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PERCHERON photo by tiina liimu

Lonesome tales and the dark horse

When asked if these dark ballads are fact or fiction? “They are all factual,” answers the lead vocalist and guitarist-harmonica player Gordon Smith. Losing many friends and family early in life, “Everything from car accidents to suicides, homicides, drugs, booze, guns and the list goes on and on,” he recalls and “the name Percheron comes from a large breed of work horses my dad use to have a lot of them on our farm in Nova Scotia.” Growing up with a large family of six brothers and three sisters also provides much nourishment for material. “Percheron reminds me a lot of my dad so that was my main decision in the name,” he adds.

This beautiful yet melancholy music is indeed ridden with tragedy. “I found my father dead two days before my 20th birthday,” says Smith. “I have broken 26 bones in my body; been put in the hospital for 18 months one time; 324 staples put in my back to repair a fully-transected bronchial tube after being thrown from a car into a tree then crushed in-between the car and tree.”

Percheron is another large family graced with gifted members from many shared and very different musical projects. Gordon Smith and guitarist vocalist Brock MacInnes both play with Tobeatic, Cooked and Eaten and Rotting Hills. Smith is also with the D-beat powered Erosion. Ainsleah Hastings is on vocals and Blake Bamford from Dire Wolves on banjo, guitar and vocals. Tegan Ceschi-Smith from Cornshed came on board through good friends and she plays fiddle and sings vocals. Tim Mathias on bass and vocals is also with The Harmonic Cosmonauts. Drummer, Joel Loewen from Tobeatic introduced Smith to Jacob Mullen on pedal steel. This diversity of heavy and roots brings much weight to the table. “I just show them the base of the song and lyrics and they just take it and go with it,” explains Smith. “They are all such amazing musicians and add so much to every song all of them and so much fun to work with.”

A self-titled 10-inch vinyl with five tracks is getting ready to release late May, early June. Some early cassette tapes were available with Sian MacLeod’s artwork. “We sold out of them in a couple shows,” says Smith. With a prolific working relationship, this project recorded, mixed and mastered by Jesse Gander at the Hive studios is the 28th album they have done together in eight years. A photo book has been compiled for the physical vinyl release and artwork is by Alexis Hogan, a complete package.

This lonesome magic can be experienced with upcoming shows May 3rd in Sooke plus May 4th at Logan’s Pub and you can hear and purchase the self-titled digital release at their Bandcamp now.

- tiina.l



nice guys finish worst

by Heath Fenton

 Some say that most heavy metal artists must have a split personality. Otherwise how can they be so evil and violent onstage but yet most are actually down-to-earth friendly people. A perfect example of this is Andrew Drury. Most notably Drury is the lead vocalist for local noise metal merchants Baptists. And if you’ve seen him perform live before you know that when he is onstage there is no audience member, venue equipment or full drink that is not in immediate danger. Known for violent ramblings and sudden outbursts, Drury is actually probably more of a threat to his own well being. But if you talk to the chap offstage, he is really soft-spoken and humble; a complete 360 from what you see up there. “I definitely don't consciously try to go crazy onstage or anything,” Drury speaks of his antics. “Heavy music has always just amped me up. It makes me want to circle pit and punch holes through things.” Sounds like a bunch of fun, don’t it?

 Drury has a new band on the side called Depressing where he plays guitar and sings. The music is fitting for the name. It’s got a sort of a down-and-dirty grunge metal vibe to it. It’s not at all sexy. Unless you’re into trench whores. All though a chipper young fellow in the flesh his lyrical approach is quite dismal. “I basically just write about whatever has been on my mind the most at that period of time.” Metal does tend to take people to bleak places but Drury explains, “I'm pretty sure that my lyrics would always be in the same vein regardless of the style of music.” And still, I can’t get him to admit that he is a nice guy. “Maybe you just happened to catch me at the right time,” Drury seems to sneer.

