A dark, kind of smoky venue — which can only be discreetly referred to as Pseudonym — hosted some of Vancouver’s finest garage bands on August 14 in a send-off for post-punk outfit Other Jesus’ first-ever tour. Titled “Best Stoned/Most Dressed,” the tour name made for an appropriate wordplay because the show brought out some well-dressed and others almost certainly stoned. The crowd began small but grew gradually as the night went on, gathering tightly around the bands as they played — it felt intimate, like a secret party for the cool kids.
Post-hardcore trio Quitting got things started with a short, three-song set that was akin to a 15-minute climax of experimental haze. Led by transitions of intentional feedback and vocal chanting soaked in reverb cut by electric guitar generated an effect that was simultaneously diabolical and sublime. Projected visuals of psychedelic, white noise danced across the musicians’ faces and onto the screen behind them.
Next up was Mormon Crosses: longhaired, alternate-tuned punks that had the audience gobsmacked and drooling in delight. Power tracks like “Fall” and “Pressing Faces” reawakened the spirit of grunge with dynamic levels of sludgy fuzz, high-voltage riffs, and angst-filled screams. Drummer Bryxe K.P.A. hugely impressed, pounding his skins to a pulp with precise fury that was reminiscent of, daresay, a young Dave Grohl.
“Thanks to all the other bands for sending us off,” Other Jesus bassist Auntie Christ said graciously as the three-piece, and main event, began to strap themselves into their gear. An empowering combination of two badass chicks and a dude, the group delivered an excellent set that had its feet firmly rooted in punk rock. They wasted no time, diving right into “Horses,” a cheeky, sexually-charged number off of their debut, Bachelors of Art. A handful of cuts from the record peppered the performance, but the focus was mostly on new material like “Current Boyfriend” and “Are We Not Devo? We Are The Fall,” offering delightful, estrogen-driven harmonies, and satisfying buzzsaw drones that nearly exploded the speakers.
Auntie Christ was a relaxed master on her bass, which was, though oversized against her small frame, putty in her hands. Her vocals were ear candy, ringing out through the fuzz in unison alongside the voice of drummer Jose and Maria, who hit her sticks with vehement conviction. Missing a mic was guitarist Sheik Hardy, but he didn’t really need one — his ferocious guitar shreds and rainbow leggings screamed just as loud as his bandmates.
Although the crowd began to disperse after Other Jesus wrapped up, Tough Age closed the show on a feel-good note, with their off-kilter fusion of energetic, bubblegum punk. Infectious ditties like “Sea Horse” and “We’re Both to Blame” had sugar levels up with jangly, feverish guitar riffs, hearty basslines, and dreamy vocals. While some may have gone home early, Tough Age sent the rest of us to bed with sweet dreams.