Review and photography by Rodney Gitzel
Hagfish had the cool look and they had the cool punky tunes. They had the manic guitarist and the drummer who's finally learning to catch all those sticks he throws in the air. But they were suffering from the too-large venue, a boomy sound mix and so-so crowd response. True, the (ahem) work song "Stamp" got a rise out of the crowd ("What? You want us to play it again?"), but the band was still missing something. What they really needed was some nudity (they never record without it). So one of the Triplefastaction boys obliged, running buck naked across the stage a couple of times. That seemed to do it! The energy level went up a notch, and Hagfish tore through the rest of their set. Overall, an enjoyable set, but it really did seem to be the wrong venue for them; Hagfish would be amazing to take in at a more claustrophobic club, like maybe the Pump.
"Look at all you fuckers out there! This sure ain't the Starfish Room, Toto!" And with that, Everclear launched into their set. Now, I was at the Starfish Room a year ago. BIG big hype about that Everclear show, back then when they hadn't yet been on CFOX. Big big hype, big big disappointment. "Cow-punk wannabees," I thought. So, a year later, I wasn't expecting much out of this show.
Quelle surprise! Had the band changed? Was it the different venue? I dunno, but Everclear put on a damned fine performance, and kept the Commodore floor springing all night. Two things stand out: the music was tougher and punchier than I had remembered it, and all three members of Everclear were having fun up on stage. They seemed to revel in the spaciousness of the Commodore, and had a positive feedback loop going with the crowd. They were working hard, really putting themselves into it, and it paid big dividends.
The set included all their hits: "Summerland" was a crowd favourite, with 1200 people spitting out "FADE! FADE! FADE!" in vicious unison; "Heroin Girl" provoked a bouncing frenzy (it looked pretty cool from the balcony); and the crowd sang most of "Santa Monica." A second encore found Art Alexakis -- surely one of the most unique-looking creatures in music today -- introducing "Sparkle" as "one of our favourite songs we do." Out came the disco ball. And -- look! -- there goes the mad streaker again! HA! What more could you want from a show?
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