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The Pack AD / Cadaver Dogs / The TVees / Valerie Graham
June 20th, 2008
So we swagger in with our free stamps and I'm feelin' good – old friends in the house, old friends at the bar, fist of beer; I enjoy the ANZA and its sensibly priced drinks. Opener Valerie Graham is a tattooed girl with a guitar, and every musician in the house shouts her praises. It's not so much my bag, a little too sleepy and mellow, at least until she shrieks, “Cat fight! Cat fight! RreeooOOWWW!” repeatedly at 140 decibels of pain. It's a real love-hate thing. Next up: The TVees! These three-sharply dressed gents have gripped my booty and noggin in recent weeks and got me doin' the mashed potato. It's pure 50's teenage rave and makes me feel like a million bucks; sweaty rock'n'roll with a keen appreciation for the hook (a lost art?). The party-hearty Cadaver Dogs follow – not the most revolutionary band in town, of course, but goddamn if they ain't the funnest! Accurately self-described as “the Blue Cheer of Country Rock” (I wish I'd coined that), the Dogs never fail to make me grin real stoooopid-like. Unfortunately, Ms. Graham started late and the Dogs have to trim their set. They still make time for the eternal “Beer Flavoured Beer”, thank god. New guitarist Mike L. (of the Surf Messiahs) is an ace replacement for irreplacable Brad Damsgaard and bassist Doug Smith is probably the nicest dude in the entire Vancouver music community. So there.
Which leaves the Pack A.D., back in town for their only summer Vancity show until the August release of their hot sophomore disc, Funeral Mixtape. Ohhh... it's such firecracker excitement twirled with painful nostalgia when a local band gets too big for Vancouver's britches, isn't it? Becky & Maya have conquered the world in 2008 at a Thorogood-worthy rate of sweaty tour exhaustion.
And having seen 25-30 Pack shows in my life, it was a shock to hear two NEW tracks open the show (newer than new, natch!), with karate-smash classic 'Snow' pushed back to third. Maya was dropping some rad open-hi-hat/trap shiiiit up there. Stoked, I was! The ANZA sound was peculiar, I couldn't hear much of Becky's blues-goddess lungs, but otherwise the band was as marvelous as ever, even whipping out 'I Like to Drink', one of their oldest, simplest, silliest compositions, sub-par for a studio recording, but certainly fun-as-fuck live.
Most memorable was the gang of smelly youngsters doing this moshy, fruity, hardcore dance-thing up front. Limbs were everywhere, one of them knocking over my beer (on purpose?) – my last beer, still full – spilling it all over the stage. I confronted the lil' tyke, who promptly barked at ME for parking a beer in his dance radius. I slapped him. His smelly girlfriend yelled at me and I swore at her. Another smelly kid barked at me for swearing at the girl and I swore at him. Baron, the very nice Aging Rockstar Reviewer, bought me a replacement beer and I supressed the urge to get punchy on some teenagers. This was wise, as the kids were apparently related to Becky and I would've felt pretty chumpy in the morning for making a total ass of a good evening. DANGER AVERTED.