After a few changes of venue due to uncooperative weather and a series of frantic text messages about where the show was moving, I found myself standing outside the Kitsilano Showboat on a damp Saturday evening. As the crowd filtered in and settled on the soggy streetlit benches, I was surprised to see that the rain and the sudden changes in venue didn’t seem to have deterred anyone.
A distinct lack of equipment on stage (and of people setting up said equipment) was quickly explained away: the show was being held behind the Showboat, not atop it. We crowded into a concrete dressing room, with lights surrounding mirrors on the walls, bare tubes on the ceiling, and an amp and a worklight on the floor.
The B-Lines cancelled and were replaced by an exuberant three-piece calling themselves Markus Naslund. [ed. Hockey fans: Naslund? Exuberant? Ha, ha!] Proudly pointing out that they’d never played in a real venue, the three-piece filled the narrow room with energetic poppy punk. After a set which got the fairly well-packed crowd moving, a quick drummer change and mic readjustment revealed the Golden Touch, whose singer/drummer requested everyone move five feet forward, deeply into the space occupied by the musicians. Golden Touch launched into a set marked by crowd favourites, a couple of new songs, and a fair amount of pleasant banter. Although it was difficult to differentiate the two at times, both Markus Naslund and Golden Touch delivered pop hooks paired with a punk sensibility and had the steadily increasing crowd dancing harder with every song.
After a short intermission for setup and also to let the audience breathe some air that hadn’t already passed through someone else in their immediate vicinity, the dressing room was filled tightly for the Search Parties set, and they did not disappoint. Presenting all new material with a significantly larger feel, Search Parties somehow hit an unexplored point between stadium and post-rock, and lead singer Harlan Shore (who also organizes Dancing in Our Debt) reinforced the d.i.y. punk nature of the night with raw vocals and a previously unheard ability to scream.
As I squeezed out of the venue, I took a look back into the room and saw a united mass of dancing bodies, motion working its way backwards through the room, fueled by joy and transmitted by body contact. I escaped into a clear night surprised at how much I had enjoyed both the spectacle and the music of the evening; I doubt I was alone on that front.