I arrived at Toast Collective as Little Sprout were just wrapping up their soundcheck, forty-five minutes after the show’s designated start time. The cheery and nonchalant venue, with its couches and coloured lights, was fairly full and more people trickled in as Little Sprout’s actual set began. The indie garage rock group’s prominent bass, jangly guitar and dreamy vocals made them my personal favourite band of the night. Frontperson Amie’s between-song banter — recalling to the crowd her former roommate’s obsession with yellow Gatorade, for example — set the casual and light-hearted atmosphere of the show.
Be Afraid surprisingly took to the stage for the second of four sets, despite it being their own tape release show. The power-poppers transferred the liveliness of their new LP, One More Year, perfectly to the live setting, prompting head-nodding and grooving in the crowd. Their second to last song was markedly slower and mellower than the others in the set, a style they pulled off just as successfully.
The vocalist in Dad Thighs, Victoria, told us jokes in a soft and sweet speaking voice while the group got ready for their set. Seemingly the entire club, myself included, was therefore taken aback when they launched into aggressive hardcore emo, with their vocalist suddenly screaming their lungs out. The band seemed to be revelling in the shock they had induced, grinning while they thrashed away on the drums, waving their guitars around and belting into their mics with even more energy and passion than is present on their releases. The quality of their music, which displayed diligent songwriting and serious musical complexity, gave them another reason to be happy with themselves. The crowd’s general reaction to Dad Thighs was captured by the statement the person next to me made to their friend when the set had ended: “That was the most emo thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
A convenience store run meant that I missed the very beginning of the last set of the night. When I walked back into Toast, Sightlines already had the venue bopping. They played their poppy brand of power punk, featuring high-octane drumming and catchy leads, with incredible vigour. You could tell how much fun they were having, and they definitely projected that positive energy into their audience.
With Sightlines’ set over, I felt thoroughly satisfied with having gotten to witness some of Vancouver’s incredible rock talent in an environment where I felt accepted and at ease. The beginning of “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” was promptly blasted through the venue’s speakers and I hurried out the door, terrified of being caught in the dance party that quickly ensued. Around ten minutes later, as I walked past the back of the club on Kingsway, the sound of voices singing along to “Whoomp! (There It Is)” told me that the party was still going strong.