Pennywise Get Vancouver All Punk’d Up


Commodore Ballroom
Vancouver, BC
September 17, 2010

By Charlene Tupper

If you got the chance to be in Vancouver, and partake in the Commodore concert last night, then you definitely got punk’d. The evening was packed with fans of these punk favourites including Authority Zero, Riverboat Gamblers, and Pennywise as headliner. The fans took this “Unknown Road” to reach their ultimate goal of seeing Pennywise, but also becoming fans of the other two previously mentioned groups.

Some truly interesting “Stories of Survival” are those of Authority Zero. This band formed in 1994 from Mesa, Arizona. This punk rock band has had their fair share of twists and turns during their 2 decade career. Authority Zero has highly flourished within it’s own genre, touring on big name Punk festivals such as Warped Tour and Punk-O-Rama. The group’s performance was relatively strong, however, somewhat dry and repetitive. Their energy levels failed to meet average punk band standards of being powerful and obnoxious stage behaviour. Their music was interesting, yet throwing in slower ballad type songs threw me off balance, and not in a good way. Having the slow songs made me feel bored and uninterested.

The Riverboat Gamblers sadly gave the same performance standards. However, let me give you some background information on this witty-named band from Denton, Texas. This 5-piece band formed in 1997, with the intent to simulate the Virginia Rockers “The Candy Snatchers”, over the top lyrics and songs about heavy drinking and gambling. These Texans are popular for their high edge performance with the members bouncing around stage, in constant motion. This could easily be said last night, when they hit the stage, crowds were moshing,  jumping, and even coming out of the crowd with bloody noses and cuts to the face. Now this is the punk I know, that spark of high energy had hit the crowd. Musically, however, this band was extremely repetitive and felt very unoriginal. I grew bored of this band quickly.

The final act of the evening was none other than Pennywise. This band from South Bay, California was not clowning around. “To be Awake, is to Be Alive”, this band definitely brought the crowd alive with their powerful energy and bold strength on stage. Pennywise has been playing Hardcore Punk for 20 years and is one of punk music’s key bands in the 90’s. If you recognize the name from Stephen King’s book and movie, “It”, you are thinking correctly, due to the band took the name of the clown from this very movie.  The band had some line up changes, due to Thirsk trying to conquer his addiction to alcohol, succeeding temporarily, and then relapsing with a self-inflicted shot to the chest. This being stated, the band got a replacement bassist, and has ever since, had great success with the band and has been non-stop touring throughout the US and Canada, but also stopping in South America and Australia. The band performance surprised me, they were quite the performers and were pretty good, however, the crowd I cannot say the same. This was the most disappointing group of fans I have ever run into at a concert. Pennywise walked on stage, then suddenly, beer cans, hats, cups, anything you can think of, was thrown on stage and at the band. What would ever make a dedicated fan, feel the urge to throw stuff at their favourite band? If someone can answer me this, then you may be able to save everyone else, and not make this the “Final Day” for Pennywise and their return to Vancouver.

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Dan Savoie
Dan has written and photographed for nearly every major newspaper across Canada, as well magazines like Rolling Stone, Rock Scene and Metal Hammer. He has interviewed nearly 1,000 celebrities, including his favourite bands like KISS, Motley Crue, Metallica and Bon Jovi.