The historic Waldorf Hotel is located on Eastside of Vancouver in the outskirts of downtown. Locals might refer to it as ‘mid-Hasting’s no-mans land’ as it is an unattractive industry terrain hosting a collective bunch of crap. East Hastings is a busy street connecting downtown with suburbia but that does not mean that people pay much attention to it when they roar through in their SUVs. For the non-Vancouverites, to the north of The Waldorf is the harbor industry with its’ own landmarks as the BC Sugar Refining Co and some crazy big bulk silo’s. To the south is the revival of the residential neighbourhood Strathcona.
The hotel itself stands alone on a street corner with its own large parking lot as a buffer between itself and a used car dealership. The car dealer shows its festive spirit by hanging the classic shiny red and blue flags begging for someone to stop in a say ‘hi’. But what is a parking lot without a fence, and I don’t mean a 1.20 meter fence. No, there is a proper fence separating the parking lot of the Waldorf from the car dealership and the back alley. This proper fence is 3 meters high and decorated with some very friendly barb wire. Next to the lovely fencing the the lot itself appeared to have gotten some new asphalt, you can tell when asphalt is new, well this was smoking hot brand new black asphalt. The good thing about asphalt is that it’s not getting dusty, like gravel, when it is sunny and hot, and sunny and hot it was.
But back to the fence. The purpose of a fence is to keep people in or keep people out. The functional value of the fence for the purpose of the concert was applied to the beer garden. So imagine a small portion in the back of the lot fenced off to host the beer garden, or better said by one of the bands, the ‘beer prison’. While it didn’t appeal to us (you couldn’t really see the stage from the ‘beer prison’) many people were lining up to get in it. By many we mean the line was about 30 people deep at about 7pm and the ‘beer prison’ was full so who knows when they would ever be seeing a beer. It was a sight to see, the ultimate clash of the hippy freedom spirit and the land of rules and regulations squeezed into a parking lot with a 3 meter high barb wire fence. Go figure. But some others had thought the process through much better than us rule abiding (meaning ticket buying) citizens. After about 7:30pm the line of kids on the rooftop of the buildings across the alley (with their smokes, six packs, and clear view of the stage) were laughing…and we couldn’t help but join in.
Enough about the setting, let’s talk about the music. Headliners Black Mountain had the free hand to invite their own local ‘vanbands’ special guests for this outdoor late summer sunset fest. The invitees were space synth rockers Von Bingen, Torontonian rockers Quest For Fire, hippy Basketball rock and risen again rockers Ladyhawk. This all jam packed in a tight schedule between 5 and 11 (as we all have a strict curfew in Vancouver).
Von Bingen had the honour to start and squint the hardest (the sun was very bright and very hot when standing in a parking lot). Seeing through their squinted eyes they saw a few die hards getting roasted but center stage was nearly empty as people were standing in whatever shade they could find. This setting matched perfectly with Von Bingen’s futuristic space synth drone rock, imagine Earth 2367 apres our global warming, no trees just black asphalt without the cars cause we are all out of gas. And me holding a beer in the one hand and the other clawing into the ‘beer prison’ fence so I could truly enjoy Von Bingen. And it sounded a bit like this …
After a brief pause to change the equipment and re-check the sound it was time for Quest For Fire‘s psych stoner rock. Nothing futuristic, just plain damn good stoner drums, cymbals, bass, a bit of Korg and classic stoner guitar licks – it rocked the sunglasses of my head so I could really see and enjoy their set. Quest For Fire is touring with Black Mountain in the next couple of weeks and I highly recommend checking them out if they are coming to a venue near you.
Third in line was Basketball’s trippy hippy folk – a mix of Sahara camel bells fuzed with transcendental Himalayan percussion and South American elevated Andes tunes. Drink your red wine out of big horn and listen to some Basketball…..yes, it is that odd.
Next up was Ladyhawk, after four years of radio silence Ladyhawk is releasing October 9th their new album ‘No Can Do’. Ladyhawk got to enjoy some true crowd interaction as the sun had set, people came out of hiding, and a wave of new people had arrived. It was a full house as the crowd packed in front of the stage to join in singing and dancing to some old and new rockin’ tunes of Ladyhawk. This was their first show the rest will follow in October and November supporting the release of No Can Do.
To be honest, the fuzzgang thought they sounded better at Khatsahlano 2012. Here is a video of them performing a song from No Can Do – we believe it is called ‘Sinking Ship” cause we you could hear the roar of the ocean.
And Black Mountain was the icing and cherry on the four layered cake. Black Mountain is a great metal folk mix with Amber Webber’s stretched high reaching vocals, Stephen McBeans guitar greatness, Jeremy Schmidts Hammond organ synths and rock solid with Matt Camirand on bass and Josh Wells on the drums. Stephen won the fridge award for being the coolest – during one their first songs one of his strings broke and he kept on playing while replacing the string himself – rock on ! Check out the video of Old Fangs from the album Wilderness Heart (2010).
Check out these bands and more on our Youtube channel – Fuzz On!