people remembered to show up on time for the opening act: a jagged and fascinating noise act known as Whip of the UFO. Rather than set up on-stage, the two musicians hooked up all their digital toys on the floor, inches away from onlookers curious to see what was about to unfold. With zero introduction, the duo hunched over the array of wires, cables and pedals and let forth a 15-minute sonic tyrade of archaic static — the kind of set difficult to describe in tonal qualities beyond that of a power drill boring out holes in your skull to relieve the pressure. Half-way through the numbing foray, instrumentalist Jon Schofield began dissecting a length of sheet-metal duct, first with a hammer, then a solder iron. The smell and sound of burnt metal hit my senses at the same time and I stood fascinated at the front of the small crowd mesmerized by the display of unconventional prowess.
AHNA continued the night’s two-piece theme as combo hopped onstage, asking for the larger crowd to get as close as possible. The intimacy, it turns out, was unnecessary as AHNA turned the volume knobs way, way up for their thrashy drone set. Drummer Anju Singh joked at one point that “Long & McQuade… won’t let us rent from them again if [bassist/vocalist] Graham [Christofferson] blows another amp tube.” Even when their combination of violent bass riffs, rage-fueled drumming and reverb-drenched screaming threatened to bust the borrowed band equipment, it was Pat’s fusebox that gave in first, causing only a short delay in an otherwise uncracked wall of noise.
It was my first time seeing Twin Crystals, and Junkyard marked their first gig in a long while. Crowd anticipation was at its height, and I could tell we were in for something when drummer Jordan Koop counted off the first track. Jeremiah Haywood pulled some amazingly grungy sounds from his Mustang guitar, from dirt-laced fuzz to electric punk, that was inspiring to watch. Keyboardist Jesse Taylor’s vocal were spot-on. Having inspired so much of Vancouver’s present-day music, Twin Crystals managed to avoid relying on genre tropes like lo-fi vocal echo and over-produced synths, instead preferring a raw, un-fucked-with intensity that got the crowd shaking all over by the end of the night. No blown fuses here, these punks knew how to put on a show.