The Flatliners / The Rebel Spell - live in Victoria (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Flatliners / The Rebel Spell

live in Victoria (2008)

live show

Coming from a small town, I haven't had the privilege to go to a ska-punk show before. So when I went to this show, I had no idea what to expect. And to be quite honest, whenever it is that I go to my next one, I'm pretty sure I'll still have no idea what I'm in for. There were girls in outrageous neon outfits, a gang of punks in denim vests and one gal who appeared to be emulating the bumblebee girl from that Blind Melon video, both in dress and in dance.

The first act of the night was the local act Kilgore Trout, who not only have a great Vonnegut reference in their name, but play an excellent blend of ska and punk that instantly brought Slapstick to mind. The band appeared to be having a blast on stage and their fans were going wild, demanding songs and dancing away. Their set lasted far longer than it should have (it was probably 45 minutes long), but it was solid all around.

The second act of the night was another local group, Sailor's Blood (formerly the Arbutus Trio). The band had a slightly more laidback and easy feel to them, and also had a plethora of local fans. Again, a high-energy set with good stage presence and evidence of a strong local scene here that I hadn't yet been introduced to.

After a brief break for setup (and drinks), G7 Welcoming act the Rebel Spell took the stage. The band is apparently a regular here in Victoria, as their hometown is only a ferry ride away to Vancouver. They began by playing a track from their recent release Four Songs About Freedom, and scattered the other three tracks from that EP throughout their act. The band had a surprising lack of political banter throughout their set, considering how overt their political messages are in their songs (and at their merch table). Though the singer seems somewhat awkward at times on stage, the rest of the band was extremely intense, so much so that their drummer broke her bass drum and had to replace it halfway through.

Finally, at around one in the morning, the Flatliners took the stage. Though the band has tried to perform in Victoria on two previous occasions, an unfortunate string of bad luck has prevented them from doing so. And so, despite the fact that they're from Toronto, the crowd welcomed them with open arms. The band began their set with the opening track from their Fat Wreck Chords debut The Great Awake, and put on a stellar performance. The band's energy was phenomenal considering how long the show had been going on for and the apparent heat on stage, and vocalist Chris Cresswell managed to hit most notes despite the fact that his gruff voice seems to not suit his youth. The band was in high spirits and made plenty of comments about the "pervert mustache" that their bassist was sporting. The set was comprised predominantly of songs from The Great Awake, but they peppered in a number of fan favourites from Destroy to Create. Of particular note was the encore, in which they asked the audience for a song, and a few people chanted out "LAST SONG FROM THE NEW ALBUM!" The band was shocked that anyone wanted to hear it, considering the song's length and the amount of time that the show had already been going on for, but they agreed, and performed the track admirably.

Set list:

  1. July! August! Reno!
  2. Meanwhile, in Hell...
  3. Public Service Announcement
  4. This Respirator
  5. Fred's Got Slacks
  6. There's a Problem
  7. Mother Theresa Chokeslams the World
  8. This Is Giving Up
  9. Broken Bones
  10. Eulogy
  11. Do or Die
  12. ...And the World Files for Chapter 11
  13. Spill Your Guts
  14. KHTDR