Limbs of the Stars

with Dirty Spells & Selina Koop
August 8 @ Merge

Limbs of the Stars || photo by Jensen Gifford

Limbs of the Stars || photo by Jensen Gifford

“Ask around.” That’s the catch phrase for many concert-goers right now—and it’s not just for after hours.

After the city was strangled of many of its longstanding live music venues, both small and large (R.I.P. Richard’s), over the past half-decade, new blood is beginning to flow through the veins of our city once again. The soft orange light from various Japanese laterns, red velvet curtain, homely atmosphere, and careful curation have fast made Merge a destination venue worth seeking out. The evening of August 8 was no exception.

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Other Jesus tour kickoff

with Tough Age & Mormon Crosses & Quitting
August 14 @ Pseudonym

A dark, kind of smoky venue — which can only be discreetly referred to as Pseudonym — hosted some of Vancouver’s finest garage bands on August 14 in a send-off for post-punk outfit Other Jesus’ first-ever tour. Titled “Best Stoned/Most Dressed,” the tour name made for an appropriate wordplay because the show brought out some well-dressed and others almost certainly stoned. The crowd began small but grew gradually as the night went on, gathering tightly around the bands as they played — it felt intimate, like a secret party for the cool kids.

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Badbadnotgood

with Sabota
August 12 @ Venue

Badbadnotgood || photo by Brandon Lal

Badbadnotgood || photo by Brandon Lal

Every once in a while a group, or a musician, comes along and challenges everything society thinks they know about the youth of the day. Chubby Checker made the Twist cool just like Bird did 52nd street lifestyle. The King did the zombie and Madonna made him beg for it. Every generation can claim something from music.

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Shout Back! Festival Sunday finale recap

Various bands
August 10 @ Rainbow Connection

Smear Lord || photo by Jacey Gibb

Smear Lord || photo by Jacey Gibb

After three days of workshops, anarchist bookfairs, rad shows, and overall coming-togetherness, this year’s Shout Back! came to its inevitable end with a kick-ass finale that closed the festival in style.

Spirits were still high and though not every band provided the right soundtrack to get attendees moving, you wouldn’t have guessed that most of the audience at Rainbow Connection had spent the better part of a weekend already taking in as much of the festival as possible.

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Shout Back! Festival, Saturday recap, Pt 2

Various bands
August 9 @ Astorino's

Power Altar || photo by SVES Yeung

Power Altar || photo by Sves Yeung

Arriving at Astorino’s shortly after the printed start time, I waited out back with some friends for the music to start and ate a free meal offered by the Shout Back! Festival organizers. Take note: a full stomach is vital to surviving a full evening of music.

First on stage was Sajia Sultana, whose voice filled the room with an eerie high-pitched shrill that traversed the room to wrap the space as a whole.

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Shout Back! Festival, Saturday recap, Pt 1

Various bands
August 9 @ Astorino's

Celibacy Now || photo by Marcin Lasinski

Celibacy Now || photo by Marcin Lasinski

This year’s Shout Back! Festival—an all-ages “anti-capitalist, diy, feminist, punk festival [...] created by and for gay, trans, queer, people of colour, indigenous and/or women artists”—kicked off on the Drive late last week. With its impressive roster of punk bands, provocative workshops, and a bustling anarchist book fair to boot—all executed with an admirable commitment to accessibility, anti-appropriation, and the provision of safe spaces—Shout Back! gave attendees plenty of reasons to raise their fists against systemic patriarchy.

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Shout Back! Festival, Friday recap

Various bands
August 8 @ Rainbow Connection

The guy sitting next to me on the bus ride to Shout Back! — an anti-capitalist, DIY, feminist, punk festival — was falling all over me, boozily asking if I had ever been to the nude beach and insisting that I should be a little open-minded and accompany him down there at that very moment. Naturally I took the close-minded bitch approach of sticking to my pre-existing plans, but I do have to hand it to the guy: he really got me in the mood for an anti-oppressive dance party.

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Shimmering Stars

with Skinny Kids
August 2 @ Electric Owl

Shimmering Stars || photo by Missy Martin

Shimmering Stars || photo by Missy Martin

Just south of the Georgia Viaduct lies the Electric Owl, a venue complete with exposed brick walls, moderately priced beer, and, by some miracle, a clean set of washrooms. The latter may be the reason why this venue is quickly becoming one my favourite places to catch a show in Vancouver, as well as their ability to showcase strong local talent.

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Woods

with Quilt & Three Wolf Moon
August 1 @ Fox Cabaret

Woods || photo by Brandon Davelal

Woods || photo by Brandon Lal

In the socio-political turbulence of the 1960s, challenging traditional ways of taking in information was often realized through an intake of mind altering substances. On August 1, a night of psychedelics similarly began inside the feverishly hot Fox Cabaret. Multiple-part harmonics, rippling reverb, winding jams, and tempo transformations themed the evening. At their best, the effective use of acid rock aesthetics offered blissful escapism; at their worst, they flickered briefly into a bad trip.

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Pat Lok

“The crowds in Vancouver are great too, but I think touring is very important. You have to get out and find these different places, these little niches, where the sound is growing.”

Pat Lok || photo by by Yulia Badayeva

Pat Lok || photo by by Yulia Badayeva

“I’m working on a track at the moment that I started in Mexico when I was really drunk after this 6 a.m. gig. You know, when you’re so drunk and you can’t sleep? The room was spinning.”

It’s in the evening’s early hours and I’m sitting on a rooftop patio with Pat Lok, Vancouver-born DJ and house music producer. It’s just me, Lok, and the last two beer he had left in his fridge.

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