Top 10 Shows of the year 2012. Honourable Mentions.

2012 got off to a rough start for me. I wasn't even able to work for the first 4 months of the year, so I missed out on a ton of good shows as well. But things picked up, I got back to work and out to some shows and by summertime I was killing it. Here are the honourable mentions for shows I saw in 2012.

April 14th, 2012. MODS vs ROCKERS @ The Rickshaw Theatre featuring; The Vicious Cycles, The Tranzmitors, The Radii & The Injectors.

This was probably the first show I was able to get out to all year and it was a doozy. The Injectors kicked it into high gear early with their brand of raging punk rock n roll, and were followed by the Radii. They were considerably mellower, but they had a cute singer in a pink dress so that was good enough for me. Now I'd like to mention that I hate it when somebody bills a show as a 'vs' type thing as if it's some sort of boxing match or competition. It's such a lame theme for a gig that it makes me want to vomit on their gig poster. Everybody knows that the bands are friends and working together to try and bring a great show to the people, so the fact that anyone would ever try to play it off as some sort of grudge match is just the dumbest thing to me. The only way you could ever pull off such a thing and gain my respect is if the bands both set up on the stage at the same time and took turns playing songs. Oh wait, that is what happened on this night? Oh my goodness, that is incredible. And it was! They even had a ring girl come out with a giant card that said Round 1 to start off the show, and the Tranzmitors came out and played two songs. Then they hustled off the stage and the Vicious Cycles took their spot and made some snide comment about Mods before firing into their greaser rock n roll stylings. As the show rolled along the ring girl would come out to remind you which round we were in and the bands got progressively more mean to each other as they traded back and forth every 2 songs. The band that wasn't performing were now crowded around the stage and throwing beer cans at the other band trying to wow the audience. They'd come out with signs that said things like 'Mods Suck' and whatever else. The show was quite a while ago now so my memory is hazy, but the hazing was the greatest part. Beer cans a plenty were flying all over the place along with curses and anti greaser or mod slurs. This was a true grudge match, and I was really happy to be witnessing the spectacle. Then for the big finish they set their differences aside and all hit the stage with their instruments and started performing as one big happy band. I thought that was cheese ball, but only because I wanted to see a real punch up at the end of the show. Maybe someone could have smashed a guitar over someone else's head! OK, I know that wasn't really going to happen, but putting the word 'vs' on the poster just puts me in a violent mood. Then some old guy came out on a motorcycle and fired it up filling the room with exhaust and I used that as my queue to get the fuck out of there.

June 30th, 2012. Black Wizard, Tobeatic, Weirding & The Rock Band Called Time @ The Rickshaw Theatre.

I came straight from band practice to this show so I missed the first band and The Rock Band Called Time was playing when I arrived. I just had a thought that a hilarious typo would be A Rock Band Called Tim. And this band was forever known as that, to me, Tim. Wait, I think there was already a band called Tim, and if my memory serves me correctly they were from Vancouver as well. Anyway, next up was Weirding and they were in their fuckin' element. I must have been stoned because everything seemed so perfect when they were playing, the lights, the sound, the aggression and especially the grooves. Weirding is a heavy as all hell stoner metal band that kills it hard. By this point the Rickshaw was really filling out nicely which was good to see because often times at the Rickshaw a local show can have the place feeling a bit empty. I can't remember if they had the seats blacked out, but that always helps. Tobeatic took the stage and they were new to me. They did the stoner rock thing with an organ off to the side that made them a 6 man band, and these 6 guys absolutely destroyed the stage. I had no idea what I was getting into before they played and I literally had to scrape my jaw off the floor when they were done. I'm pretty sure for a couple weeks after this show all I was telling my friends (at least the ones that are interested in the local scene) was to check out Tobeatic. They didn't just stick to one sound either, they'd be doing one of those stoner rock jams and then just blast into some thrash punk for the next song, it was unreal. Luckily Black Wizard was next, because there isn't too many bands in this city that would be able to follow such a great performance. But the Whizz was up for the challenge and on top of their game while playing all the old classics that I came to hear. The mosh pit busted out huge and it was hair hair everywhere. And in that moment when a huge venue filled up and rocked out hard for a line-up of local bands I was really proud of my city.

