This was the seventh time that the Victory Square Block Party took over the park at Hastings
and Cambie at the edge of the Downtown Eastside. It’s charm is that hipsters,
musicians, hobos and people of all different ages come together for one afternoon to
listen to local independent music on one of the last days of summer.
As I walked down the street on my way to Victory Square, I could hear
Bleating Hearts playing the first set of the afternoon. There was a sense of anticipation
to get to the park and find a spot on the grass. Bleating Hearts were one of the softer sounding bands of the day, sounding as if they’d fit in at the Folk Festival at Jericho Beach. We will likely see more of this band as they have a new album due out in the fall.
The next band to play was an all-male punk rock band called Peace. This Vancouver-based band’s early ‘90s, UK guitar rock sound was a marked departure from the first band. “Lieutenant” Dan Geddes’ lyrics were stated rather than sung, and waxed poetically on the mundanity of life. He ended the set with a song that went something like, “I’ll take my medicine/Go dance on the tracks of the railway station.”
Up next was comedy act Pump Electric and his Crystal Dancers, who are self-described as the “Lady GaGa of pop comedy.” The comedy sketch they performed had the whole audience laughing with their slapstick antics. Their comedic efforts won’t translate out of context, but at one point in they had a sign that said, “Dinosaurs may attack” and then they threw dollar store dinosaurs at the audience.
My Friend Wallis began their set in the late afternoon. Singer/guitarist Crystal Dorval and her sweet, reverb-heavy sound will be synonymous with the summer of 2011 in Vancouver.
Cameron MacLeod (of Steel Viper Force) came to the stage for a short stand-up comedy
bit praising Pappas Furs for having been open for nearly 100 years. Then as quickly as he came to the stage, he split, leaving us with Men at Adventure.
Men at Adventure was reminiscent of the kind of hard rock sound that the Nerve Magazine
used to have performed on their rock cruises. Funnily, every single guy with a sleeve
of tattoos came towards the stage area and rocked-out harder than anybody had up to that
Vancouver punks B-Lines played around the same time the sun was setting on the downtown core. They were the obvious choice for this lineup with songs like “Hastings Strut.”
Teen Daze then did a short DJ set, playing a lot of crowd favourites before Hot Panda hit the stage. The quartet played a lot of songs off their 2009 album, Volcano… Bloody Volcano. It was evident that most people were beginning to feel tired of sitting down on the grass and began dancing, or had gone home.
At the time Sun Wizard began their set there was a slightly anxious feeling in the air, maybe it was because summer was at a close or because the crowd just wanted to hear them play. The sounds from their album, Positively Fourth Avenue, befit the summer season. Maybe it’s because they have such happy melodies and sing about not wanting to work.
There aren’t many bad things to say about the Victory Square Block Party. The organizers always deliver a quality event.