Review by Paul Watkin
Photography by Paul Clarke
Most of the ticket holders tonight showed up only to see the night's headliners and offered no support for the two local bands that opened the show. As Minority took the stage in front of a small crowd inside the Pump, I couldn't help but feel that those people outside should be let in. For those of you with tickets who missed the opening acts, you're a bunch of lazy *!@##!@ goofs! If you're one of those louts and you're reading this review, you may want to stop here, because you don't deserve to hear how good the first two bands were. Don't torture yourself. Go back to your couch and to Seinfeld.
Minority kicked hard and delivered its messages with sheer sonic power and lyrical conviction. They shook the brains of the small crowd in attendance with their punishing hardcore metal, punk and rap fusion. Dedicating a song to the fans standing out in the Vancouver night, they played loud enough for all of Gastown to hear their performance, which included their single (complete with video), "Please Don't Make Me Nuts." They thanked those responsible for the opportunity to get paid for a jam session, because they had screwed up a couple of times, but they seemed pretty damn good to me. With chunky, heavy power guitars and tandem vocals to match, they were impressive and, though the crowd didn't seem to get into them, this is one band that rules supreme.
As the Wheat Chiefs took to the stage, I was looking forward to finally seeing this alternapop rock group flaunt their wares. Unfortunately, they began with what was to be a nondescript first half set, plagued with distractions and techs continuously running on and off the stage fixing various technical problems. You could smell the duct tape in the air. Nothing, however could distract the woman sitting on the edge of the stage from nodding off repeatedly. Hey! This is a rock show, not an accounting class.
Wake up! Giving her a nudge, frontman Marc Belke seemed to find the spark he needed to crank it up a notch for the second half of the set, which included such rock tunes as "Neighbours" and "Hard 2 Love" from their CD, Redeemer. The Wheat Chiefs built up the momentum and finished strong and their guitar pop wizardry made me a fan. Again though, the crowd, though rapidly growing by the end of the set, didn't seem to be into it. Maybe there's a gas leak or something in the air. Ya, there's something in the air, alright... bosstones.
Not just bosstones, mighty bosstones... no, not just mighty bosstones, mighty mighty bosstones and not just any mighty mighty bosstones... The Mighty Mighty Bosstones -- and tonight they were all that and more. They took the stage as a band and made a grand entrance with the unveiling of their bulldog backdrop. Their music was definitely at the forefront, though, and with the band racing through one song after another, the ska styles filled the floor with dancing and the punk undertones filled the air with surfers and divers.
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are ska-punk kings, carrying an entertainment ethic which makes them a runaway fireball of energy. It was an incredible show. Singer Dickey Barrettt seemingly reveled in the fact that the Town Pump crowd was inches from his face, but as the stage divers staked their territory, he seemed a little worried. Then he seemed to soak in the nervous energy, launching into his vocals with everything in his body. We had some good old time skanking on stage and in the crowd tonight. At one point while a security dude was hauling a diver off of the stage, Dickey stopped, rescued the lad and then gave the security guy a hug. Back to it!
Tonight, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones played a mix of new and old material, all of it awesome. One of the sharpest-dressed bands in their suits, they are one of the most entertaining as well, and they had the Town Pump dancing the night away. The Wheat Chiefs and Minority both put forth great shows and deserved more than a lame ass crowd, but that happens.
Nah, screw that. Listen Vancouver, the next time you go to a show, you go for the whole show, or those people standing in line outside are going to organize and roll you for your tickets! No rock 'n roll jury in the land would convict them, either. Remember that.
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