Top Ten Shows of 2010 (Pt.2)

8. Friday December 10th 2010, Bison, Haggatha & Weapon @ The Biltmore Cabaret.

I had been waiting for this show for a long time. Originally it was supposed to happen on July 23rd with openers Congress and Baptists (what a line up!) but was rescheduled due to injury. On top of all this it had also been a long time since I'd seen Bison play. Aug 2009 at The Biltmore Cabaret to be exact, and that show was absolute mayhem.

Unfortunately I missed the first band, it can be tough to get back from a long day of work, squeeze in a nap, make some dinner and take a big crunch before show time. At least I saw all of Weapon's set. I knew the drummer, and thankfully they rocked, so I wouldn't have to whisper white lies into his ear if our paths were to cross later in the evening. Weapon played slow stoner metal. Their guitarist brought some rad groovy licks to the plate, and the bassist looked like a mean bastard, but at the end of the day Weapon's true weapon was the man on drums. He was so good at slowing down the tempo of a song without letting you even notice. That is an art that not very many drummers are capable of. There wasn't much in the vocal department from this three piece, but they were there when they needed to be.

Next was Haggatha, and I'm not going to lie, I checked them out on myspace and wasn't into it. I knew I wasn't going to like what I was about to witness and I think that helped me enjoy what I did see. When you're expecting the worst, and you don't get it, you get surprisingly stoked. Also, never judge a band based on their myspace, judge a band based on their live show. They had the drummer from Congress, and he's a wild man. Their first songs were pretty kick ass, but about halfway through their set I realized all those wind bag hipsters had sucked all the air out of the place and I needed outside.

It was a strange crowd. In between bands I couldn't (or didn't want to) find anyone to hang out with, so I just got into good position to witness Bison finally grace the stage. Health-wise it was a tough week for me, and I still wasn't feeling my best that night, so I was very light on the beers and partying. But this didn't prevent Bison from rocking my socks off. Or everyone else's for that matter. The crowd went ape shit on the second song 'Slow Hand of Death' and were flying off the stage, taking out mics and guitars in the process.

The crowd's enthusiasm was hurting the band technically, and Dan had to tell them to chill out, proclaiming more than once, 'Peace in the pit, man!' Haha, what a hippie! Sadly (or not) I agreed with every word that left his mouth. I'd way rather see a crowd getting down, dancing it up and having a good time over seeing big dudes beating the shit out of each other and the equipment on stage. They didn't bring the barrier out for the front of the stage, so at one point two beefy security guards came out to the front of the stage and stared evil eyes into the crowd, and even shone their flashlights at people that looked like they were enjoying themselves too much. Eventually they dragged the drunkest girl in the bar out of the pit and Dan said, 'Go get that girl a glass of water.' Not much later he had to remind the crowd again to take it easy on one another saying, 'I'm not trying to sound like Ian Mackaye, but peace in the pit, you know what I'm talking about man.' It was hilarious. That dude rocks and 'peace in the pit' is my new favourite quote.

 I might be wrong but chances are good that Bison had not even played their hometown since releasing Dark Ages, so the set list was flushed with songs from this album. No biggie, it's a great album, but I could have really gone for some 'Dark Towers' and 'The Curse'. Luckily they still played the quest for fire portion of the Wendigo trilogy, and ended off with a rousing rendition of 'These Are My Dress Clothes', easily a personal favourite of mine. This made me hit the bar because it's hard to not be slamming beers when Bison is rocking. After they ended I was hanging out off to the side with my pal Johnny and some hipster bitch blew by me and knocked the beer clean out of my hand and onto the floor where I assumed it smashed. I flipped her the bird, but in the long run that cunt probably did me a favour. I walked home more sober than a man should have been after a Bison show, but so it goes. There will be more.

7. Saturday August 21st 2010, The Jolts, Spastic Panther & Timecopz @ Funky Winkerbeans.

Thankfully a show where I don't have to start it by typing: 'Unfortunately I missed the first band.' It was Saturday, so I didn't have to spend my day working. However there was one major thing that might have stopped me from getting to this show. My foot. I had fractured it pretty badly a couple weekends before (coincidentally playing a show @ Funky Winkerbeans) and I still couldn't put all my weight down on it, and the thought of standing through an entire show was a painful thought. Another painful thought was that this was going to be Dr. Dylan Danger's last show with The Jolts, making it a not to be missed show, broken foot or no broken foot. So I got my cane and limped out of the house.

