On February 3, CITR 101.9FM and Discorder celebrated the end of the long and hard battle at Pat’s Pub. It was Shindig 33, and it was the finals. The theme of the night was BOLD and both the performers and the audience exceeded all expectation. It goes without saying that everyone was excited to see which of the three finalists — Carousel Scene, Little Sprout, or Mark Mills — would take home the Shindig crown and end the madness.
Having attended almost every night of Shindig this year, it was a cruel turn of events that I was running late that night. I ran into Pat’s and was greeted by Sally at the door who immediately recognized me and said something sweet about it being the end of an era. It was decently crowded and I dropped my things at the usual table at the back with this year’s ever affable host, Andy Resto. Making the whole thing happen this year, Andy was the best host a battle of the bands could ask for: a little nervous, a little awkward, and very sassy.
Carousel Scene was playing as I settled in and everyone was crowded around the small stage. The lead singer, Ashley Weis, serenaded everyone over the perfectly synchronized band. She danced around the stage, totally intoxicating the audience with her honeyed voice. I figuratively melted when the band performed their most recent, and sexiest, single “Red Lipstick.”
After a far too brief interlude set courtesy of DJ autonomy, Little Sprout took the stage. Of all the bands, Little Sprout took the night’s theme most seriously. The orchestrater and lead singer Amie Gislason swayed on stage in a black and white checkered dress and tiara, next to an electric-blue toga-ed bassist, and in front of a butterfly mini-dressed drummer. Their outfits seemed to embolden their set and they brought it like they’d never brought it before. Mixing their soft pop and garage rock sounds seamlessly, they managed to play with an intensity that may have been lacking in their earlier sets.
After Little Sprout rocked Shindig’s world, Andy got up on stage and hosted my favourite part of the night: Jokes & Fun Facts for Beers. It was definitely the most competitive night all year, with several people, including myself, not making the cut. Most nights have been very Fun Fact heavy but the crowd let loose with some quality comedy. Highlight: “Why can’t you tell if you’re in the bathroom with a pterodactyl? Because the P is silent!” While the competition was fierce, the real heat came from Andy who let his sass flag fly, a fitting premonition for the rest of the night.
The final act, Mark Mills, switched it up from his usual act by adding a guitar to his performance. He ditched it after the first couple songs and went back to his classic method of shimmying around the stage to beats playing from his iPod and, as per usual, I loved every second of it.
When the time came to announce the winner, Andy was brutally evasive. He purposefully rambled, touching on several topics: why he would announce the winners in the order he did, the boldness of the audience, a quote from the letter he wrote in the event’s program, where the trophy had sat in his apartment, and anything other than the results. In the end, Little Sprout won the gold, with Carousel Scene coming in second, and Mark Mills taking home the third place hammer.
I stayed at Pat’s long after the winners had been announced and the music had stopped playing. While it was definitely motivated by entertainment and his desire to rile up the crowd, I think Andy’s stalling was also an attempt to make the night move a little more slowly. We had been going to Pat’s every Tuesday night since October, and while we were both excited for Shindig to end, we wanted to hold on, if only because now we can’t go to Pat’s to hang out and hear Vancouver’s boldest music.