Starting Out In Victoria: A Musical Odyssey Featuring Slam Dunk and a Host of Others

9 01 2011

On Saturday night, Victorian music lovers faced an all-too common problem.  There were three excellent shows at various venues in our fair town: we were forced to choose which one to attend.  While I was tempted to hunker down at one of the shows for the night, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to attend all three.  In hindsight, I am very glad I did.

My evening started out at the Fort Street Café, a gem of a venue located just below the model shop between Douglas and Blanshard.  Featuring an amazing and healthy menu (there is no deep fryer there) the Fort Street Café provided the perfect setting for Saturday evening’s musical feast.  Dylan Stone opened the show for Clay George and Carolyn Mark, both of whom I sadly had to miss as I needed to get to Logan’s by 9:30.

At 24, Dylan Stone has already developed into a mature and reflective songwriter reminiscent of Jay Farrar, or a young Ryan Adams.  While Stone plays in a number of different bands which range from Blue Grass to Psychadelic Rock, on this evening, we saw his more stripped down side.  Flanked by a violin player and a lap guitarist alone, Stone played a short but sweet set to the large audience who arrived early to catch his rising star.  If you want to read more about Dylan Stone, check out the current issue of Monday Magazine.

Slam Dunk

I was reluctant to leave the Fort Street Café as I would have loved to have seen Clay George and Carolyn Mark, but I was already running late; I jogged to Logan’s in stiff hiking boots.  Luckily, I managed to make it there in time to see The Poor Choices’ entire set.  It was the five piece garage-rock band’s second show ever and I found myself to be delightfully surprised by the strength of their eight songs (all originals).  With their straight ahead brand of rawk, The Poor Choices brought me back to Calgary for a moment.  While Victoria’s music scene is incredibly diverse, I have often thought to myself that it could use some more unapologetic rock and roll: in The Poor Choices, I have finally found some.  I am looking forward to seeing this band become more comfortable on stage as, at times, they seemed to be a bit reticent though overall the strength of their songs overcame their stage fright.

I found it much easier to leave Logan’s as I have spent way too much time there over the past week.  Again, I found myself jogging back to Fort Street to catch a bus to the University in hopes of seeing Slam Dunk play Felicita’s.  I think God intervened; I got to the bus stop just as a University-bound double Decker pulled up.  I paid my fair and ascended the stairs only to bump my head on the low ceiling; luckily, I didn’t bleed.

Several things occurred to me as I entered Felicita’s.  I realized that not only am I very old, but I am also quite fat.  Also, my pants are much too baggy for me to be taken seriously by University students.  I was delighted to find, however, that Felicita’s has the cheapest beer in town: for a mere $3.25, one can enjoy a frosty pint of Big Rock Traditional Ale, which compensates for bus fair.  Felicita’s is also a great venue for music as there is plenty of room for dancin’.

Miraculously, I made it there in time to see the last half of the Loose Cannons’ set.  Sadly, I had never heard of the Loose Cannons before and was blown away by their Surf Rock sounds, which immediately brought the Pixies’ “Cecilia Anne” to mind (and indeed, the band closed with that very song).  The duo got even the most ironic of moustaches dancin’ and smilin’.  We all rejoiced.

Soon after the Loose Cannons left the stage, the Dyeing Merchants took over; it was the first time I have ever seen or heard a “Guitorgan” (see picture), which gave the band a full, unique sound.  By this point, I had oversaturated myself with music and ran to a fenced off area to have a smoke.

By the time I got back inside, Slam Dunk was setting up.  I had been warned by the band’s bass player that their drummer was stranded in Mexico and though they had managed to find a replacement, they weren’t quite sure how the show would turn out.  All fears were quelled the instant the band started into their first song.

I can’t possibly begin to describe how good Slam Dunk is.  I am not one to enter a mosh pit, especially when wearing big scary boots, but I had no choice, summoned by the raw power and energy of the music.  Slam Dunk is a band who commands us listeners to lose all sense of control: they command us to jump, whoop, scream and dance.  And so we did, sweating and contorting right through to their final, frenzied song.

Upon arriving home, I looked Slam Dunk up on Facebook to find that they have generously given their first record to us all for free.  You can download it here.  Please do.  You will not regret it and you will shed all those Christmas pounds in the most beatific of ways.  You will dance and dance and dance, in your own living room and/or shower (be careful!).  Please download this album and share with your friends.

Nick Lyons writes music reviews and other stuff for Monday Magazine.  Check out his blog here.



5 responses

18 01 2011
The Revolucionary Cyborg Wedding Band Mobile Unit (or, A Lesson in Extravagant Beauty in D#) « The MonBlog

[…] Family, David P. Smith, Himalayan Bear, High Arctic, The Listening Party, Hearse, Carolyn Mark, Slam Dunk, and many others whose names now escape me, for a pittance (I think it was $10, or so).  It was on […]

19 01 2011
The Revolucionary Cyborg Wedding Band Mobile Unit (or, A Lesson in Extravagant Beauty in D#) | Milk and Honey (or, The Story of a Novel)

[…] Family, David P. Smith, Himalayan Bear, High Arctic, The Listening Party, Hearse, Carolyn Mark, Slam Dunk, and many others whose names now escape me, for a pittance (I think it was $10, or so).  It was on […]

30 01 2011
The Dyeing Merchants


Thanks for the kind words, but… the guitorgan is broken and has been for some time. I guess we have a full and unique sound without that wonderful machine.


22 11 2012
6 02 2014
Paityn Page

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