The Flatliners / Broadway Calls

The Flatliners / Broadway Calls: live in Vancouverlive in Vancouver (2010)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: westcoastweaselwestcoastweasel
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Although I'd been running on 2.5 hours of sleep (due in part to a 2:30 a.m. phone call to Frank Turner), I made it to The Media Club with a smile. Once there, I interviewed Chris and Scott from the evening's headlining act, the Flatliners. I went and grabbed some grub, thinking I'd be back just as P.

Although I'd been running on 2.5 hours of sleep (due in part to a 2:30 a.m. phone call to Frank Turner), I made it to The Media Club with a smile. Once there, I interviewed Chris and Scott from the evening's headlining act, the Flatliners. I went and grabbed some grub, thinking I'd be back just as Party at the Moontower hit the stage. Not even close. Apparently Cobra Skulls (second band on the bill and a personal fave) had border troubles, much like they did the last time they came around. Luckily, the vibe was cool and all was well during our wait for things to get rollin'.

Starting a little later may have worked in Party at the Moontower's favor. By this time the place was filling up more and more by the minute. Their blend of melodic and aggressive style got things moving very quickly. Although the over-usage of background-meets-lead vocal melodies weren't my cup of tea, these boys played the fuck out of their instruments. It is too bad each guitar wasn't more defined in the overall mix but it was clearly not their fault. I've seen a handful of ball-lacking, disappointing local bands lately but not here. It was very refreshing to see such a high-energy, cohesive clan.

The gents from Cobra Skulls may have thought they were in the clear but when it rains, it pours. This time, delays did unfortunately kill a bit of momentum. After much cable replacing, amp cabinet swapping and finally a bass guitar switch, the Skulls were ready. Kickstarting their set with "Back to the Youth" introduced any that were unfamiliar with (arguably) the strongest selection from 2009's American Rubicon. The sound was thankfully spot-on, which only complemented their solid delivery of political sing-alongs. The set was heavy on Rubicon tracks that included "Honorary D.U.I.", "Overpopulated" and "Rebel Fate," but early classics such as "Never Be a Machine" were thrown in for good measure. Near the end of the set I was thinking that it lacked some Sitting Army quality. But, then they whipped out ""!Hasta Los Cobra Skulls Siempre!"--and to my pleasant surprise--"Cobracoustic," which had me sittin' pretty. The evening's difficulties can be easily forgotten and leave one relatively unscathed when you're one of the strongest, relevant punk rock bands today. No harm, no foul and always a pleasure.

I was open to checking out Broadway Calls in spite of their brand of emotional-tinged rock. A song or two in I thought they'd exceeded my expectations, but when nearly every song that followed sounded like the same thing over and over I wasn't shocked (though a little disappointed). I'm sure there's a reason to justify why many a girl and a handful of boys yearned for every predictable hook, clap and heart-wrenching gasp; it just didn't speak to me...at all. Had it, I'm sure I'd have more to say. The heavy booming in the mix didn't help. I initially thought varying styles tonight might have been a strong point, and as far as a lineup for the cross-country tour--it might be. But you just can't please everyone.

This was my first time to witness the self-proclaimed "four horsemen of the apocalypse" perform, but was confident I was in for a treat. "Meanwhile, In Hell" rang out first, followed by "The Calming Collection." The latter--a tune about those who take their own life when they've broken the bank--acts as the lead track on Cavalcade (which drops this week). Expectedly, it was received well by the sold-out crowd. They put on their skanking shoes as the set recalled some early ska-punk favorites.

The band played out their hearts and the crowd out-moshed theirs. Together they formed a unity of over a hundred voices heard shouting "tired of waiting" during "Mother Teresa Chokeslams the World" from 2007's The Great Awake. During fan favorite "July! August! Reno!", also from said album, Scott told a fake-blood face-painted patron to "grow up" after mistaking his shtick for a genuine injury.

Chris explained that he and Devin from Cobra Skulls tied each other for who could fit the most Doritos in their mouth. This--combined with the Flatliners' adoration of the band--warranted a nod of approval in the form of a song dedication (not to mention Chris' Cobra Skull beer koozie).

