While billed on Facebook as a night to “sweat off your Valentine’s Day depression,” the show at Interurban Gallery also featured the Theft, Spillage and Rock ’n’ Roll art opening, presenting photography and band posters by Jeffry Lee and Ryan Walter Wagner. The special case of the night, however, was that Hard Feelings were set to play their first Vancouver show since their former drummer Devon Clifford, also of You Say Party!, passed away last April. Getting back on track, Hard Feelings made a very loud comeback.
Perhaps because an art show opened the evening, there was a more chatty, social atmosphere within the Interurban Gallery. I must admit, I expected a rowdy bunch of hyperactive teens moshing wide eyed as beer splattered all around, but in reality it was an older, more refined hipster crowd that merely headbopped—not banged—at the right moments.
First up were Men At Adventure. The four-piece unleashed their grunge rock sound in deafening fashion; One song in and this reviewer’s ears were numb. Between the shouted vocals and guitarist Jeffry Lee’s floppy afro, the band came off as extremely energetic. Maybe the audience was too cool to enjoy the opening act, but aside from a core group of thrashers, the majority of the crowd stayed near the back. It was probably because the music was just so cochlea-blowingly loud.
A set change and a small keyboard set up later, we were introduced to a troupe of bearded, vested gents: “We’re Pineapple – like the fruit!” Pineapple’s cheery, poppy set was a fun insert between the two louder bands. Feel-good songs like “Happy Birthday 2000x” incited more movement and more dancing in the crowd.
People started filling the floor as Hard Feelings got ready to play. Though heralded as a comeback show, there was no mention of the past or the passing of Clifford. After a few initial problems, the four-piece band, featuring new drummer Nick Yacyshyn, also of Baptists, was ready. “We’re stoked,” vocalist/guitarist Al Boyle grinned. “It’s been far too long.”
Guitars shredded, drums rumbled and vocals growled as the band kicked into new track “Smithsonian.” Hard Feelings’ fast paced, frenetic punk sound continued to explode into the crowd’s ears with tunes like “Burnt Offerings,” “Wait” and “Ah Snake”. The group smiled as they plied out rock riffs, while Boyle pulled some rock star moves as he played with his guitar resting on his head. They ended the night with the blistering number “E On The 3.”
All in all, it was a night of three solid sets from three local bands. Hard Feelings were back after moving forward after their tragic loss. Art was appreciated, music was heard, drinks were drunk and everyone left with ringing ears as a parting souvenir.