Review by Darren Kerr
Photography by Rodney Gitzel
Zero Penance was the opener. Very young, sporting matching Z.P. T-shirts, they were visibly and audibly inexperienced. Sounding somewhat like ancient Youth Brigade, they were all right as long as they stayed away from slower tempo changes and harmony intros. The bottom line is that Zero Penance are Fraser Valley punks in the larvae stage. They should think more about practising than getting T-shirts made.
Next up were Reggie, a definite step up in terms of tightness. The singer had a way of emoting that difficult to describe. Suffice to say that he opens his mouth real wide and lets fly with this ba, ba, ba, sound (try it at home everybody -- ba, ba, ba -- good, now opening your mouth as wide as possible, try to tear your face apart). While the bass player was bending and grimacing like a cro-mag, the singer finally antagonized the crowd enough for some of them to slam to a cover of... "Brown Eyed Girl." Alright! Van "The Slam" Morrison gets the kids rocking. Reggie closed their set with NOFX's "Bob," but they didn't have a horn, so the singer played the solo with his nose. This song packed the pit. Overall, a solid set by Reggie despite serious monitor problems.
Upping the ante, all the way from Edmonton, were the Lams. You're not gonna want to bring these Lams to a slaughter unless you want them to eat your wolves and drink all your beer. They play classic California style hard core with a dash of British Oi, à la Angry Samoans, or Nip Drivers. Clearly confident and dividing his time between laughing his head off and grimacing, bass player Vince looked like a cross between the missing link and an undead Foster Brooks, all lurch and stagger. Tavis, the lead singer, was an excellent frontman, and halfway through their set, he chastised the crowd: "You people aren't doing anything, stand up and do something, you're creepin' me out." Slowly, everyone began to rise like a horde of apathetic living dead. The Lams then burst forth with "Man Of The Land" by Stompin' Tom Connors, which fucking flat out rocked. One wee girl was even moved to tell her friend, "These guys kick ass." Support the Lams. They really rip and they're nice guys to boot.
I hadn't seen Ten Days Late recently, and they've only gotten tighter. Constant performing has honed this five-female band into a very cohesive rock outfit reminiscent of Seven Year Bitch. Right from the beginning there was electricity in the room -- they were getting shocks from their equipment. After this problem was rectified, they got down to business, thrashing out great versions of "Helicopter Head" and "Bender," among others. The songs are more diverse than your average punk rock, with more dynamic and chordal interplay. Ten Days Late have grown into a band that can more than hold its own against any band playing aggressive music today.
On the whole this was an enjoyable night of sturm und drang. Kudos to the soundman for making a small room sound massive without overpowering anything in the process. Maybe more people will show up next time.
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