Timecopz were first and playing early. They were a bit sloppy and informed the few early comers in the bar that they had already played a show earlier in the day at Neptoon Records and were now quite pissed. It was also a bit hard for them to care based on how many people were in the bar. But after a bit of a slow start they turned up the juice and rocked hard while their wild friends at the front added the spectacle. They spat and threw things at the band in between hanging off of one another. And during all of this the Timecopz didn't miss a beat. They played their crazy brand of surf garage rock n roll with a  drunken fervor that made me happy I had limped down to the show early. I had seen the Timecopz before, and was hooked immediately, so for them to be opening up a Jolts show was like icing on the cake.

Now came the one part that was wrong with the show. There was a huge pause between bands. At first I wondered what the hell was going on, but being that Spastic Panther was from Calgary I assumed they were waiting for some people to show up, but if this was the case why didn't they just let Timecopz start later? Regardless of who played at what time Spastic Panther brought a great show with them from Calgary. Their tattooed and manic front man was all over the place. He made hilarious faces, left the stage numerous times to sweat it out on the dance floor with the crowd, and could even be see flopping on the ground while being backed up by a hardcore punk band that was reminiscent of something that might have been rocking in the late 80s. Also I had a chat with the guys earlier in the evening and they were all cool cats. This always helps you like a band. About halfway through their set the place started to really fill up. The boat must have landed. On this same night there was a Day Glo Abortions show on a boat, and a free show up the street at The Rickshaw that featured free Sailor Jerry rum and Keith Morris (of Circle Jerks fame) new band. I don't drink rum (well maybe if it was free) and I don't mind the Circle Jerks, but my stupid foot was preventing me from hitting a really crowded show. Funny enough that's exactly what this one became.

I had to stand by the side of the stage to keep my foot out of harm's way. Now that I'm thinking hard about this show I'm trying to remember if I did bring my cane out. Knowing my stupid self I probably left it at home and then had to continually warn all the drunk people about my foot issues so they'd give me some space and not crush it under their own feet. Seems more like something I'd do.

Anyway The Jolts opened up with 'Hey Alright' (funny how I can remember that, but can't remember if I had a cane with me or not) and they rarely play that one, and then they followed it with, 'Caffeine Heartbeat'. The sound was great, as is always the case at Funky Winkerbeans, and people rocked out. As far as I'm concerned The Jolts are making some of the finest rock n roll music these days, granted I'm not hearing the bulk of what is out there, but it just makes sense to get stoked on the bands in your local scene, then you don't have to wait 2 or 3 years to see your favourite bands come to town, and instead get multiple shows in a year. It's a win win situation.

The Jolts brought out a piano player which I had never seen them do before, a cool touch, even if the guy looked bored out of his tree. He must have been stoned or playing cool or something. Once the show at The Rickshaw let out the place got jam packed with people looking for one more drink and even more live music. They called Ron Reyes up to the stage (an ex-singer of Black Flag that has since resurfaced in the Vancouver scene after turning 50 years young) and people lost their shit. In all the madness I somehow made my way to the other side of the bar to get a different perspective on things for the last couple of songs. Yup, still rocking.

They played 'Bloody Eye Socket' and the intensity in the room didn't drop an inch even though the pseudo celebrity had left the stage. I think they were going to draw out the breakdown for a real long time, being Dylan's last show and all, but some gutter punk jumped the gun, hopped up on stage and started yelling the words into the mic to impress his ugly girlfriend. No love for the build up I suppose. Sometimes people just don't understand when it's not about them, hell I'm sure I've been guilty of this before as well, but I'm no mic hog. I think that was how the show ended, and I went over to say bye to Dylan before he skipped town.  

We talked for a bit and then he pushed a half full two-six of rum towards me. I declined the offer, but it was official, you didn't need to go to The Rickshaw to be drinking their free rum.


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