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The Vogue Theatre - December 4, 2013

If you consider yourself a punk, metal head or skater, then why the fuck weren’t you at the Slam City Tour? Too cold outside? That didn’t stop piles of these scary-looking fuckers from cramming into the Vogue on December 4th to witness the best show of 2013 and a band that has been credited as the fathers of crossover thrash, Suicidal Tendencies.

Sacramento’s Trash Talk started the festivities and warmed up the growing crowd with their chaotic style of hardcore punk meshed with grindcore. By the time Terror took to the stage, the place was packed.


As sure as there will be annoying Xmas decorations out weeks before the big day...

There will be annoying roadblocks so don’t drink and drive, kids. We got some gig listings and some news in this column to keep you maniacs smashing and dashing through the December fog and rain.


Enigmas - tiina liimu photo

Live and Revealed

This anomaly returns for one special night! But who are they? Well, by the ‘80s, this missing link had grown out of Vancouver’s punk scene. They may have worn the “psychedelic garage rock” moniker, but there seems to be so much more about them. With a raucous live show reputation, they’d launch onto stage in their second-hand store ‘60s garb, props, humour and a night of high-energy rock ‘n’ roll.

 So, fast-forward to 2013 and three of the four original members have been busy rehearsing. Spotted in the jam space, Paul McKenzie (Real McKenzies) is on vocals and sax, Randy Bowman (Scramblers, Subhumans) on drums, Mike Davies (Cane Toads, JP5) on guitar and Stephen Hamm (Slow, Tank Hog) joins them on bass once again, since the 2010 astounding Enigmas birthday show for Spores vocalist Danny Nowak.

 So, why the show now, just out of the blue? “Because Mike said so,” answers Bowman. Mackenzie appears to nod in agreement. Davies, silent on the matter just walks in with a liquid light show projector and an incredible 12-string, “Ventures” Mosrite in hand. It was a hushed moment, where you just have to respect that actions do speak louder than words.

 These mystery pranksters came together in the early ‘80s with Davies, McKenzie and Olinek. Cam Wagner was originally on drums but he couldn’t make all the live shows. So, enter Bowman, as he had just finished with the disbanded Subhumans. McKenzie, a cook at the time had prepared Bowman a memorable meal in a restaurant visit and the two had bonded. The original bassist Brian Olinek unfortunately no longer plays with the band, as he has relocated.

 But the origin of the band name? After a good 45 minutes of long winding tales, the true confession finally leaked. “Spoik came up with it [Spoik being the guitarist Davies’ handle],” says McKenzie. “We just figured it was a good idea at the time.”

 And the band sound? With the punk scene settling down, they found themselves listening to the Pebbles garage compilations, also MC5 and Iggy. The Detroit influence had a hold on the front man, he claimed it spawned a ‘70s Detroit pilgrimage for him. “We play a lot of Sonics songs,” says Bowman, and “five of our set are Sonics songs.” Texas psych classics such Roky Erickson and Red Crayolas were discussed. “We love, The Coasters, “5” Royales, and American jazz,” Bowman and McKenzie spurted and the name James Brown spilled out as well. With wildly diverse influences the band seemed to retain an elevated drive. “As for the bass melodies, Olinek wanted to play as fast as he could,” says the drummer, explaining the bass playing took on a guitar role. Self-production and artwork was a big part of Davies contribution “If Mike Davies wants it, it happens,” says Bowman.

 They had recorded some material with help from Zulu Records. Two twelve-inch records emerged, Strangley Wild in 1985 and Enigmas? from 1983. They can also be found on a few comps and 45s. A clever holiday, Christmas song "Roadblocks Are All Over This Town" is on Ukhisimuzi, a 1984 Zulu seven-inch, and a Halloween song can be found on the 1984 Hollow Weiners comp. Then suddenly McKenzie makes a connection and breaks out singing the hilarious creepy “Dead Zoo” while seated at the table. “Danny’s favourite song,” adds McKenzie.

 After some prodding about a studio visit, the boys broke down and revealed. “We have a plan to rerecord some of the material that never made it out,” says Bowman and adds, one of the songs being “Charlie,” about Charlie Manson and another number about riding a bike. No studio yet, but you are going have to go to the live show to catch these! So hop a bike, unfold your “Windshield Wiper” dance step directions and get set!

 On Saturday, January 11, 2014 join the Enigmas for yet another celebration at the WISE Hall and Lounge

- tiina.l


Nihilate -  photo by Kim Thiessen

manifestation of the beast

by Heath Fenton

photo by Kim Thiessen

 Bands often encounter challenges. The band Nihilate can attest and have overcome these trials by channelling the results into a video release. Tracing this path brings us back to 2010. After releasing their first full-length album Synthetic Order, they were dealt with the unfortunate departure of their lead vocalist.

This is probably one of the most frustrating situations a band can encounter. As the band regrouped, they managed to catch a break when heavy-hitting scene veteran Cam Kroetsch (Process, Minority, Punchdrunk) came aboard to play guitar. So, the campaign was on to recruit a new vocalist with wanted ads posted online and posters hung all over town. Sadly, no one had enough muster to fill the void.

 So the rejuvenated crew of Kroetsch, second guitarist Matthew Frost and bassist Grant Era decided to tackle the job themselves and turned it into a unique situation with three leads on vocals. Playing metal and singing isn’t easy, especially when the vocal parts were written by an ‘instrument-less’ front man. “I’m really proud of everyone for stepping up and losing their voices every night to try and better the band,” Frost gleams. “It’s nice that we have three guys who can sing and back each other up.” There is no doubt that the revitalized Nihilate, rounded out with harefooted drummer Wes Kennedy, could pull it together and move on to be a dominant force in Vancouver’s metal scene. You can say that these challenges had fueled the anger that now translates into a hungry Nihilate.