Shortly after a couple gals took it upon themselves to strut their stuff on stage during "Mastering the World's Smallest Violin," it was clear that Chris was missing something vital from the stage. He called on a search for his white tuning pedal, which was thankfully found, avoiding any major disruption. He then forged on with head-turning lyrical speed on the power-ska flavored "Spill Your Guts"--a classic from their 2002 demo, prior to their full-length debut.

A career-spanning trifecta played out as they closed the well-rounded evening with their new single "Carry the Banner," followed by "Fred's Got Slacks," and finally "Eulogy." These young Canucks bang out an eclectic mix of punk, pop and ska, but one thing's for sure: They continue to rock harder and harder. When it comes to pop-punk these days, it's refreshing to be able to write that with confidence as it's certainly not often the case.

Review w/ pro-shot photo album


People who liked this also liked:
Against Me! / Cancer Bats - live in VancouverThe Flatliners - Cavalcade

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Deadpan (April 18, 2010)

Just saying, using those kind of lazy, catch-all terms tend to undermine any genuine criticism you have to make, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a Broadway Calls fan. "Emotional-tinged rock" is a meaningless term that serves to explain little about a band's sound.

Regardless, at this point I'm definitely being too "English student" about it. It's just a point worth thinking about, is all.

westcoastweasel (April 18, 2010)

Regardless, I do appreciate you guys reading and the feedback nonetheless. Hopefully the interview was also to some people's liking. Cheers.

westcoastweasel (April 18, 2010)

I figure calling them an "emo" act is too easy and unjust because they are a little cooler than the run of the mill acts who receive such a label (despite not enjoying them). The sound (as mentioned) was also the worst for their set, without a doubt.

Next time I'll say: "I decided not to comment whatsoever on the band whom I didn't enjoy in the slightest (to no surprise)" to avoid reader backlash.

Deadpan (April 18, 2010)

Emotional-tinged rock? That's just bad English. And unnecessarily vague and dismissive. I don't want to be overtly anal about it, but it's such a cheap and lazy way to discount something you don't like without providing any decent critical reflection.

westcoastweasel (April 18, 2010)

Indeed. Fuck-up on my part.

smorange7 (April 18, 2010)

Great review! Wish I could see Cobra Skulls play Cobracoustic and The Flatliners play Spill Your Guts...

Thatd be so sick...

and I didn't know "Never Be A Machine" is a "classic"

... didn't it come out a year before Rubicon?

westcoastweasel (April 18, 2010)

Also, if any of you did or would like to buy Propagandhi's Recovered EP ($3 / 3 songs) to support charity and want an easy chance to win their first two LP's on vinyl, also check out: http://www.westcoastweasel.com/2010/04/10/propagandhi-charity-con test-w-old-school-vinyl-prize-pack/. Drawing in the evening, tomorrow (04/18/10). Thanks.

westcoastweasel (April 17, 2010)

Fail on my part for not including the encore. The show ran late (due to aforementioned delays) and at 1:15am I regretfully had to leave to catch the last train home, to be up at 5am for work. I was hoping (for review purposes) that I had caught it all. Perhaps that part's best saved for those who were there. Pro-shot photo gallery of that show up now, and a review/photo gallery soon for the Frank Turner show, on my site. http://www.westcoastweasel.com

timahelm (April 17, 2010)

I wss there too! Great show! All 4 bands were amazing!!!

evildeadalive (April 17, 2010)

I was there also. Good review, I pretty much agree with everything.. Broadway Calls while pretty good at what they do, were just not my cup of tea either. Flatliners and Cobra Skulls killed it.
Did you not stick around for the encore? You pretty much described everything, but left that out..

mr_fub (April 16, 2010)

This show was Friday and Frank Turner played the same venue on the next thursday. Damn it is good to be in vancouver

dlangl4 (April 16, 2010)

Don't miss the flatliners live. Woowoo

cherrycolarain (April 16, 2010)

I was there. This show only solidified The Flatliners as one of my favourite bands. Their set was brilliant.

swiftjustice (April 16, 2010)

score is for you labeling pop punk as "emotional tinged rock"

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