 Rounding out the Depressing line-up is Ryan on drums and Chuzzz on bass. They have a real DIY ethic to them so you won’t be seeing them around the Internet anytime soon. You can purchase their new record, Life Just Gets Worse, at one of their few and far between shows. Their Rickshaw show will be their first show in almost a year.

 So make sure to show up, witness the spectacle and judge for yourself just where nice guys finish. Depressing play the Rickshaw on May 26 with Barn Burner, Hopeleus, and Astrakhan.  



too loud to stay in the garage

by MatthewYoudan

No See Ums have been called invisible, biting, and even annoying pests of the East Coast. Vancouver's band of the same name even has some affiliation for this term. “It’s slang for a little biting gnat,” says guitarist and songwriter Mike Roche. Yet they recently recorded a catchy, bombastic seven-song EP with Otic Sound's Joshua Stevenson, highlighting a year of insanely loud amps and heartfelt rock bravado from veteran rockers Alex Angel, Mike Roche, and Keytar Middlechilds.  

“This was going to be an acoustic dinner lounge project, but then Alex wanted to play drums,” Roche jokes, regarding their move from Vancouver's once infamous garage act Thee Manipulators. They immediately penned seven songs and searched for an adequate pianist to play keys, when they were put in touch with Middlechilds. Previously a bassist for the short-lived Vancouver punk act Trimesters, she found a stronger role musically as a key member in the swollen volume of No See Um's act.  

This three-piece garage act plays their songs in string busting three-minute blasts, sounding like the Oblivians, the Monks, or King Khan and the Shrines. Their live performances are ridiculously loud, sonically obliterating, a justification for bringing or buying earplugs. Roche, however, regards his songs as second-hand reworkings that have yet to be discovered. “All of our songs are going to come back and haunt us, because one day someone is going to say you've done this to a tee,” he regards with all earnestness. 
This project also sees Angel switching instruments, sitting behind the kit despite a reputation as guitarist and the rubber-faced centre of attention in Thee Manipulators. Their recent performances highlight his aptitude for insanely loud beatings and near trashing of house kits. “I didn't like all the attention from the girls, I wanted them to focus more on the music,” he comments. Roche chides in, “He's really looking forward to hauling around even more gear.” 

A highlight of their latest project was last years' billing at the Seattle's now defunct, but infamous, Funhouse. They reunited with Stevie Kicks, a former band mate of Angel's in the pop punk group New Town Animals. “We wanted to play before they closed, and Brian Foss gave us a coveted Saturday night to throw whatever bill we wanted,” Roche recalls. “The venue itself is going to be the subject of a Kickstarter-funded documentary.” 

This month they're making a brief appearance before embarking on releasing their self-titled EP. It's Alex's 40th birthday, but his girlfriend said he was just going to be at home eating soup, cites Roche about their next excursion. “I figured to throw piss in the wind and see what happened.” Thus, music biologists have reported that No-See-Ums have been discovered all over the Pacific Northwest.

However, No-See-Ums, the self-titled EP will be available for download this month here: http://noseeums.bandcamp.combandcamp


BLACK TUSK photo by Geoff L. Johnson

there is something in the Savannah water and it’s tainted with metal 

by Heath Fenton

Every once and a while a vibrant music scene will emerge from some random city. More recently it has happened in cities such as Seattle, Montreal, and Detroit to name a few.  It’s not like these places needed to get put on the map, but the music scene they provided created a folklore of hipness amongst the music community.  The latest city to gain such steam is a most unlikely one.  The sleepy southern hollow of Savannah Georgia has been gathering speed in the underground metal world.  Black Tusk is one of the heads of the Savannah three-headed band monster also consisting of Baroness and Kylesa. Some buzz publications might have you believe that Savannah is the new place for bands to move to and live out your rock and roll dreams. Nothing could be further from the truth, stresses Black Tusk guitarist/vocalist Anton Fidler. “That has been a giant misconception.  Savannah barely even has a scene.  People seem to think that it’s us, Baroness and Kylesa playing every fucking weekend.  It’s not like that at all.  Savannah has an art college and there’s just a ton of hipster kids and they just want to listen to DJs and indie rock.”  In fact, Savannah doesn’t even have a record store. But whatever city council has been spiking the Savannah water supply with it has rubbed off the right way on a few.

