Copyright guitarist

Come On and Rock with Me...

Age of Electric
with Brundlefly, Copyright and Jack Tripper
Music West '97
Vancouver, B.C.
Friday, May 9, 1997

Review by Darren Gawle
Photography by Dan Zubkoff

Music West: corporate cash cow or chance to go out and see a few bands for $25? Well, let's for a moment put our cynicism in our back pocket and just have a night out, shall we? At least the festival's a chance to see bands that you normally wouldn't pay to see at any other time of the year, and for (much) less than the (my) cost of the Chemical Brothers show.

another Copyright guitarist Work keeps me from seeing the opening half of Jack Tripper's set. Not to worry, I've seen them on a couple of occasions already and they improve noticably each time. This is a local band to watch out for. Jack Tripper veer all over the pop landscape from Flying Saucer Attack feedback to minimalist country/folk harmonizing to Mach 3 power pop -- occasionally in the space of the same song. This is perhaps their flaw, that they're trying to cover too many bases at once; but, whatever style they choose to work with is done very well. This tactic will probably win them more diverse audiences in the long run.

Brundlefly The roaring start to the show, however, is immediately fumbled by Copyright. Expecting great things from this band due to the sort of local word-of-mouth hype that most bands would give their strumming hands for, I'm aghast at the limp Del Amitri-style light pop that Copyright delivers. And this from the band that rose from the ashes of Slow, who gave us some of Vancouver's most legendary musical moments. True, one should expect a band to want to mature and try out new directions, but no one has the right to sound this old. Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

Brundlefly, then, are faced with the daunting task of re-heating an audience that's cooled down over the past hour; and, although they fall short in a few areas, the ragged energy of their set recaptures the crowd's attention. That it's within Brundlefly's power to craft memorable songs is evidenced by the stabbing central riff and semi-falsetto harmonies of "Be Mine," and the several other instances that make you perk up your ears in the middle of a song and go "hey, now that sounds cool." Brundlefly need, however, to be more consistent in the hook department in order to move ahead of the pack of guitar-pop bands and be noticed.

Age of Electric bassist Being noticed is something Age of Electric evidently have no problem with. Supplying the hard-rock element to the show, Age of Electric are tonight's mindless escapism and the sort of guilty pleasure we all need to indulge in every once in a while: they are a rock band for seemingly no other reason than to go out and have a good time. That live music is as much entertainment as it is Age of Electric's Todd Kerns art is lost on too many bands these days -- and also lost on the guy in the Big Rude Jake t-shirt who keeps flipping the bird to the band throughout most of their show.

Age of Electric also appears to have realized, thankfully, that these days you don't have to look like you're from L.A. to sound like you're from L.A. Gone are the big hairdos and promo shots full of "attitude." Some modicum of cheese seeps through, however, with vocalist Todd Kerns' "Hi! How ya doin'? Y'all ready to have a good time?" remarks between songs and an ill-advised foray into "Sweet Home Alabama."

Still, the audience eats this all up and asks for a second helping (except for our middle-finger toting guru of cool, who has only just now figured out that maybe he should just cut his losses and leave). By the time Age of Electric get their hands around "Remote Control," they've made us admit that we still want bands that can get our rocks off without any of the attendant bullshit (though it remains to be seen who will admit that to their friends afterwards). Age of Electric have gone from being the band you love to hate to the band you hate to love.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on May 26, 1997

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