Sometimes Vancouver's music scene gets it wrong. Missing Three O'Clock Train with the Dils - that was a mistake on the part of a lot of people, which I pointed out, chiding asshole that I am, here. The last band I saw at the Astoria, too - Spear of Destiny - deserved a much bigger crowd, considering the quality of what they did. That's one of the reasons I went to such lengths (part one, part two) to give Flipper press. In terms of sheer transcription time, it's the hardest I've worked to plug a local show in years, but I did not trust that people would know to catch the show, that people would understand what they had the chance to see, and wanted to do everything in my (extremely limited) range of power to help make it a successful night.
I don't know if my articles helped, or if it was just down to word of mouth about Yow's reputation as a frontman, or if Generic is an album that all the punks of Vancouver actually all know - but I am happy to report that Vancouver - the audience - knocked it out of the park last night. Before even writing about Flipper, I have to say I am soooooo glad that the Astoria was fucking PACKED. It was the most fun I can remember having at a concert, and it does my heart good to know that people got to appreciate this. Some people were more wasted than others, and the bouncers had some stressors trying to deal with the VERY porous wall between the audience and the stage, which Yow broke more than anyone - but from the opening act (the Authorities - did everyone but me know that the drummer was Orville Lancaster of Bishop's Green?) people were totally engaged and attentive and havin' fun. (All three openers were amazing, also including Chain Whip - Joshy of the Jolts sings hardcore! - and Lie, which is supposed to have an accent over the "e" that I don't know how to make, and who sounded like a female version of the Wipers on really powerful amphetamines. I shot clips of all bands, and will eventually get them up in a post-script to this piece).
...and Flipper was one of the nicest groups of people I've met. I mean, if people tell you "I shot pool with David Yow last night," and you feel skeptical that this is true, believe them. Flipper hung the fuck out. I had heard stories of how intimidating Flipper was back when, but Ted and Stephen and Rachel were really, really friendly last night, and seemed to be having as good a time onstage as we were in the pit.
(Stephen DePace takes a shot while David and Ted look on).
...And Yow was insane in the best of all possible ways. Yes, there was nudity (but not the tight n' shiny, exactly, unless I was looking the other way). Yes, he spent a ton of time surfing the audience (or sitting on the audience, or embracing them, or wrasslin' with them). Yes, his most frequently repeated enjoinder to the audience was to suck a dick (we had been talking about sucking dicks earlier, actually, and it warms my heart to know that that may have trickled down, so to speak, into Yow's stage patter: you know that clip from the Ministry documentary that people were all blown away by, where Yow told the world he met Al Jourgensen sucking dicks for drug money at the Greyhound Bus Station? It was all a joke, folks. Quote Yow: "I have never sucked a dick.") (Thanks to Les Wiseman for pointing me in that direction, actually - it was fun to talk about). And if you felt, while you were standing around waiting for the band to start, someone shove you, and then turned around to see someone duck behind another audience member, peek-a-boo style... yes, that was David Yow. My first time seeing him. Sure hope it isn't my last - the Jesus Lizard is now a bucket-list band for me, who I hope someday I'll get a chance to see.
You can see video of some of it if you like - I shot, for example, the opening number; I have a second vid coming up later, which is even crazier (but wants to turn sideways, since Yow so often was - I'm going to try to see if I can fix that). But seeing a video on Youtube is not the same thing as being there live. I also had watched videos on Youtube. I was not prepared. If you have seen video too, and are still not sure - you people in Seattle, for example, where Flipper plays tonight - just go. Go. Trust me and go. Loosen yourself up by your preferred means, and get right up front. You will NOT be disappointed.
I am sooooooo glad I was there last night. I am equally glad that pretty much everyone else in Vancouver seemed to have been there, too. Fun as Death was, fun as Bob Mould was... Flipper with David Yow is the best concert I've been at in years.
That's really all I can say for now. Thanks, Vancouver, you did me proud. Thanks, Flipper, for 40 years of making my life a better place. And thanks, David Yow, for making last night so fucking MEMORABLE. (And being such a sweet guy to interview).