Sleeve vocalist

Hey! He Didn't Take His Shirt Off!

with DeadHeadMiles and Sir Hedgehog
The Starfish Room
Vancouver, B.C.
Thursday, February 13, 1997

Review by Paul Watkin
Photography by Rodney Gitzel

Sir Hedgehog I stepped into the Starfish Room and yelled out my name, only to hear a booming echo from the walls. Yep, you knew there was local talent tonight, 'cause nobody was there. OK, that's not fair -- that's not always the case. Tonight, however, Sir Hedgehog opened to the empty floor that so glaringly stared back at them. But, they did entertain the few of us in attendance and I'm sure the floor would agree that these guys could rock.

It was 70's-influenced rock, with Sir Hedgehog seemingly weaned on Sweet, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Consistently laying down heavy guitar riffs and singing attitude-laden songs full of testosterone, they displayed their badness and it was outfit-be-damned for the drummer with the big bad rock hair, as he shed his shirt like any self-respecting rock drummer would.

DeadHeadMiles guitarist Sir Hedgehog was loud and energetic; I could picture these guys as a cover band in a biker bar and you know what? It would be packed. But as an original Vancouver band, they played to the walls and the empty floor. I guess everybody was at home watching E.R., gossiping on their cute little cel phones during the commercials. But hey, that's okay, because we know where you are, we can track you.

There was nothing overly unique or new in Sir Hedgehog's music; they just got on stage and rocked. Nothing less, nothing more.

Actually there would be more. DeadHeadMiles was next to claim the stage. No, DeadHeadMiles is not a frequent flyer card for hippies: "Dude, I travelled 5000 miles seeing the Dead, and now with my DeadHeadMiles card I can get three free hits of acid!"

Nope, DeadHeadMiles is a rock band, and I know this because the drummer shed that shirt. A pretty good rock band too. The singer, donning a nice "Death" shirt was surrounded by the rest of his band-members sporting "Airwalk" shirts. (Hmmm... ooo wee ooo, I look just like Michael Jordan.) Where Sir Hedgehog was weaned on the 70's, DeadHeadMiles was weaned on the 90's, with Pearl Jam, I Mother Earth and the Watchmen creeping into their style.

DeadHeadMiles vocalist Performing what they described to be a nice little folk number, "See You in Hell," the band built up the guitar tension, then let it go, built it up and let it go again before settling into a climactic heavy guitar vibe (à la Grunge 101). The structure of that song seemed to be the structure of the set. They'd built up the tension with intense songs and then they'd miss an ending or something and the grand effect would be lost. Even what should have been the finale, a song growing into a flurry of noise and passionate rhythmic percussion -- and then suddenly stopping -- would have been a dramatic way to end the set, but the band played on, giving me an 'after the fact' feeling.

DeadHeadMiles weren't as tight as they could have been, but they had a strong vibe and put forth an entertaining performance, nonetheless.

I knew the tide was changing, however, when the drummer for the final band of the night, Sleeve, kept his shirt on. He could certainly pound on those drums, though, and he did so the whole night. Maybe that's what often led Sleeve's singer to turn around and sing facing the drummer. I felt like tapping him on the shoulder: "Excuse me, sir, I think the drummer knows the words [no Sleeve drummer jokes, okay?]. Could you please turn back to us and sing the songs?" (He also had that "I've got to go to the bathroom look" as he plodded about the stage, uttering words into the mic.)

Sleeve played a heavy set and did acknowledge Kyuss during the show, but Kyuss have energy and spark, two things which were badly missing from Sleeve's set. Oddly, they seemed to be moved by their songs. I just don't think they managed to move the rest of us.

Though it ended on a dull note, the night was pretty good, better than any episode of E.R., anyway. What do you think VCRs are for, Vancouver?

First published in Drop-D Magazine on February 21, 1997

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