"RIFFS NOT RIOTS" – Charity Fundraiser
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Fortune Sound Club
Photos: Shon Troelstrup
The entire outside of Fortune Sound Club was encompassed by mohawks, black spiked vests, and chevy portable homes. This either meant that a S&M show was going down or the lighter of the two options…a metal show. Although the underground metal scene were all in attendance the night was no ordinary headbangers ball. This was the evening of the Riffs Not Riots Charity concert. The event was set up to basically denounce the Vancouver riots that came after the Stanley Cup Finals this year, when the Vancouver Canucks lost the final game.
All the benefits of the evening were donated to the Canucks Place Children's Hospice which brought supporters from all walks of life to attended the show. Their support of Vancouver's underground metal scene was immense yet more importantly the love of ones city is what truly brought everyone together.
Vancouver’s metal scene set out to make quite a bold statement against the mindless acts of violence. They went against the stereotypical norm to promote and display metal for a incredibly positive cause rather a normal thrash show. The eight band roster set to play at Riffs Not Riots all deserve kudos for coming out to support and entertain us all. They seemed to come out to show how they deal with frustration and disappointed as the riffs of the evening allowed the name to hold true.
The first band of the evening was Depressing, a band whose name justly suits their performance. Although microphone problems cursed their first song with the complete lack of vocals. The lead singer tried his best to stir the crowd up with his gut wrenching screams and dramatic performance. This he does deserve kudos for since he was one of the few to take the performance to the audience by entering the crowd. However this did not help the performance and after the late start to the evening the band needed to begin with a bang. They didn’t leave their mark or make a outstanding show of talent… they didn’t even introduce themselves.
Unfortunately with Anion was set to play but if they did it sure wasn’t when I was around. So with now seven bands to cycle through and a hour and a half behind schedule the rest of the show felt rather rushed. So the pressure was on for each of these underground bands to stand out with only four or five songs to do so. You either stuck out or you were forgotten during the twenty minute intermissions between each band.
Abriosis managed to bring back the faith in the evening as they strapped on their guitars and let their head banging hair flow. They came out unrelenting from start to finish. They presented a harder, metal-grunge image to audience, and thankfully, had the musical prowess to back it up. These guys are definite headbangers as their fans cheered them on from among the mosh pit. They were one of the few bands to make a impression during Rifts Not Riots and made up for the “depressing” start to the evening.
Although Weirding has the drowned out psychedelic vibes to make any metal head that smokes pot happy, they failed to make any outstanding impressions. They suffered from extremely lengthly instrumentals, complete lack of vocals, and no clear defined frontman. Ultimately metal is about the music, how hard you can play that guitar, how heavy the drum and bass can hit, and Weirding can play those to the tee. Yet I immediately felt disengaged from the performers when I had to stop and wonder if they were ending a song or beginning a new one. They did however present one incredibly complex and complete song, “Bastard” which just barley makes up for the lack of other material.
Galgamex was the next band to hit the stage. These guys are true thrashers and with a name deriving, intentional or not, from a alien species off of South Park one really could not help but be intrigued. They managed to get everyone back in the thrashing mood after the first couple of songs. After a couple pokes and prods from the lead singer the crowd they finally let loose when the pro marijuana song “Incognitant Retrogression”, was played. Their disorienting music aids them well because although you may not know what they are saying. How the song may relate to weed. Or even space travel with “Lightspeed Sarcophagus”, it just doesn't matter. Once they begin to play they make it hard not to watch and be entertained.
The Ancients were next to take stage and when they played “Built to Die” they impressed everyone. It was a incredibly complex song with impressive breakdowns, amazing vocals, and creative bass to engross any metal fan. The high energy exerted from every member was showed in their set. They were there to rock the noble cause and held that flag proud. Solid performance from band that has yet to release a EP and easily the standout performance of the evening.
Even though Ancients brought the fans to the dance floor the hindered beginning ended up pushing the show to far behind. Those needing transit began to slowly slip out to catch the final sky-train home. This was the one of most unfortunate parts of the evening seeing as the final two bands now had to preform for a half filled venue.
Although the crowd had decreased in size Black Wizard still went on to give a great performance. They offered something different that evening as the more punk style vocals were a nice change in pace. The epic guitar riffs, pulsing verb, these boys have talent. “This ones for fuck ya’s!” as the song “Drugs” mesmerized the crowd. This song alone gives those who stayed a reason to remain to see the headlining band, Titans Eve.
Its usually a bad sign when the once packed dance floor remains relatively barren for the headlining act. However Titans Eve came out swinging for those dedicated fans still around to watch them. Right out of the gate “Tides of Doom” came out with immersing double kicks energizing not just the lone few mosh pitters head banging in a empty dance floor but everyone. Titans Eve are a metal shredding machine which made it a shame to see them get the raw end of the show. Yet like any true metal band they played their guts out irregardless.
They addressed the audience by making everyone cheer “Riffs no Riots” highlighting the reason for the whole evening as it came back into focus. Even though the show in itself was a roller coaster of amazing metal, disappointing setbacks, and depressing bands the cause of the evening remains the foremost of importance. The fact is opportunistic pricks from all walks of life contributed to the horrible acts committed during the riots and not just those who may look the stereotypical part. In the end the charity raised around $3000 which is rather impressive for a Wednesday night show. I believe we can agree with Titans Eve lead singer when he said, “Fuck ya for the underground collective” for not just raising money but raising awareness as well.