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Please proceed with caution. If your boss, or the coworker you have a crush on is looking over your shoulder, please point your browser elsewhere immediately. Sunday nights are always a bit of a struggle for show attendance in this town. In fact, Sundays might even be worse than Mondays, but the handful of people that were at the Rickshaw at 8:15 this windy Sunday evening I believe will soon have some pretty impressive bragging rights.
Manotick, Ontario’s Hollerado are an impressive group. I don’t understand how they ended up on this bill, alongside two rather aggressive punk bands, but they held their own nicely. They played to the meager crowd as if there were 20,000 people there! They played are a group of four guys that play with the kind of precision and synchronicity that bands that have played together for decades don’t have, yet they’ve only played together for 3 years.
Their sound is unique, but you can hear their influences come through… Imagine Weezer’s harmonies, Cheap Trick’s sense of aggressive melody, and Crazy Horses’ guitar work, and the kind of time changes that would make Neil Peart sound like Meg White. They told cheeky stories about buying freeze dried broccoli that was painted to look like pot, and were all-around a grade-A band. Even Dave Foley approves!
Hank IV were the opposite of Hollerado in every way except one, which was there ability to put on a killer live show. I had no idea what to expect, but when the band came out, much to my surprise, it was five older gentlemen, and the ripped through a fierce set of old-school San Francisco punk rock. The songs had punch and melody, and the singer was a sight to behold. You were either entertained or embarrassed by him! Singer Bob McDonald strutted around the stage like a drunk uncle dancing at your wedding, shaking his ass like he doesn’t care who is watching.
Words cannot describe what seeing Fucked Up live is all about. Photos cannot describe what seeing Fucked Up live is all about. You may even have trouble comprehending what is going on before your very eyes while you are there! Never in the history of rock n roll has a band’s name been more fitting.
They opened the show rather unassumingly. The entire band set up their own rigs, and they just started playing. It seemed that singer Pink Eyes was busy, because the band was playing a single chord for a very long time, and they all got really excited when he made the stage. After smiling and saying hello briefly, the pummeled head first into the opening number, “The Two Snakes”. Song after song was played with the same sense of epic aggression, and the once lifeless crowd was finally whipped into a frenzy, finally realizing that they aren’t out on a Sunday Night, but they are in fact at a Fucked Up concert.
Of course, to discuss Fucked Up is to discuss Pink Eyes (Damien Abraham). Not to say that the band is just a back-up band, because they certainly are not merely paid side musicians. The three guitar assault of this band can only be created by some very competent musicians, and they certainly all have excellent stage presence and enthusiasm on stage. But, they are all eclipsed by Mr Eyes. In fact, you could have Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, and Tom Jones on stage, and they would all be forced into the background.
Pink Eyes’ relationship with the audience is very complex. He is equal parts threatening and comforting. There are times that I was afraid of him. There were times that when I wanted a hug from him. The most important element of his stage show is his sense of awareness. He is aware of everyone in the crowd all at once, and feeds in to the crowd. It’s not rehearsed, but it is very professional, which I’m sure is pretty offensive to your average punk rock musician, but this isn’t your average punk rock band.
He shared the microphone with the crowd, jumped on a piano, undressed throughout the set (including an amazing bit of taking his underwear off while his pants were still on), and even managed to speak rather eloquently about various different things. He made note of the Mother’s Day holiday, said them very positive and compassionate things about the people of Arizona while still disagreeing with the recent immigration bill. He even closed the set by encouraging us to donate money to 924 Gilman, which was a surprise that a Canadian band would care so much about our local issues! (Not to say that he is ignoring his own area’s issues, case in point)
Well, in a nutshell, Mother’s Day at the Rickshaw Stop was a blissful, sweaty affair. Here’s a set list: (Note: Pistols= Bodies by the Sex Pistols)