The continuing saga of the education of Indiefuzz impresario, Mr. Schoonbeek and the Vancouver music scene.
Monday night and we head over to the Biltmore Cabaret, an old style venue tucked in the basement of what is now a Howard Johnsons.
Mr. Schoonbeek learns his second lesson about life in the Vancouver club scene as he is turned away at the door for being unable to produce proper ID. The bouncers are vehement in their officiousness and I actually start to think we will not be going in this night but in the end they acquiesce.
The stairway descends into a black hole with really low ceilings. Cushioned booths line the wall on one side of the room but apparently the money ran out as the other side only has uncomfortable oversized wooden bench seating. The stage is a foot off the floor so the overall experience is close up and personal with an appropriate amount of tawdry appeal. It’s hard not to like this place.
Mr. Schoonbeek, pumped from his escape from bouncer hell enthusiastically declares he’s buying the beers and hands over his debit card only to be told that they accept credit cards or cash only thereby neatly passing the beer buying mantle to me and my well equipped wallet. So, Mr. Schoonbeeks third lesson is … bring money !
A sea of mostly men in T-shirts stand rigid, beer in hand as the experimental band Liars take the stage. In town to promote their latest album WIXIW, lead singer Angus Andrew assaults our eardrums with a cacophony of mostly noise as he screams and occasionally almost sings through the hair covering his face with a monotonous reverb that lends itself to pretty much every song, which after awhile is like being cocooned in a really loud droning Om minus the spirituality. A few fist pumpers and pogo dancers can be seen in the crowd and I wonder what they are getting out of this, much the same way that I wonder about the appeal of the long standing popularity of the band Rush. Liars seem to aspire to the likes of Radiohead, even their gig poster makes me think of Thom Yorke circa 1994.
I was expecting a lot more from this band as I find their song ‘Scissor’ and its accompanying video a compelling piece of work as is the equally interesting ‘No. 1 Against the Rush‘. Live though, they didn’t work for me, a band has to have a lot more than just sound textures, reverb and discordant meanderings to make me want to pump my fist.
The evening was not altogether lost. Opening act, Montreal based rapper and former poet laureate of Edmonton, Cadence Weapon (aka Rollie Pemberton) along with DJ Kuhrye-oo started things off with an energetic set which included the title track of his newest album Hope in Dirt City, 88, Conditioning and Loft Party among others. The album review of Hope In Dirt City you find here.