It seems as though every show that I want to see is on a weeknight. Considering most of my friends' busy school- or work-weeks, and the fact that few (if any) listen to any of the same bands as I do, it becomes rather difficult to find a comrade to enjoy a punk show with. But occasionally, the stars align and a show turns out perfectly: a Friday show with A Wilhelm Scream headlining, and a strong supporting cast to boot.
First up were Winnipeg's The Paperbacks, a band I'd heard a few positive words about, but had never listened to. However, their live show instantly made me a fan, as their energy and all-around good vibrations were exceptional. The band's sound falls halfway between early Get Up Kids and the Weakerthans, the latter making sense considering their hometown (and in fact, John K. Samson produced their latest release). It was a shame that the people handling doors at the show were so slow to get people in, because the venue was mostly empty as The Paperbacks were playing, despite there being many people waiting in line outside.
Next up were locals Carpenter, who brought their John Cougar influenced farm-core to the stage. Though they were sorely lacking in fresh organic produce at their merch stand, the band's performance was top-notch, reminding me at times of the live show of a little Canadian band called Moneen. Yeah, their energy was huge. The band mostly played tracks from their recent Smallman Records effort, Law of the Land, but threw in a few tracks from their debut EP as well. Although I already enjoy the full-length, the live show added new perspective to the tracks. Though I usually find the gang vocals of "Six Shots" a bit much on the disc, shouting them out with the rest of the crowd made me see the track in a new light.
You Can't Keep a Good Man Down
Until the Sun's Up
A Different Life
You Might Be Right
The third act of the night were local pop-punk/hardcore up-and-comers, Living with Lions. The band is supporting their recently released full-length, Make Your Mark. They played a number of tracks from that, but also played almost every song from their debut EP, Dude Manor. The band was very lively, and had really stepped it up since my last encounter with them. They'd clearly developed quite the local fan base, with a lot of the crowd dancing or shouting along with them. The band's stage presence was great, and they even broke out some foam B.C. Lions' souvenir hats to show their Rain City pride.
By the time A Wilhelm Scream hit the stage, the venue had presumably reached capacity and had the temperature to show it: the place was sweltering. And from the first chords of "Get Mad, You Son of A Bitch," the crowd refused to let the heat dampen the mood. The band matched the crowd's intensity throughout the set, and appeared genuinely shocked and thankful for just how crazy the audience was going for the set. The band rarely broke for more than a quick breath before firing into another track, keeping the energy high throughout the set. About halfway through the set, however, the band showed their lighter side as they broke into an extremely recognizable tune. I was trying to place my finger on where I'd heard the melody before, at which point vocalist Nuno Pereira said "This is that new shit! No, no, wait… this is that… Nintendo Wii shit!" That's when it dawned on me: the Wii Bowling theme. Yes. A breathtaking rendition, I must say.
The band then continued to play a great set, mixed of tracks from their entire catalogue, although clearly showing preference to their most recent effort, Career Suicide. Though they looked completely drained by the end of their performance, the crowd chanted for "just one more," and the band was more than happy to comply, throwing out a great rendition of "We Built This City! (On Debts and Booze)" to close out the night.
Get Mad, You Son of A Bitch
The Kids Can Eat a Bag of Dicks
Jaws 3, People 0
The Soft Sell
Famous Friends and Fashion Drunks
I Wipe My Ass With Showbiz
5 to 9
These Dead Streets
Me vs. Morrissey In The Pretentiousness Contest (The Ladder Match)
Die While We're Young
The King Is Dead
Encore: We Built This City! (On Debts and Booze)
Four great bands, each performing great sets. One could hardly ask for more.