Monday, November 30, 2015

Catching Up With Tomorrow: Braineater, AKA, Gerry Hannah, Lenore Herb, and more

Fun night the other night at the Pointed Sticks show. Missed Nervous Talk, but I got to see Polly, the Vampire Bats, and at least a few songs from the Pointed Sticks (including an old fave, "True Love," and a new one, "Tsune's Song") before racing off to the Skytrain. Lots of fun, and lots of people I knew in the audience (though Grant forgot to bring me a copy the Monster Stalkers 7"). The next gig of note for those with one foot firmly planted in the past is Friday the 4th at VIVO, where Gerry Hannah's band - the New Questioning Coyote Brigade, quite the mouthful there - will play, among many others. (Gerry promises this time out he WILL do "Sure Looks that Way," absent from the set last time here, plus acoustic reworkings of a couple of his Subhumans songs). Apologies for not laundry-listing the bands (like Dennis Mills' band the Judys, the band without whom none of this would be happening). but you can read the poster!
Of these - unless I caught BAMFF at the Scratch Records Birthday celebrations - I've only seen I, Braineater before. In fact, one of my first experiences of Vancouver punk was seeing Jim open for the Dead Kennedys at the New York Theatre in 1984, wearing a black leather jacket and playing, I *think*, solo on guitar (but maybe there was a drummer? It was very stripped down, in any case; I really do think it was just him). The only detail that stands out from that far back was that at some point he took a beer receptacle to the noggin (it was surely a can, not a bottle or glass, though memory does not serve) and did NOT miss a chord. I was impressed. I actually knew a couple of his songs that night (like his gender-bender classic "Davie Street"), because I used to have his private-press LP (also featuring "You Now Alleyway Quick," which was kind of my favourite), which, as I recall, I dug out of a thrift store for $1.99 (I think there was a Value Village open in Maple Ridge by that time, though I might be wrong). I was 16, and because of my suburban dislocation and the lack of all ages shows, that was really my first ever punk gig, so I had no idea what to really expect, but was most impressed... To my amazement, when I caught him a couple of years ago at a Ron Reyes' birthday event (I think it was!) he performed with even more energy, was veritably Iggylike in the conviction of his delivery. I could stand to see him perform again.
I barely know the other acts, though I've been listening to Dennis Mills and Alex Varty's band, AKA, who were obviously at the cutting edge of the form back when their EP was released in 1980 - it's every bit as adventurous as New York No Wave (which is presumably where it was coming from; No New York had come out in 1978, so Alex had to be aware of/ influenced by Arto Lindsay and such). If I can make it out to my storage locker this week I might be able to dig out a tape of the late Lenore Herb, the Vancouver scene videographer whose work this event will be serving to help digitize, because I did talk to her about her desire to digitize this stuff, shortly before her untimely death. People with a vested interest in preserving her legacy should definitely make it to the show...

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