At the Astoria on Friday, June 12
What were Vancouverites with Music Waste passes to do last Friday? With over 30 bands spread out between countless venues, concertgoers had some serious decisions to make about what to see for night four of the local festival. With scores of punk gigs, folk shows, and DJ nights competing for attention—not to mention concurrent art openings, comedy performances, and movie screenings—there’s a good chance that at least a couple of Music Waste performers got lost in the shuffle. Fortunately, Vancouver’s own B-Lines weren’t one of those bands. The quartet stepped onto the Astoria’s stage more than ready to take on the near-capacity crowd’s cheers—and even a couple of jeers.
“Take that!” singer Ryan Dyck shouted as he whipped an empty beer bottle at a heckler seconds before the ensemble barrelled into its gleefully violent set.
The gangly frontman’s wild mood swings made the act’s performance extremely unpredictable. Most times, he’d wriggle his rail-thin frame around like an oversized Muppet to B-Lines’ hyper-speedy tunes, a sugary-sweet take on early ’80s hardcore. Other times, however, he’d be scrambling for more ammunition to hurl at fans and band members alike. At one point the singer grabbed a Pilsner out of some booze-hound’s hand while crowd-surfing and pitched it toward Bruce Dyck’s drum kit, spraying shards of glass everywhere. Launched back on-stage, the vocalist pulled a full-on Iggy as he rolled on top of the broken glass, leaving a sizeable gash on his shoulder. Bassist Adam Fothergill and guitarist Scotty Colin looked concerned about their cohort’s cuts, but opted to keep playing after he quickly picked himself up from the ground.
B-Lines have only a couple of MySpace uploads and a promo video for Music Waste to their name, but their fans sung along to their pop-tinged hardcore all night. Songs like “House Plants” and “Busy Man” had people slipping across the Astoria’s checkerboard floor to shout along with the bloodied Dyck. Showing an uncomfortable level of affection for the musician, the minions up front groped and grabbed at his banged-up body and even tried to yank off the poor guy’s trousers.
“That crossed the line, folks,” Dyck cried out as he swatted hands off of his skivvies. “I don’t know if this is what punk is about.”
B-Lines ended the night with the unabashedly offensive “Social Retard” before Dyck threw his mike in the air and hurriedly walked away. Here’s hoping the singer, still gushing plasma, went to a hospital.
While B-Lines revelled in the Astoria’s mosh mentality, Mode Moderne took time out of its set to lecture the rowdy mob.
“Fuck you for moshing,” guitarist Clint Lofkrantz shouted between songs. “Let’s see some real dancing,” snarky singer Phillip Intile countered. By the time the quintet wrapped up its set of moody new-wave tunes, complete with Intile’s Ian Curtis–indebted vocals, the largely raucous crowd was reduced to clapping politely.
Sex Church fared better with the slow stuff. Its opening song lilted along on a sweet sock-hop melody while drummer Ben Phillips finished setting up his kit, but the foursome promptly switched gears, veering into an awesomely eerie barrage of bluesy slide-guitar licks and ghoulish howls.
Despite technical difficulties, including busted amps, broken guitar straps, and a sliding kick drum, Timecopz put on a thrilling mini-set of unhinged postpunk. “This is the best we’ve ever played,” drummer Steve Poutine declared. “It’s super awesome.” With any luck, Vancouver won’t have to wait until next year’s Music Waste for Timecopz to actually bring its A game.