BISON bc @ The Rickshaw June 18th 2011.

When I first started this blog I assumed I would use it to review all the shows I went to see. I was the proud new owner of a digital camera (that I hardly know how to use) so there was really no excuse. Unfortunately I got lazy and just ended up using this blog to post my older material and unedited things that I submitted to magazines. Until now! Hopefully this will start a trend of show reviews, and who knows, maybe I'll even start bringing my camera to shows again. For now I'll just steal pictures off of Facebook that I find of the shows I attend leaving the picture taking to the professionals.

So we arrived to The Rickshaw around 10:15pm and paid our $5 cover charge. It was The Rickshaw theater's 2nd year anniversary, and customer appreciation show, so cheap cover and beer! It was close to 2 years ago that I had a band play on that stage and it is safe to say the venue has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

I bumped into some friends in the lobby and was informed that Black Wizard had already played. Even though they were billed as the 2nd band on the poster I was a little worried that this might happen because Bison and Haggatha now share the same drummer. And what a drummer! Haggatha was playing when we arrived and their drummer is the most entertaining one of the bunch. He makes the wildest metal faces while he plays, and sometimes jumps out of his seat while beating the shit out of his cymbals with his giant drum sticks. Now in most cases if the drummer is the most entertaining one in a band you would figure the rest of the guys need to step up their game, but it's hard to compete against a maniac like that. His facial expressions were worth the cover charge alone. The band plays at a pounding slow tempo that ranges from heavy to heavier. If you tried to pick them up I predict some lower back pain in your future, yes, it's that heavy. Most of the time slow sludge metal isn't my favourite when I'm trying to get my drink on. I can understand how stoners can get down on the groove, but sometimes it gets a little boring to me. So keeping that in mind I thought Haggatha was pretty sweet, but we didn't catch too much of the set.

We went up to the balcony to check if it was open, being customer appreciation night they better have had it open. And luckily for them they did, so now they don't have to fear the wrath of my blog! However my guess about drink specials was right, and I knew all they'd do is make the cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon a little cheaper. Didn't help me out much because I hate Pabst Blue Ribbon. I've started calling it Crapst Poo Ribbon because it sucks, but for some lame reason almost all of the live music venues in this city have a choice of one cheap beer on the menu, and it is my least favourite beer. Anyway I have strayed off topic, again. Maybe one day I will write an I hate PBR blog. However I would like to mention that The Rickshaw was also offering Old Milwaukee at the same price, so PBR haters like me would still have a place to turn. Strangely I turned to the tall cans of Sapporo just to be weird.

Between Haggatha and Bison's set there was a little surprise band called Hightower from San Francisco. When I bumped into Ash (drummer of 3IOB) (NAME DROP!) he told me that this was going to happen, and I passed the info on to Zach a bit later to which he replied, "If they don't have the big black guy from Police Academy in the band I'm not interested!" We had a good laugh at the expense of the band's name, but after seeing their very quick set it was them who had the last laugh. They ruled. Vocally they weren't very strong, and that's probably why they didn't sing much, but they had a Beastman on the drums, and the guitarist with his giant head of hair was prone to flying leaps. Their music met somewhere in the middle of skate thrash and stoner metal, but because they weren't billed they only had time for a quick set, and this left the whole place wanting more. And they can get it if they go to The Astoria tonight!

The owner of The Rickshaw came out and yelled a big thank you to the crowd and I was going to tell him my thoughts on PBR but I knew he wouldn't listen. After a couple songs and Bison chants they strolled out onto the stage with their usual nonchalance and let the music speak for itself. It's funny how they come off as quiet pot head types with giant beards and black t-shirts with metal band logos on them, but once the music begins they are transformed into beasts of metal. From the guttural growls of Dan And, to the shaggy backwoods looks of James Farwell (who apparently has a good face to throw beer cans at), and the beardless bass beatings of Masa these guys don't fuck around. Plus they just added one hell of an entertaining drummer to the band and I watched in amazement as he played with such passion and confidence in his very first performance with the band. With the departure of Brad on drums it was pretty obvious who the man for the job was. First round draft pick, first overall.  

There was a giant net of balloons suspended above the crowd, and eventually on Bison's 3rd song (Slow Hand of Death) the soundman shook some chains and they started to come down. People quickly grabbed them and squeezed them until they popped or threw them to the ground and stomped on them. You could hear the massive amounts of balloons popping over the music! The Rickshaw probably assumed that the balloons were going to bounce around on the crowd for a while, but they should have remembered that Vancouverites are hell bent on destruction! And the destruction wouldn't end there, but we'll get to that later.

The crowd was stirred into a frenzy, and a plethora of hits were played. I love it when they open with 'Primal Emptiness of Outer Space' and leading into 'Two Day Booze' from their latest album DARK AGES was a hardy choice. It was good to hear cuts like 'Melody, This Is For You' and 'Die of Devotion' also from the latest record, and of course they rocked 'These Are My Dress Clothes' and 'Wendigo Pt. 1'. It was also a rare treat to hear them bang out 'Earthbound' from their first album.


As usual I can always find something to complain about and I would have loved to hear them play my personal favs 'The Curse' and 'Dark Towers' that have been absent from the set list the last few times I've seen Bison play. But when you have as much solid material as they do you're always gonna have to leave a few gems back at the jam space.

And now back to the destruction I promised. During 'Fear Cave' Masa beat the shit out of his bass on the monitor. He pounded it until it didn't work anymore, and quickly became a man in action grabbing his back up bass from it's case. He got that thing up and running just in time to kick in with the band for the fast part and off to the races they went, hardly missing a beat.

When the set was winding down to a close Masa became a man possessed and started to smash the shit out of his bass. He still had that friendly grin on his face while swinging the bass above his head and crashing it down with all his might onto the stage. After a couple good rounds he picked it up and fired the final deathblow driving the headstock and neck into the stage and leaving it in a pile of rubble and three strings. My friend Matt looked at me and said, "Well I guess that's the end of the show," and I couldn't help but agree.

All of the pictures were stolen from Facebook, and if you want to see more follow this LINK to see the whole album of pics. There is some great ones there.

So Bison destroyed again (literally) and a congratulations should be sent to The Rickshaw for still being a functioning venue in No fun City. Until next time...

All photos: Bubba Hamilton


  1. That link to the pictures does not work and I want to see them!

  2. If you are signed into your Facebook account you should be able to see them. If you don't have a Facebook account then you are cooler than me!


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