Tuesday, October 8
It seems that every year’s SHiNDiG! has one night during its preliminaries where the, shall we say, heavier bands of the competition are showcased. Well, this round was that night. Ears were left a-ringin’ after sitting through this one, no doubt about it.
The first band up were Vancouver stalwarts Moto-rama, who seem to have gigged around town in the past more than the majority of peers featured in this year’s competition. Maybe it’s just me and the places that I frequent, but this is the only band this year who I was even remotely familiar with. They were noisy, abrasive and rocked! The drummer flailed away like a man possessed and provided much of the visual focus for the band. The only thing that I could complain about in their set was the lack of any really memorable riffage. This apparent deficit could, however, say more about the fact that I am getting old and require more melody. That aside, they were decent.
The next band, Black Rice, were heavy as well, but in a way which juxtaposed different styles and musical eras in one cool hard-rockin’ package. Consisting of two rather hairy mustachioed fellows on 6-strings and vocals, a Jack Bruce-circa-1969 looking bass-ist, and a heavy-hitting lady drummer, they had many memorable elements to their set. The two guitarist/vocalists (who looked like brothers, incidentally) sang late ‘70s UK punk sing-along choruses while banging away on their Telecasters. The bass player played John Entwistle-like lead bass runs, but with a heavy, distorted bass sound. The overall effect sounded like a mixture of musical eras: a bit of Stooges/MC5, a bit of English punk, a bit of newer stuff like Royal Trux. They were hard to describe but don’t worry, readers—seeing as they won this round, you’ll be able to see them again in the semi-finals.
The last band of the night was a heavy, sludgy Fu Manchu-esque power-trio from the woods outside Nanaimo called Bullbucker. Stripped down to their shirts, they sure stood out visually—especially their beast of a drummer. A great big guy with a mat of hair on his chest, a bald pate with long shaggy black hair down the back and sides and a prodigious belly, he pounded the drum kit into total submission. The wah-wah’d bass and guitar, both fuzzed out to match, provided a set of cool heavy stoner rock.
The only unfortunate part of the evening was that whoever was doing sound made himself scarce for much of the night. As a result, the mix was shoddy at times, handicapping some of the bands to a fair extent. Other than that, it was a great night. All three bands were good fun and my ears kept ringing their approval for the entire walk home.