Looking for a much needed escape from Olympic mayhem, I loaded into my time warping phone booth and set the place and date for a punk rock show in the Lower Mainland, circa 1994. Expecting to end up in a dingy basement in Cloverdale or at the Langley Civic Center, I was quite surprised when the portal spat me out in the parking lot behind the Eldorado Hotel. When I stepped inside though, I knew I was in the right place—the bar looked like someone’s rumpus room, the crowd was full of familiar faces and the bill had the words Brand New Unit at the top.
Hard Feelings started things off, blasting into a furious set of scrappy, yet technical, melodic punk rock, prompting Eldorado regulars to seek refuge in the abandoned smoking room. Next up was Thee Manipulators, who blazed through a set of warp speed garage rock that got everybody sweating. Then the time came for Brand New Unit to take the stage. The growing crowd of aged hardcore kids, some even sporting their vintage Brand New Unit basketball jerseys, filled in, eager to revisit one of the greatest eras of Vancouver punk rock. Aside from a few grey or missing hairs, the band looked much the same and when they played that first note, they defiantly sounded the same. They were amazingly tight and crisp for a band that hasn’t played together in ten years. They ploughed through a set of melodic hardcore that had their friends and fans running in circles, raising their fists, grinning and singing along. Most importantly, the band was having just as much fun as the rest of us. They reminded us what hardcore was all about and proved themselves to be the best band to ever come out of Surrey.