#SOCIALintheCITY covers Black Lips LIVE at The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver
March 27th, 2014
I wasn’t born when Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees took the punk world by storm. Tonight at the Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver, BC, I was given the chance to imagine what it would have been like as The Coathangers opened for Black Lips.
3 women. A crowd full of hungry young men, peppered by a girl here or there.
The Coathangers embody everything that a modern RIOT GRRL band should. Riffs that are hot and heavy, missed chords here and there that don’t take the crowd out of the moment. Any band happily swapping instruments at regular intervals and show equal talent on whatever they play is a band I will see again. Being rumored to have started the band as a joke in 2006, Minnie Coathanger/Meredith Franco (bass/vocals), Crook Kid Coathanger/Julia Kugel (guitar/vocals), and Rusty Coathanger/Stephanie Luke (drums/vocals), are no joke.
You want a review in 250 words or less?
Here it is – if you want fast, fun, music that reminds you that riot grrl bands still exist, look no further than The Coathangers. They are nothing, and everything, that their name implies – back alley, dirty, taboo and absolutely needed to revive a scene that is too often called “Dead”.
Given that the Rickshaw was beyond oversold on a Thursday night, and there was a veritable who’s who of scenesters, punks, hipsters and a spattering of industry folk, it’s obvious that Vancouver still has a thriving scene. As far as any opening band goes, The Coathangers lunged into their second song of the set and most of the crowd was clambering to the front of the stage. The Coathangers were having so much fun doing their thing, that everyone on the floor was smiling, jumping around, spilling beer and picking each other up as the most pit grew to epic proportions.
My body hurts from being front row, I have bruises in places I didn’t even know existed, and if nothing else, a reaffirmed love for all that is punk as fuck.
The Black Lips sold out. In an overflowing venue, with people standing outside all night hoping to get in, kind of way..
Their looks fit their sound – equal bits hipster, NYC, and DGAF (don’t give a fuck).
Within 4 songs of their set, my hair was covered in beer, I’d seen several members of the band try to simultaneously play their instruments while using a crushed can that had been thrown on stage to play an impromptu game of hackey sac, and I was dripping in sweat – a lot of which was not my own. If didn’t matter where you were standing, at some point you were going to be squished, have beer thrown above or around you, and accidentally become involved in a super loving mosh pit. A guy could look as if he was about to bail, and several people would stop pounding on each other to make sure the guy never actually fell. Seeing people that in tune with one another isn’t an uncommon occurrence at any sort of punk show, but it never stops an avid concertgoer from taking a moment to feel if they have truly found home.
While the sound mix by the venue could have been tighter, it’s hard to criticize when many of the lead vocals came from the drummer of the band, who played his instrument as if his heart would stop if he didn’t hammer into his drum kit. Musically, I have little to complain about, aside from a missed harmony here or there. And while there were moments that I was more caught up in the crazy outfits of bands members, the momentum of their lead guitarist kept me in the moment.
Between being front row center and taking a step back and watching from the top of the venue, I know one thing: the Black Lips have their shit together.
The Rickshaw Theatre is hands down one of the best venues to play at in Vancouver, thanks largely in part to the management team that has taken over it in the last couple of years, and seeing two very different yet somehow complimentary sounding bands, I had one hell of a night.
For more on The Coathangers check out their page: http://thecoathangers.bandcamp.com
For more on Black Lips check out their page: http://black-lips.com/
For more on The Rickshaw Theatre check out their page: http://www.rickshawtheatre.com/
Written by: Nikki Mucci
Photos by : Sara Rose McKenna
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