NOVEMBER 7th 2015
D.O.A. HARDCORE 2015

Review by Lana Muirhead
Photos by Peter Ruttan

PHOTO GALLERY: http://www.metaltitans.com/concertpics/doa-hardcore-2015/

Just a typical night out on East Hastings in Vancouver, prepping with beers to hit up a four-band show at the Rickshaw.  I was lucky enough to have a northern buddy down visiting and was able to expose him to the wonderful world of D.O.A., Gob, Boids and Wett Stilettos all while enjoying local brews and a small venue.

I wasn’t able to catch the whole set for Wett Stilettos, but I did hear their last couple of tunes. The lead songstress, RC Guns, sounds like she’s gargling rocks and razorblades while looking like a female Lemmy Klimster 30 years ago. The beats were more death-punk and the lyrics were heavily into the darker side of not only rock ‘n’ roll but of life and love in general. Although I was late to the game, I wouldn’t mind replaying some of what I heard from the Wett Stilettos (formed back on New Years Day in 2012) another time.

Next up was the Boids out of Montreal. They were a four piece with two guitars, a bass, and a drummer. All the members help out on vocals, and all of them just rip on their instruments. Picture fully grown men with mics ducked down to about their nipples because the dudes are in such deep power stances while they’re playing that the mics would be out of reach at mouth-height. Then picture the hardest working bass player you’ve ever seen and the most energized guitarists. I have been to a slew of metal and metalcore shows recently so this was a bit off the beaten path as of late, but I have to say that I had forgotten how jacked up the punk rockers have to be to wail through their typically less-than-three-minute-songs; and just how amped they are in general. Toward the end of their set, one of the guitarists was up on the double-stacked speakers jumping onto the stage, then plodding to the crowd level and moshing on the outskirts of the pit while still playing.

For those of you who know Boids, you’ll know that they recently put out their sophomore album “Superbafrango” and it was from this album that they largely drew their set. They powered through the opener “Mole People” then were on to “Fuck You Macho Bullshit”, “Bless This Mess”, and “Don’t Need Your TV” among others.  Like I’ve said in the past, punk rock is very formulaic and Boids is no exception: however they are an A-bomb of energy and actually have quite ingenious little vocal rhythms and melodies with superb timing, paired with great little quips and non-sequitors between songs.

Finally it was the epic Gob hitting the stage. By this time the Rickshaw was as packed as it would get and things got a little wild to say the least. Original members Tom Thacker (guitar/lead vocals) and Theo Goutzinakis (guitar/lead vocals) got on stage in the darkness, followed by Gabe Mantle (drums) and Steven Fairweather (bass/support vocals) and they put the pedal to the metal.  I remember listening to these guys when I was in grade school (yes, I’m dating myself) but it was like the years did not affect this group: the passage of father time did not trip them up in the least. Though they released an album in 2014 (“Apt 13”), most of their set was directed to the older fans playing crowd favourites like “Oh! Ellin”, “Ming Tran”, “For the Moment”, their cover of  the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black”, and of course “Soda”. They did share some new tunes as well including “Radio Hell” and “Walk Alone”. Gob has had a crazy career for a Canadian punk/alt rock band: they started out way back in 1993 in neighbouring Langley, BC and are credited as being pioneers of their sound, amassing pop lovers and punks alike. Their songs have been featured in movies and video games, and given the crowd that showed up to see them, it is clear they have not lost their influential footing.

When it comes to comparisons or the question of ‘who do these guys sound like?’ there is no real answer.  Gob started something that snowballed and influenced lots of up and coming bands in the late 90s/early 2000s (think Sum 41 (whom Thacker plays with live) and Billy Talent) but there really will only ever be one Gob. They played somewhere in the neighbourhood of an hour this night and really blew D.O.A. out of the water (as was evidenced by the clearing out of a good chunk of the crowd).

So let’s segway right into it then: D.O.A. Also trailblazers in their own right, D.O.A. has been active for 37 years and are considered founders of hardcore punk.  In fact, their second album “Hardcore ‘81” is widely seen as the beginning of the second wave of the hardcore genre. Joey “Shithead” Keithley is the only original member, but even with a rotating cast of bassists and drummers, their sound has remained true to their roots and their political messages have gotten no less precise. Case in point would be when Keithley announced the band’s next song as dedicated to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper entitled “Fuck That Fucker”.

Although well into their 50s, D.O.A. rocked out like a bunch of teens, though the leg kicks and theatrics were a little more stiff.  At one point Keithley swung his guitar around in true punk rock fashion, knocked a neighbouring mic around and no one skipped a beat when they went looking for their misplaced equipment. The band’s set was a wide range of an ever-increasing repertoire of songs. With 18 studio albums to choose from, the most recent released in 2015 (“Hard Rain Falling”), it was just too hard to fit all the golden oldies into one evening.  Especially when they didn’t hit the stage until almost midnight!  They were able to fire off the tunes “2+2”, “D.O.A.”, “Pipeline Fever”, “Police Brutality”, and “Punk Rock Hero” with no love lost. The sound is very much of the early 80s punk rock variety, in the vein of Black Flag, The Misfits, and Dead Kennedys of the day. For those of you who attended the show and left early, you missed some classic playing with Keithley tonguing his guitar strings like a true punk perv and bass-beating to the point where I thought the instrument would give out before the player (though it was likely a 50/50 bet).

Make no mistake though: D.O.A. has continued on with musical and political shenanigans well into this day and age and have even blazed the way for pop-punk bands like The Offspring and Green Day which many of you youngsters will know more of at this point in time. In fact, not only do they have their own day (as of 2003 December 21st is D.O.A. Day in B.C. for those of you not in the know) but Keithley has taken himself right into the political atmosphere by running for the Green Party in local elections.  Chatting with him after the show and finding out what comes next, Keithley said that it was either get seated with the Green Party in Coquitlam, BC, or more touring.  Not sure which to hope for there…Tying it all up, the night was great, the music was pumping and it was refreshing to see that punk is still alive, kicking, and politically nut-punching the governments of the day. And to the boys in Gob (Thacker you’re welcome for the Sapporo :P): keep pumping out the good shit!