July 20th, 2012. 3 Inches of Blood & Bison @ The Vogue Theatre.

So I go on the internet and through the powers of facebook I notice a chance to win free tickets to this show. All I have to do is comment on a picture, so I do it. Then I tell my nerdy metal friend at work (who is a big 3 Inches of Blood fan) to do the same setting the precedent, "if I win I will take you with me, and if you win you have to take me." Now we have a 2 in 6 chance of winning or something hilarious like that, and sure enough he was picked as the winner. Four free tickets and free swag! The only downfall was that I had to hang out with him and all his hot chick friends at Cafe Crap before the show. What a shame! That smart little bastard had made sure to put his other two free tickets to good use. Unfortunately this made us miss the first two bands, not that I was drinking or anything, but they knew it'd be a lot cheaper to get drunk there than at the Vogue. We finally make it to the show and Bison fires up. Their new drummer is in fine form, and the band was on the verge of releasing a new album. No one had heard it yet, but that wasn't stopping them from playing it all night long. I have all three previous Bison albums and I did not recognize one song that they played. This would have pissed me off if all the songs they played weren't total bangers, but they were! Plus I had gotten in for free so I was just happy to be there. 3 Inches of Blood came out and pummelled the crowd with cuts from their new album. I was not versed in this one either, but it seemed good. The heads were banged along with the beards. The one guitarist with the tight pants in 3 Inches cracks me up. He looks like he doesn't quite fit in, or just can't grow a beard, but he screams like a banshee when he hits that microphone. The singer does that falsetto thing and I'm guessing between the two of them they love some Van Halen. At the end of the day as long as the play the Goat Rider's Horde I'm happy, and sure enough they did. For the encore they tried to do some crazy thing with a violin and tribal drums but someone forgot to turn the mic on the violin up and didn't rectify it before the girl playing had left the stage. It was a good attempt at varying their sound though and added a little flavour to the end of an already great show.

Oct 24th, 2012. Systematik @ Iron Road Studios.

After finishing up band practice I walked out of our room to notice the lights out and a crowd of people milling about. There was a show happening, but I had no idea who was playing. This was strange as I usually claim to have my finger on the pulse of the local scene. So I asked a couple of people who was playing and they sneered at me and said, 'some guys,' to which I replied, 'isn't it always?' Pretty sure the place was full of stuck up hipsters and I didn't care who was playing, but then I saw a kid I recognized from a Real Problems gig and asked him what was going down. He told me the Mob, Spectres and Systematik were playing and it all came back to me. I remembered that people seemed pretty excited about the Mob coming to Vancouver. I checked them out and it sounded like crappy new wave bullshit to me, but I decided to go to the show room and check it out anyway, and boy am I glad I did. The room was buzzing, there was no music, but I felt like it had just stopped. Technical difficulties? I think so. Then I spotted a guy holding a mic, and he looked like a real punk S.O.B. Plus he was black. I wasn't going anywhere. As I stood there sizing this guy up thinking about how awesome of a singer he must be I realized I was putting too much pressure on him and he was never going to be able to live up to the high standards I was placing on him when the music began. Then something happened. He did. And then some. When the band fired up he grabbed his beer, smashed it on his buddies face and grinned like a champ to the crowd. He was missing half of one of his front teeth and when he smashed the mic into his face to sing I got an idea of what might have happened to it. The band was insanely good. They played thrash punk with heavy 80s hardcore influence. And the singer seemed like he was having a great time, this always gains a band extra points in my opinion. Nothing worse than someone fronting a band who looks like they don't even want to be there. I stood in awe, getting jostled about by rowdy punks now and again as they got bursts of energy and shoved each other around. At one point one of the singer's friends shoved him hard from behind and he went down. It was lucky he still had half a front tooth! Watching this band made me feel young again, but when they finished I remembered how old I really was and that it was a Wednesday night and I got the fuck out. There was no possible way any band playing next was going to even slightly compare to what I had just seen. Obviously different strokes for different folks, and I'm sure the show was great to some, but I didn't want to hang out with a bunch of music snobs listening to 80s UK New Wave. Not my idea of a good time. But I was thankful I decided to check it out because Systematik is definitely a band to keep your eye on in the future.


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