Sunday, May 07, 2023

Dayglo Abortions live show review: Vancouver May 6, 2023

All photos from last night are from Allan MacInnis. I was the only one there! Nothing on this blog is to be reused without permission, including these. Thanks. 

Fucking incredible night last night. Murray - who has cancer, if you've somehow missed it - is rallying hard. It's like he's trying to scare the cancer out of his system by playing the fiercest shows ever, and Matt and Marc are right there with him. It was a pretty inspiring subtext for a punk show, really - pretty moving. And I only just noticed last night - thanks to a quip from the singer of Random Killing, as I pestered him to sign vinyl of their new album, Bring Out Your Dead - just how intense the present tour is. There isn't a break, it's 16 days/ 16 gigs - they'll be in Toronto in less than two weeks, if they don't explode entirely before then. I mean, 16 days, 16 shows, driving across Canada: Jeezus! 

Y'all should see the band on this tour - seriously (they play Hope tonight). 

Some fun details: 

The moshpit was one of the most exuberant I've seen and nicely gender-balanced (at times there were more women than men in the pit, especially during Motorama, with Dayglos bassist Matt Fiorito on drums - interview with him here). Starting midway through Random Killing, there was a guy larger than myself (and I'm 310 pounds, these days) who was moshing so hard I felt shame at my inactivity - cool blue Mohawk, too. Someone grabbed my arm and tried to draw me in but no, nooo, I have learned my limits long ago (and was tethered to purchased merch). The singer for Random Killing - a great, thrashy punk band from Toronto who are making me re-evaluate my conception of what the Toronto punk scene sounded like - observed at one point, "You guys are in church, and you don't even know it."


Random Killing had a fan who came out with them, I guess, or maybe an earlier Toronto-to-Vancouver transport, because you could see him at the side of the stage, singing along to every song; I happened to catch him in a few photographs - there he is on the right.

There was a loop on the laptop on the Dayglo merch table that had women and, uh, cockatiels and erect penises, but they were surreally edited together so that sometimes the cockatiel was the penis, sometimes the cockatiel seemed to be interacting with the penis, something the woman had the cock and the cockatiel both... It was pretty strange. There was also some vinyl around, earlier on, but it disappeared quickly, though there was an FTW compilation - a tribute to the Dayglos - that lingered longest. I did not buy it. It seems to have been gone by the time I snapped this pic...

One nice gal, seeing that I was standing next to the speakers, offered me earplugs, but... nah (I did eventually put one in my right ear, because I still feel some pain in that ear when things are really loud; the left went numb long ago). No hassles, no fights, people picking each other up when they fell down, that kind of pit; I got a few elbows to the gut from people sent flying but it was all in good fun.  But then about ten songs into the Dayglos' set, someone lit off a smoke bomb or firecrackers or something. It was during "God is Love," which I happened to be documenting... 

...and the fire alarms went off, and we all had to clear the venue. A few jeers were directed at Phil the doorguy (along with wendythirteen, on door for the first time since forever, pre-smoke, and Malcolm, post-; I guess Phil was technically security) as he stopped "Ronald McRaygun" to tell us we had to leave, but smartly let us know that we could all come back in once the fire marshal had inspected the place and made sure everything was safe. We all shuffled out as fast as we could, given the design of the place, with ironic mutterings of "calm and orderly fashion," other security hustling us, and Phil telling us to "muster in the parking lot to the west." Some wit behind me quipped, "smoke break" - no foolin'! No idea who thought it was a good idea to set off smoke. Maybe it was God, trying to smite the show?  

He failed, if so (tho' Murray got a few other licks in against him later in the night: "Here's another God song, this one's called "Religious Bumfucks."). Alas, a few punks who despaired that we would get in left early; one of them, seeing my Two Dogs Fucking shirt on the Skytrain the next day, asked me if I was at the show, and if it started again; he cursed when I told him we were let back in after ten minutes, because he figured it would be longer and gave up! ("Ah well, I've seen them LOTS," he shrugged, grinning). It was in fact all quite chill and orderly: while the Waldorf was inspected, a bunch of punks chatted and milled around and came back in to a very Ramonesy "East Indian."

Which I'm not sure I've heard the Dayglos do live before, so that was fun. 

Note on the photo: Blind Marc got some help on the way out, which I didn't realize I was photographing at the time... you can see that the smoke was already cleared, compared to what you see in the "God is Love" video. 

Adam Kates of the Toronto Punk 'zine Going All The Way; he's reprinted two issues from back in the 1980s, which will eventually (maybe) make it to a record store near you?

There were all sorts of ways to support the band last night - a ton of merch. I got re-united with a Two Dogs Fucking shirt (I, uh, "outgrew" my last one, but this time I went 3X). The fundraiser table was manned in part by a Vancouver Island t-shirt guy with a cool-sounding shop, T-Shirts That Talk - who had a bunch of designs that were not at the official Dayglo's merch table (and apparently has a ton of unique punk fashion in his shop). There were patches, buttons... no matter which table you visited, there was no Hate Speech vinyl, but they apparently HAVE been pressed; it's just a question of when they will be united with the band. 

Is anyone keeping track of the setlist...? The band played more new material than at the FEAR show, kicking off with two songs from Hate Speech, "White People" and "Kill Kill Kill," and later including the aforesaid "God is Love," "Sacks of Meat," and a terrific "Raised on Chest Milk" (video here). We also were treated to the live debut of the song "I Am Woman Hear Me Roar," off the new EP (Murray introduced it by saying something like, "We've never played this before, and we probably shouldn't ever play it again." I can see how Murray might not be able to resist such a topic - I would guess the pressure on him to do so actually helped inspire him in the other direction, if I understand how Murray's mind works - but I do think that song is "punching down," a bit. Still fun to hear it live). 

Cancer came up a couple of times in Murray's between song patter. "I realized the other day if i want to beat cancer, I better start loving myself," he observed at one point, before leading the band into "I Am My Own God." He greeted between-song chants of Dayglos! Dayglos! Dayglos! with a similarly humorous, humble quip - "aw, come on, it's not like I might DIE or somethin'."

I took a bit too long in the bathroom stall, putting on my t-shirt as things were winding down (I snuck out during the first encore, "Dogfarts" - had to make it to the Skytrain). I figured I should dig out my thyroid pills and take them with a handful of water from the sink, until I came out of the stall and saw a giant punk in a studded-and-patched jacket PISSING in the sink, in that unmistakeable raised-on-tippytoes sink pissing pose (I've never done it myself but you gotta get it UP there, you know?). Well, it was my own damn fault for using the one toilet as a changeroom, I guess! 

Note to self: do not drink water from the sinks in punk venue bathrooms.

And like I'm saying, the band plays Hope tonight. Are there punks in Hope? They're gonna get a treat. Show of the year, so far? (Up there with that Residents show, anyhow. And the best of, whatsit, six Dayglos shows I've seen so far in the last year? See links to my other features, including interviews with Murray and Marc, here). 

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