Due to some ridiculous transit issues (I took a bus I’d never taken before, walked the wrong way, and ended up across Gastown), I missed local bands Daddy Issues and The Skellys who opened the show. I caught the full Blood Moon set, though, and it was great – it really got the crowd pumped up. Blood Moon were over from Victoria and really impressed me. Also, their drummer moves like Animal, complete with hair flying up and down.
The Matadors the headliners of the show, are in a league of their own. The self-proclaimed founders of the horrorbilly genre have, throughout their long career, become known for pushing boundaries and pushing buttons, musically and otherwise. Their brutal live show has been “destroying stages and the minds of youths since the mid-90s.” In addition, their gimmick, somewhat distasteful at times, remains offensive enough to keep the crowds talking.
More often than not, bands with strong gimmicks act out in such a way that distracts from the music. In seeing The Matadors live, two questions must be asked — First, politically incorrect statements aside, is their music good enough to stand apart from the boundary pushing? And second, can their show be enjoyed even if there are differences of opinion held by band members and concert-goers?
To answer the first question, yes, The Matadors are great live musicians. Technically speaking, the band was great. The bassist in particular really impressed me. As a whole, they put much effort and energy into their live performance, so much so that I could see them sweating their asses off.
The band was stoked about the great crowd that had gathered to see them on a Thursday night. Hooch, founder and frontman of the band, said,
“The last time we played Vancouver, we played the Rickshaw to, like, six fucking people.” He also encouraged the audience members to have a good time and enjoy the moment by stating, “Right now, tonight, this moment, is as good-looking as any of you are motherfuckers are ever going to get in your lives. This is it. This is as good as it fucking gets right now. Are you with me? So take care of somebody, love somebody, fuck somebody, do something crazy Vancouver, this is it. There’s no fucking part two, motherfuckers. Get your shit done. Have sex with a stranger, do some fucked up shit. Set a human being on fire. Do what you gotta do.”
Of course, no horrorbilly show would be complete without a cameo by Satan himself, this time dressed in a costume seemingly purchased at Halloween store. While he did need some assistance in adjusting his mask, Satan did a good job of wiping Hooch’s brow and handing him a beer. It’s so hard to get good demonic help these days.
As for question number two, the answer is completely subjective. While I did enjoy the music and the performance, I could have done without Hooch’s commentary between songs. Quotes like, “This one’s about your mom sucking my dick on public transit.” in my opinion, don’t do any favours for the band. It seems it is best to ignore the attention-seeking shock statements and concentrate on the music instead.
Robert Johnson may have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his music, but these guys seem to have sold their soul to a sleazier and much less well-connected devil. The sort of devil that would stand on a stage in a cheap-ass costume and hand their servant beers.
Written by Leilah Thiel