They sound like a caged animal finally released to kill. A band which came out swinging garnering some high profile opening slots with 3 Inches Of Blood, Goatwhore and Soulfly. Fitting counterparts who slam hard with old school thrash ideals and brush strokes of extreme metal. This is ‘some pissed-off music.’ Their video for “Face Of Aggression” is gathering a decent amount of traffic and gaining notoriety.

Rather than releasing a record, another video is in the works as they plan a forward thinking approach to the ever-evolving music industry. “With a video you can reach mass people super quick, so why not?” explains Kroetsch. “The shows we’ve done since the video, people have come up to me and say that the video is the reason they’re at the show.”

  Nihilate rings the neck of perseverance and makes sure it pays off. Do yourself a favour and catch them at Diecemberfest, December 13 at The Rickshaw Theatre.



Holiday tunes that matter

It’s that time of year again kids! It is Vancouver’s annual Christmas party for the underground. This is not your boring drab of an office party with dreadful catering, lack of alcohol and secret Santas. Nope, this is Diecemberfest. And it promises to be filled with rowdy patrons, cheap domestic beer, and ear splitting music. It’s an opportunity for the extreme music scene to take a break from the holiday doldrums. Where you can hoist a brew, snarl, spit and rage. All the while chaotic riffage, bomb dropping beats and tormented screams put an end to all silent nights.

Now in its fifth year, Diecemberfest in reality, has nothing to do with Christmas and everything to do with celebrating the dynamic heavy music populace that Vancouver has going for it. You’d have to go back to the 1990s to find it in a healthier state. The aught years brought a lull of sorts. The broken pieces from that period were picked up and buried, but not for good. Several years ago a shovel struck the cold winter earth and exhumed a healthy crop of new bands full of a fresh breed of flesh, stubborn scene veterans, and a resilience that only heavy music can provide. This did not go unnoticed by Diecemberfest creator Johnny Matter of Apocalypse Sunrise Productions. “About five years ago I noticed there was a big resurgence of new bands in Vancouver that were just starting out, many from old bands,” Matter recollects. “So I thought to take it upon myself to try and put on a little festival based on the concept of new era Vancouver bands coming from old bands that have broken up.”

The festival has come full circle from the original night five years ago that saw a four-band bill pack Pat’s Pub. Diecemberfest now commands a double night of mayhem. With the help Crowsnest Productions (The Rickshaw) and No Bullocks Events (Funkys), Diecemberfest will invade two different establishments that have carved out a legendary place in this venue starved extreme music landscape. Sixteen local bands in all will become a spectacle to feverish supporters that chose the night as their winter wonderland. And that amount of bands only scratches the surface of what Vancouver has to offer. Every year it’s all blood and no tears for Matter, who literally has to turn away dozens of want-to-be Diecemberfest bands. That’s just how healthy this scene is.

In a season of mistletoes and lack of live shows, the month of December makes for a perfect platform for locals to come together. “Obviously people are out shopping and leaving town. But people are also going out for drinks, living it up and having fun,” says Matter. “I don’t really celebrate the holiday, so Diecemberfest is my Christmas. It’s a way that I can celebrate with friends and have cheers, beers, play music and have fun. That’s what it’s all about.”

And in the true spirit of the season, Matter is awarding gift bags for food bank donations to help the less fortunate. “Aggressive music gets a real bad rep. Outsiders think we might be real scary, not-good people. That doesn’t fairly represent the people who play this type of music. Most of which are some of the most genuine people you will meet. So it is kind of my way of saying we are part of the community, we’re helping out,” he adds.

The first night features featuring Archspire, Burning Ghats, Sinned, Anion, Nihilate, Ogroem, Dungeons, and Nautilus. Night two unleashes Tyrants Blood, Life Against Death, Zuckuss, Abriosis, Dead Again, Memorial, Destroy All and Witch Of The Waste.

So, if you haven’t heard, there is a Christmas party for all you miscreants out there. Diecemberfest is the two nights your true love for music gave to thee.

Diecemberfest happens December 13 at The Rickshaw and December 14 at Funkys.


Attractive Distraction - Independent

The debut album from East Vancouver’s Shockload starts off with a real cooker of a song with “Settle The Score”. The song pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album as relenting is not something that interests this group. Shockload’s sound can best be described as a band that borders on greasy rock and gutter punk. The vocals are sung with a snarl and there are some tasty guitar solos too.


SUBCULTURE by wendythirteen

Last month, we lost Canadian punk rocker Nev the Impaler... Neil Robert Burns was an original member and guitar player for The Dayglo Abortions... There will be a memorial show on Friday, December 13th at Funkys to celebrate his life... The Dayglos are playing and there will be a jam / tribute / spoken word aspect to the show during intermissions and just before the Dayglos take the stage... We will also be having a raffle 50/50 type of thing full of band merch and other goodies to raise a bit of dough for his daughter Jules, whom he had just reconnected with when she moved out here recently... I'm glad they had that time before his passing... On that day, Nev had been jamming and recording, doing what he loved... If any bands/artists want to donate some stuff to the raffle get a hold of Deborah or me or just bring the stuff to the show and we'll add it to the prize pack...