Top Ten Vancouver Bands That I'd Love to See Play A Reunion Show.

While I was attending Burger Fest this summer I felt some feelings. I stood outside of the Waldorf watching and listening to Joyce Collingwood performing their reunion set and it took me back to a time that seemed a little more care free. That band played some great shows a few years back and even garnered a fair amount of attention. While reunion shows typically always disappoint, this would not be one of those times. They shredded a super tight set that left me thinking, 'dang, I missed that band.' And just like a puff of smoke they disappeared for good. You know it's officially over when they're throwing every piece of remaining Joyce Collingwood merch they have left into the crowd. Fast forward a couple days and it got me thinking about all the other Vancouver bands that I'd love to see do a reunion set. Then I thought maybe I should even formulate a list. Fast forward a couple months and I finally did it!

   This year has already seen such great bands like Human Resistance Program and Side 67 reunite. SpreadEagle played a wild and crazy gig one NYE a few years ago at the Rickshaw. The Spitfires play a yearly gig around Christmas time, and it feels like it's been long enough since the last Ladyhawk show to start wondering, but neither of those bands have officially broken up so they didn't make the list. There's also a few bands that haven't been dead long enough to allow them to make the list either like, DAGRS, B-Lines and The Living Deadbeats. But speaking of lists...

   This list is based on opinion, my opinion. Only bands that I've seen live could make the list, so no two-bit punk bands from the 80's on here because I have only lived in Vancouver for 15 years. The bands I choose will almost exclusively be from that time period with the exception of a few that toured back in the day and left a lasting impression on me. Obviously there's gonna be bands that I forgot or missed, or that were overlooked, so feel free to shout out other bands you'd love to see resurrected for at least one more show in the comments.

Honourable Mentions:

- East Side Death Squad - The vocal and guitar hooks in this band were enourmous. Shreddy punk that left most unable to stand still. Pretty sure they released an album, but sadly I only ever heard the two songs they had featured on the VPAF compilation CD's.

- Huskavarna - I can't believe this band didn't make the list! They would tour down to Vernon all the time and we'd always invite them to the after party because they were hilarious. Husky Jay might still be in Cum Soc but no idea what happened to the other two guys. Mad Chicken Disease maybe?

- Another Joe - There were rumours circulating that a reunion show was eminent for this band, but the big word has still never come down the pipe. But when/if it happens I'll make sure to be there so I can feel those feelings of it being the 90's again.

The List:

15. China Creeps - There's quite possibly only one band in Vancouver history that relates music and skateboarding more than the China Creeps and even then these guys still have a claim to the throne. It's not often you didn't see someone attempt some sort of acid drop off the stage or tail drop from a speaker stack during one of their sets. Some shows they'd even bring their own ramp. Throw in some hilarious stage banter that degrades the audience and it doesn't get much more entertaining than that. While bassist Neil E. Dee is now the star of his own circus styled traveling freak show called the Danger Thrill Show and guitarist Baxter now fronts the more surf inspired Tubuloids, I'm sure no one would complain if the China Creeps reunion show included some sparks flying, crowd surfing and sword swallowing.

14. Impeders of Progress - This band had some serious 80's influence and while some may have called them a hardcore band I think it was a punk rock heart that kept them beating. Like a fine wine they seemed to get better with age, but it was the departure of their singer back to Ontario that was the inevitable nail in the coffin for this band. Maybe one day he'll come back for a visit and they can jam out some tunes.

13. The Almighty Punchdrunk - The Almighty Punchdrunk featuring the almighty Gene Hoglan on the skins was an unencumbered thrash assault that I was lucky enough to see perform at the Cobalt a couple of times. While they already seemed to have a rotating cast of members back then I'm assuming it wouldn't be too difficult to find the right combination of people to do a reunion show. They just might not want to do it at the Cobalt as the crowd there has slightly changed. Their one and only album Music for them Asses was produced by Devin Townsend and still stands up to the test of time 14 years later.

12. Battle Snakes - I happened upon this band opening for the Bronx at Richards on Richards. As the story goes they got a couple hours notice to the gig, still made it to the show and threw down a great set. If anything their set was a little on the reserved side compared to what I would come to witness from them in the future. Singer guitarist Matt Haggerty (now known for running a diner on Hastings called What's Up? Hot Dog!) was known for whipping his guitar around, chugging beers during guitar solos (using only his teeth to keep the beer can attached to his face) and all around rock n roll madness. Their shows were sweaty and their fans were too.

11. The Tvees - This band was either a little bit ahead of their time or WAY behind their time. Garage rock with hooks for miles and catchy beats that make you tap your feet. Every time I saw them playing the crowd was doing much more than just tapping their feet though. Not sure what it was about this band that made everyone get up and dance, but it was a regular occurrence at a TVees show for people to rip off their shirts and wriggle around like Iggy Pop on the dance floor. I never saw the Tvees play a show where people stood around with their arms crossed, and this is Vancouver, people do that a lot here.

10. Pride Tiger - There just aren't enough drummer singers these days, and you know what else? You can't fuck with a drummer singer, especially not this one. Maybe we can even rent the old Sweatshop for an evening when the reunion show happens. A guy can dream can't he?

9. Tobeatic - If you blinked you may have missed this band, but I was lucky enough to catch the stoner rock juggernaut that was Tobeatic on a few occasions. Their Astoria floor shows were insane, but they also had no problem owning the big stage at the Rickshaw Theatre as well. It's always those bands that you think have a great future ahead of them that disappear so quickly. What happened? I don't know, but I'm sure it falls under the category of life getting in the way.

