Rockin' in a 'Burban Paradise

The Lizards' vocalist The Lizards
with Media Sex God, BTK and Forget Your Face
Club Paradise
New Westminster, B.C.
June 14, 1996

Review by Daniel Ewacha
Photography by Rodney Gitzel

With the Hungry Eye, the Malcolm Lowry Room and now, apparently, the Commodore closing their doors to live original music, Vancouver has once again taken a step backwards in developing a healthy, vibrant music scene, leaving it up to the suburbs to pick up the slack. Club Paradise in New Westminster is one of the clubs which has chosen -- two nights a week, at least -- to take on the task of promoting live and original music. They have done so in grand fashion, judging by this four local band showcase. Forget Your Face, BTK, Media Sex God and the Lizards, with their diverse musical escapades, produced an entertaining evening for those brave enough to escape the confines of the city and head towards the unexplored territory known as New West.

BTK Forget Your Face opened the evening eloquently with their Soundgarden/Manic Street Preachers vibe and a female vocalist whose voice and stage presence were reminiscent of Janis Joplin and Sass Jordan. Originality and confidence were heavily in their favour as they won over the few people who were in the audience at the time.

BTK were the next group up, and my interest was really piqued when I saw electronic drums and keyboards being set up in this predominantly metal club. BTK -- actually the vocalist/guitarist's solo studio project beefed up with a keyboardist and drummer for the show -- provided the first real opportunity of the evening to mosh our blues away with their industrialized method of producing noise. Despite the familiar sound of the music (Nitzer Ebb and Nine Inch Nails come to mind) and the fact the vocals were distorted beyond the brink of comprehension, BTK showed promise and potential, and I was disappointed to see them play only a 35-minute set. This was the band's first live performance, and the hope and hint of something better made them interesting.

Media Sex God Taking the stage next were Media Sex God, the only band out of the four I had heard of previously. I missed the first ten minutes of their set due to my disbelief and astonishment as I watched the Czech Republic down Italy 2-1 in the European soccer championships on the TV in the back, but I could hear Media Sex God pounding their way into what eventually would be the best set of the night. Hard-hitting and explosive, with a twist of sensitivity, Media Sex God is one of the better bands around. The lead singer, with his charismatic and surprisingly cheery, yet sincere, between-song chatter, proved to be a bonus to an already complete unit dishing out catchy, memorably and intense tunes.

The Lizards The Lizards were the apparent headliners, and it was hard to figure out if these guys were for real or not. I eventually concluded that they were. They played very old school, L.A.-ish metal, and if hard rock/heavy metal became extinct, then the Lizards and bands like them are the reason behind it. It's not that I hated them; it's just that if you're the kind of person who feels that attitude and image are very important in the music business then this band will insult you to the core.

That said, the Lizards do deserve respect. Why? Because they have the guts to get on stage and play the music they want to play and act they way they want to act, regardless of what people -- especially critics -- might think of them.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on June 29, 1996

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