Fred Hawley

As we walked in to the Mint Records 20th anniversary party we were handed two huge boxes of Pocky sticks and were greeted by Nardwuar's emceeing, jumping around the stage, way more excited than anyone else could be after having done this for years.

 The show at the Waldorf was like being invited to a reunion of old friends who were once Vancouver's hipsters and are now either running independent record labels, hosting radio on CBC Radio 3, or teaching elementary school.  Tonight the kids were with a babysitter, they didn't have to get up for work in the morning, and they were going to get drunk and sing along to the songs they’ve heard probably a million times. 

For the first band I left Nardwuar and made my way to the second stage to see My Friend Wallis' Crystal Dorval playing a solo set.  The last time I'd seen My Friend Wallis had been with a band in a planetarium and I was pretty sure my favourite part was the tropical surf beats that backed her light vocals but seeing her play solo impressed me more than I had expected. 

Back on the main stage, members of Cub were setting up for an incredible sing-a-long set with what looked like lead singer Lisa Marr’s entire family.  Her grandma, who was 90 something, sat to the side and held lyrics sheets but was too confused to know when to turn them, so audience members would reach onstage at the end of each sheet.  The lyrics sheets weren’t necessary, as everyone knew all the words.  Cub records had been the Mint’s first releases and remained a favourite of Mint’s subsequent releases. Their set was short, but they played all the “hits” and although I would love to see a full Cub set, I’ll have to accept that I missed out by about ten years and blame my parents for not taking me to a Cub show when I was small.

 The next band I saw was Fanshaw, whose album from last year, Dark Eyes, is incredible.  Like My Friend Wallis, I had never seen her play a solo set but she easily filled the confined space of the back room of the Waldorf.  Her light, breathy vocals and subtly suggestive lyrics had the audience lulled into a daze.  All around me people were gazing dreamily into space and only at the end of a song would they snap back into reality to voice their approval.

The last band of my night was Hot Panda, who were playing a set without their keyboard.  Either they had become much better performers since I last saw them or replacing the keyboard with the power chords, distortion, and noise of a second guitar was amazing for their sound.  By the end of their set, everyone was sweaty and tired, least of all the band.  They finished with a cacophony that included the bass player simultaneously playing a trumpet and her bass. 

At the end of the night I was able to talk to two people that have been massive influence on me, that is Lisa Marr from Cub and Grant Lawrence from CBC Radio 3.  And I left with enough Pockys to last for weeks.

  • Posted on: 12 April 2016
  • By: Administrator
  • Author: Fred Hawley