On December 9th, a not-so-chilly Saturday, I made my way down to Club Soda to see The Flatliners, a show I’d been dreaming about for going on ten years. It’s too bad my “Check Request” was “Denied” at the ATM due to the machine being broken. That’s tough when you run a venue that charges for coat check in the winter. Like, seriously Club Soda, get your shit together.
Anyway. That was the one minor bummer of the night. The rest was gravy. Here’s why.
Little Junior were up first. Their set opened with wired delay blasting from all the instruments. They were a great opening act, getting the crowd amped up with catchy, distortion-driven tunes and very on-point backing vocals. They moved a good bit too; their energy, cobbled together with their onslaught of good music was so much that singer Rane Elliott-Armstrong exploded not one but both of his shoes while on stage. I guess rock and roll is the only thing still going strong from the old days. I loved how the two guitarists, Armstrong and Lucas Meilach-Boston, stood up front during some wild guitar dueling melodies. It was a tight visual for a tight sound. They also did a solid cover of Blur’s “Song 2” to end their set.
Next on the docket was Single Mothers. They brought their decadent sound of hard rock in droves; it was like a good charley horse on a cold winter’s night. All four members were decked out in tight black jeans, rolled once at the cuff, with black button down shirts tucked in. It was a good aesthetic, considering the lights either shone a mellow yellow or were cut, casting the entire stage in black. They played a pretty good and groovy brand of hardcore while vocalist and Drew Doughty look-alike, Andrew Thompson, threw himself at the stage. The crowd, luke warm at the beginning of their set, was piqued and their interests perked by the time they rolled into their sixth song, “Baby.” My only beef with the band was the songs they chose to bookend their performance. I felt that “Money” was too slow of a choice to end their set. Knowing what was to come next, it hampered my vibe.
The first time I saw A Wilhelm Scream was when they opened for Comeback Kid and Madball in 2010. This marked my sixth time seeing them. Celebrating the ten year anniversary of Career Suicide, they played it in its entirety. What a fucking show! I mean, What A Fucking Show! Between Trevor Reilly and Mike Supina standing poised on the monitors ripping guitar solos, Nuno bellowing viscous bouts of bravado, Brian J. Robinson tearing four fingers across four strings, or the melodic attack of Nicholas Pasquale Angelini on drums, it was superb from start to finish. Any minute mistakes were caused by the spastic ball of energy the band provides. Single Mothers lit the fuse. A Wilhelm Scream blew the place up. Nuno was every bit the front man, thrusting his mic out at the crowd for us to sing along while he jumped and stomped around. My favourite moment wasn’t when they went old school with “Famous Friends and Fashionable Drunks.” No, no. After many years and many shows, seeing “Check Request Denied” has finally been crossed off my Buckstlist.
An extra shout-out to Angelini for making his drums do more than just keep the beat. His method of playing should be marvelled at. He is one of a handful of people who can make his drums not just hum, but sing throughout every song.
And then there were The Flatliners. Do you wanna see a crowd go ape? Watch this band perform The Great Awake. Before they’d gotten four chords into “July! August! Reno!” empty beer cans and plastic cups were being flung into the air and raining down on the pit. Speaking of pits, that area was a madhouse. It was intense enough to be fun, but not violent enough to scare people away. It rested in a good happy medium.
The Flatliners carved through their album with empirical efficiency. Their brand of punk and ska was steadied by Paul Ramirez. The monstrous sound exuded from his kick was diabolical. It thumped through every heart in the house and kept the kids moving. It was nice to see that Scott Brigham on vocals hadn’t lost a step over the years; granted I’d seen The Flatliners at Pouzza and they’d sounded great too. It was never more evident than during “This Respirator,” which he crushed.
So, it’s a shame if you missed this show. There were four great bands that played their guts out, a bunch of stage divers, and even one dude in a wheelchair that got up to crowd surfing a couple times. What was your favourite moment of the night? Hit me up in the comments below.
Written by Aaron Deck
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Kate Erickson