Fidler and his Black Tusk band mates Jonathon Athon (bass/vocals) and Jamie May (drums/vocals) all formed on the same street.  They grew up through their formative years with some like-minded folk and eventually just started their own little metal scene through friends and hangers-on at a DIY venue called The Jinx.  If they were all to tour together and the bus crashed killing them all, the Savannah underground music scene would be wiped clean.  Black Tusk are so constantly lumped in with the other two Savannah bands that you’d think they’d get sick of the comparisons.  Although there is a similar Savannah sound steeped in a proggy sludge, the reality is that all three have unique characteristics to their sound.  Black Tusk is like the dirty ugly cousin.  “It’s like this,” explains Fidler, “we’re the Motörhead , Kylesa are the Pink Floyd and Baroness are the Led Zeppelin.”  An analogy I couldn’t agree with more.  With roots sprung from an early love of punk rock, Black Tusk can get it all on with crust, raunch, sludge and they hit hard. Fiddler goes on, “It’s sometimes a little bit of punk rock, sometimes a little bit of rock and roll and always heavy metal.

Black Tusk are currently touring their fourth album entitled Set the Dial, their debut for Relapse Records.   And they’ve been touring their ass off since 2006.  They will be returning to Vancity after just playing here a couple of months ago as one of the openers for the KEN mode/Todays the Day tour.
I was at the show and they absolutely pummelled the Rickshaw’s hard concrete walls. That was their first time in Canada for about three or four years, Fidler figures.  It’s the usual story of border problems that have steered Black Tusk away: “It’s definitely a hassle but once we’re across all the Canadian shows are awesome. Great enthusiastic crowds.” Fidler says about crossing the border last tour. “I was a little taken aback about spending 50 dollars on a 30-pack of beer. That was a little bit crazy.” But grouchy border guards and expensive beer aside, Black Tusk have nothing but good things to say about our fair country.

Black tusk play the Rickshaw theatre on May 5th with Kvelertak and Burning Ghats.


SUBCULTURE by wendythirteen

Some sad news to pass along.... Caleb Henyu-Crowchild passed away mid-April in his sleep... He was a strong supporter of the punk and metal music scene and rarely missed a gig.... To honour him as an exemplary single dad and raise some funds for his girls, we are having a couple of shows coming up in May...

 The first one is his memorial show on Monday, May 6 featuring the Dayglo Abortions with Snaggletooth [Motörhead] and the Fight United... There will be a 50/50 draw and a donation box at the show... A second full fundraiser show is slated for Saturday, May 18 and is being co-organized with RC Guns and her band the Wett Stilettos... Both shows are at Funkys 37 West Hastings...


CASUALTIES photo by Cat Ashbee
CASUALTIES - Cat Ashbee photo

Rickshaw Theatre - April 11, 2013

NYC Casualties launched off with “My Blood, My Life, Always Forward,” from their new LP Resistance. Front man Jorge led the pandemonium provoking punx to move beyond the barricades with songs from On The Front Line, For The Punx, Diehards, and Underground Army albums from 1997 onwards.

 Despite the fact that these streetpunks just released on metal label Season of the Mist, there was no shortage of a charged mosh at this show. Finishing off with ‘97 anthem "RIOT" and the words to “We Are All We Have Tonight” inciting a sing-along that will ring true and in your head for days to come.


Subrosa photo by tiina liimu

The Astoria - April 20, 2013

This past Saturday presented ample opportunity to catch some new to these ears musical goodness and mix with the bearded jean-jacketed types as a rush of quality metal from straight up hardcore to complex violin-rich doom graced the stage of the Astoria. Thank God the ear protection was firmly in place.