Photos and words by Jon Vincent
The night started in a sushi joint somewhere in the boundary of Burnaby and New Westminster. When two Spanish-speaking girls started singing along together – using their iPhones as karaoke machines – and laughing at the same time, a thought came to mind: “This is going to be a good night for music.”
Then I’m off to my next stop. Our destination: Astorino’s.
Peeking through the blanket curtains from the outside, a red fluorescent light covers the whole venue. The four bands on the bill: Skunt, Lunch Lady, Shearing Pinx (who have been around the longest out of any of the bands tonight), and Cascadia.
Astorino’s is an all ages venue that is being leased to Safe Amp, who has volunteers across the Lower Mainland and promotes all ages events. I believe these young audiences/musicians are the next wave for Vancouver Music.
I thought I was going to be late and miss the first band of the night. I arrived just in time for Skunt, who was in the middle of their sound check. A three piece all girl band. They look young, but all have the confidence of seasoned musicians.
The band started the night with a song about grabbing a guy’s nuts, making sure he’s a man! That – everyone – is confidence! This band is not afraid to sing things out loud. They spent the next 20 mins playing songs about being strong and confident, while a montage of Steve Buscemi movies accompanied as a background that is projected from the side of the stage.
Next up: Lunch Lady. Three piece feminist punk band. Singing their hearts out on every show I have seen them play. They just released a tape with Hot Fruit from Washington state.
The audience was a bit reluctant to get close to the stage until Sasha of Cascadia bravely stood between the band and the audience. In an instant, the swarm of young listeners occupied the once empty space. They then started to sway forward and back to the slow beats of the band.
Most songs started with good heavy bass lines, followed by the growling voice of the the duet, Marita and Zoe. Why can’t everyone sing like them!! With all heart and sound. They closed the set with a song called “Doris,” which, according to the lead singer, meant “that time of the month.”
The oldest band on the bill, and the only band on the bill I have not seen live, took the stage. They have a new member, Sydney of the band The Courtneys. I have heard of Shearing Pinx for a while now, but I never got a chance to check out their show. Well, I almost did, but I was busy talking to a friend outside Rainbow Connection.
The band describe themselves as experimental and improvisational. They are drony and experimental. This is a band, and a genre, that everyone needs to see to appreciate.
One unconventional thing (besides the sound), I saw was how the bass was being played on their last song. Sydney kept lightly tapping the bout with her palm. This technique made a good distorted sound.
Everything sounded different and good! I would definitely see them again.
In between bands the sound person played a heartbeat which goes well with the red blood lighting.
The last band of the night: Cascadia. Members Sasha and Dan, who have been in the Vancouver music scene for a while now, are joined by a young talented guitar player named Cam. They just started rocking the place, and kept the energy high until their last song. As always they played a fast paced and loud set. With Sasha’s drum skills getting better and better throughout the years. Combined with the two other very talented musicians, Cascadia is one band to look out for.
If you haven’t got a chance to see any of the bands mentioned, please go to their next show and make sure to bring some ear plugs.
by Jon Vincent
A photographer from New Westminster, BC that covers live concerts and art events in the Lower Mainland.