8. Brand New Unit - The first time I ever saw this band was in Kelowna, they were opening up for AFI and I thought they blew them off the stage. Granted I've never been much of an AFI fan, but these guys did it all and threw in a cover of Minor Threat. Sadly by the time I moved to Vancouver they were defunct. However in 2010 they played again for the first time in a decade at the El Dorado and it was excellent. I was blasted back to the 90's for the evening and I loved every second of it. And now there is no more Brand New Unit and no more El Dorado either! So a reunion has happened for BNU already, but it was five years ago and I'm quite ready for another one.

7. Dirty Needles - This band may have put on one of the most disgustingly punk rock sets I have ever witnessed and it had a lasting impression on me. They were only a couple songs in before a pint glass went flying towards the band and smashed on the singer's guitar. Mid song. And he didn't even flinch! Every once in a while you'd see a bottle fly by too. It was like something out of a movie! There was a lot of spitting going on. Band on crowd, crowd on band and the ever popular band on band. I'm not even embellishing when I say people were spitting right in each other's faces. I stayed at the back of the dance floor behind the bulk of the sparse but insanely wild crowd just outside of spitting range with my mouth agape. I had seen the Dirty Needles once before, but it wasn't quite like this. Then the bass player demanded that someone buy him a beer, and I obliged. By the time I got it to the stage they were already into their next song and I pointed it at him and set it down. He was too busy rocking out to notice it though. Based on the way he was stalking and stumbling around the stage I thought for sure he was going to knock it over the edge with his foot. Miraculously the beer stayed on stage, the song finished and he still didn't know it was there. No one seemed to be spitting much so I dodged back up to the front and yelled at him that there was a beer on the stage. He looked down, grabbed it and chugged the entire thing in seconds flat. Then he tried to play another song and started vomiting. He puked on the stage, he puked off the stage, and then if almost by design when the song finished they brought their friend up on stage to take over the bass duties and the bassist grabbed the mic and went completely bonkers. He was yelling into the mic so hard he fell to the stage and rolled around in his own vomit. Then he flopped around like a fish out of water, fell off the stage and flopped around in the puke down there too. He was probably just spreading it around if anything, but it was still nice of him to attempt to clean up his mess a bit.  

6. No Horses - I typically don't like country inspired music, but when the rock n roll shines so much louder than the hickery I'll give it a chance. And boy am I glad I did for this band! Smooth tunes that rocked you to your core and a great live show to boot. Every time this band was playing down at the Black Door I always made sure to be in attendance. And not only because I knew the guy who ran the place and he'd give me free beers, but also because No Horses was always a great way to get all my friends to join me. It wasn't just me who thought they rocked. 

5. Bogus Tokus -
My old band jammed across the hall from these guys and had the same jam time every week. During our smoke breaks we'd rock out listening to them and even through two closed doors they sounded awesome! Psychedelic thrash with some very recognizable vocals. These guys shredded. 

4. Timecopz -
The first time I saw Timecopz I thought, 'yeah that band was alright' but the second time I saw them I thought they were better than alright. And then they continued to get better every time I saw them! From the Biltmore, to Malones, to the Interurban Gallery, to Funky's, back to the Biltmore opening for Guitar Wolf, I'd follow that band to hell and back (ie: Malones). Timecopz brought the perfect blend of garage and punk together and boy oh boy do I miss seeing them play live.

3. Congress - Still to this day this is one of my favourite Vancouver bands, and one that I feel was also severely underrated. First off you've got Jamie Hooper the departed singer from 3 Inches of Blood, and then you've got the wildman Matt Wood on the drums. Stick the guitarist from Baptists on the bass and the Slow Learners frontman on guitar and it was a recipe for serious destruction. It's sad that they didn't live up to their full potential, but what am I gonna do, send them an email and scold them? Hmmm, might not be a bad idea.  

2. S.T.R.E.E.T.S. - Skating Totally Rules Everything Else Totally Sucks. Probably don't even need to write much more than that for Vancouver's finest skate thrash band so I won't. Sure it would seem as if they already did do a string of reunion shows, but who can remember 2008?

1. dbs - I grew up listening to this band. I was a fan the minute I saw the Snowball video on Much Music and ran down to Sam the Record Man the next day to buy their CD for $25, no regrets. We even traveled six hours to see them play in the Cloverdale Show Barn with then little known band Anti Flag. The hours of listening to this band shaped my youth and we'd go see them live any chance we got regardless of who they played with. dbs was made up of kids at the time, kids our age, kids like us! They showed us that we too could form our own band and have as much fun banging around on instruments as it looked like they were having. So we did it. My first ever band covered dbs songs, and our first and only gig was a highschool showcase where we performed outside the gymnasium. We covered their song Racist School and being the vocalist I got suspended the next day. The vice principal told me I made a teacher cry and I laughed leading to my inevitable suspension. dbs progressed with each album until eventually calling it quits in 2001. While they've missed the standard 10 year reunion maybe we can hope for a 15 year reunion gig? Next year? Anybody? dbs built a bandcamp page with everything they've ever recorded. It was great for a huge fan like myself to be able to check out some of the very old cassette tape releases that I had never heard before. I wasn't sure what to link below, then decided on not their most popular, but easily my favourite of all their releases; If Life Were A Result We'd All Be Dead.



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