A Little Wow and Lots of Yawn

Wow's vocalist Girl Feast '97 -- Night Two
featuring JP5, Wow, the Go-Devils, Siobhan DuVall and Sloppy
The Brickyard
Vancouver, B.C.
Friday, November 28, 1997

Review by Darren Gawle
Photography by Rodney Gitzel

The most salient point about the second night of Girl Feast '97 is actually a kind of postscript that occurs after the show. Rodney and I are walking down Water St., 99-cent pizza in hand, when we stop outside club Sonar. There's a sizable group of young'uns outside, and we realize that this is the crowd that's not apparently interested in live music -- or, rather, run-of-the-mill three chord punk -- anymore. The Kids just aren't buying it, and if you need scapegoats for why Vancouver's live music scene is dying (and don't fool yourselves -- it is), then you need look no further than about half the bands from tonight's Girl Feast roster.

Sloppy Not that Sloppy necessarily fall into this category. In a scene populated by increasingly desperate heavy music acts, Sloppy trip the light pop-tastic through a setlist of well-crafted (if not particularly inspired) indie pop. They've got a viola player, they cover Built to Spill's "Big Dipper," they sound vaguely like an indie Kate Bush and ultimately they acquit themselves without sounding like a dollop of froth. Oh, and true to their name, they are sloppy, but at least in a endearing way. Sloppy fit nicely into the trademark Vancouver folk-pop category, but there is evidence of some actual brains behind the songwriting, and so they might actually be around for the long haul.

Siobhan DuVall Siobhan DuVall (ex-Bombshells, ex-Fon Fon) has been around, if not exactly for the longest of hauls (Fon, Fon, Fon, she's been Fon so long, she's been Fon, Fon, Fon for so long, etc... -- it's her joke, not mine). The funny thing is that I've heard the name and enough minor hype around it for over a year now, but nothing on whether or not her music's any cop. And therein lies the problem -- it's not. It seems DuVall can string a decent tune together without really trying, but it also seems too obvious that she's not really trying. And unlike Sloppy, she does end up sounding like a dollop of Go-Go's-inspired froth. Most of this is due to her voice, which lacks the punch to give her songs... well, punch. Maybe she needs to project more, maybe she needs another vocalist to harmonize with her, or maybe the soundman needs to run her through a Big Muff -- whatever the problem is, it's not helping her songs rise above the level of breathy Blondie Lite.

a couple of Go-Devils The Go-Devils are up next, and the second night of Girl Feast '97 finally kicks into overdrive. Despite the biggest, loudest sound of the evening, the Go-Devils manage to sound a little poignant. (You will stop laughing now.) Had they caught the punk wave back in '94, the Go-Devils might not sound like such an endangered species; they're just more of the same thing we've been hearing for the past three years. And so, like their apparent inspiration, Johnny Thunders, the Go-Devils are red-lining their Mustang on the highway to a date with destiny, gobbing all the way. Thanks for the free candy, though.

Following the Go-Devils is the band which will salvage some degree of originality this evening: Wow. No, I mean it -- wow! The stage is transformed within fifteen minutes to the set of Salome's Last Dance and Wow treats us to a set of wiccan harem-rock. Wow's vocalist and thereminist Incense burns, basslines throb, theramins swoop and squeal, and Wow's singer fakes some pretty convincing orgasms. Naturally, the toilets in the men's washroom explode (seriously!). Wow are not quite as fun as tantric sex in a bathtub full of myrrh, but they'll do in the meantime... OK, I really don't know what I'm talking about. Blammo might wish to consider Wow as an opening act the next time they play live, though.

Should the show end now, then the show would end on a positive note. But no, someone had to go and invite JP5. The only winners in this case are (1) the folks at the Everywoman's Health Centre, the charity Girl Feast is benefiting, due to the amount of people here who've paid to see JP5, and (2) every reviewer who's ever wished to be the kid that points out the emperor isn't wearing any clothes.

JP5 Just who's responsible for this garbage, anyway? JP5 play crap cock-rock which masquerades as punk by virtue of singer Gerry-Jenn, who looks and acts like a trashed Joan Jett. JP5 start off by ripping the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale" into a million pieces and the set then slides into a rut of uninspired Streetheart/Toronto/Darby Mills ripoffs. Aside from the water pistol-toting guy in front of the stage, the crowd does not rise to the occasion. JP5 may be the worst band in Vancouver, and it appears I'm not the only one who thinks so.

In the end, then, should it really be so surprising that the Kids are abandoning live music for the electronic scene? The irony here is that women are supposed to have the creativity and the brains in society, but too much of what I've seen tonight are a bunch of stupid clichés that are usually associated with stupid men.

See also the reviews for Thursday and Saturday.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on December 15, 1997

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