Saturday, September 27 was the perfect night to ride my bike to Red Gate to go see this wondrous lineup. I had gotten fired from my job that day and was in dire need of a distraction.
I arrived to catch the tail end of the first band, Shawn Mrazek Lives!, and what a treat! He had his son and his son’s pal up there with him, which was both adorable and highly entertaining. They bopped around without hesitation in only the way small children can, despite the fact it was probably way past their bedtime.
Following were Invasives, who delighted the crowd with their eclectic set of relatable songs. They were fresh from being on tour with War Baby, and they sure seemed to have leftover keenness in their delivery. They were athletic with their acrobatic high kicks, and the drummer had a moment that seemed to come straight from a sports beverage commercial, pouring the entire contents of his water bottle onto his head.
They sang a very strange (but enjoyable) song about being caught with their pants down, entitled “It’s a Long Way Down,” which, with its riotous, fast drumming and slick guitar playing, was nothing like the Sarah McLaughlin version. “Stop & Breathe” seemed contradictory to their wild antics and at times I wondered if the lead singer’s head was attached to his neck the way he thrashed around.
At the announcement of “two songs left,” there was a man who appeared to be under the impression he was at Shambhala and not Red Gate. He slithered around so hilariously, his single earring dangling ferociously like a late Ringo Starr on acid. He literally “cut the rug” when he tripped on it from dancing so hard and tore a piece off the edge. The same guy tried to put the focus ring from my camera, which had fallen off without me noticing, on his wrist like a bracelet. It was a sad moment to ask for it back; I think he was quite fond of his new accessory.
Third to hit the stage was B-Lines, who slayed as always with their fast-paced punk gems. Frontman Ryan Dyck flailed wildly amongst boys who were piggy-backing one another — which was very sweet — while the backing band shredded skillfully. The B-Lines’ raw energy is always sure to dazzle even the sharpest of squares.
During their performance, it was clear people fed off of their unpredictable stage antics in a very real way. Ryan tore his pants off piece by piece throughout their set, not unlike a young Patrick Swayze in the Chippendales skit from Saturday Night Live.
The night drew to a close with Dead Soft, as it was their tour kick-off. I could hear the anticipation in their playing; their enthusiasm for their upcoming tour was very clear and genuine. The contrast of their outrageous screams and melodic singing was such a lovely thing. Watching Keeley’s sassy ponytail and converse-clad feet dash around on stage was incredibly endearing. I saw guys who were thrashing violently during the B-Lines set get a swoony look in their eyes.
By the end, the crowd was chanting “Dead Soft, Dead Soft, Dead Soft,” which was positively deserved. They all seemed to have rose-tinted glasses on — their love of playing evident in their live performance. One guy shouted, “You’re a Neil Young-in!” And I couldn’t have agreed more. This show truly was a treat — it reminded me that even though I got fired from my job, everything was going to be just dandy.