Bleached / No Parents Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver BC, April 28

Bleached / No Parents  Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver BC, April 28
Photo: Sharon Steele
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No strangers to nostalgia, California quartet Bleached made plenty of sun-baked references to '60s girl groups on their 2013 debut, Ride Your Heart, before turning more Runaways than Ronettes on their latest effort, Welcome The Worms. As such, it was befitting to that theme that L.A.'s No Parents, with their '90s-leaning skate-punk, would open for the band as they kicked off the West Coast leg of their tour in Vancouver at the Biltmore Cabaret last night (April 28).
 
The audience swarmed the floor as No Parents launched into a mad flurry of howling guitar, thrashing percussion and snotty vocals that, in moments, evoked Kerplunk!-era Green Day. It was as much fun to watch as it was to hear absurd lyrics to songs like "I'm A Dildo," as frontman Zoë Reign feverishly bounced around his band mates. An in-your-face cover of Blink-182's "Dammit" provoked mosh-y excitement from the crowd, as did a surprisingly well-suited rendition of Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away." 
 
Bleached took the stage in a waft of blue and red smoke that would hang in the air for the entirety of their set, adding to the atmosphere provided by the wreaths of daisies draped over the equipment. They opened with Worms' "Trying to Lose Myself Again," on which guitarist/lead singer Jennifer Clavin hit the song's high notes with nonchalant ease. Things truly felt like they began, though, with "Wednesday Night Melody" — arguably Worms' best cut — on which the band showcased their satisfyingly off-kilter harmonies and striking wails from Jessica Clavin's guitar.  
 
Jennifer put down her piece and opted for just the microphone on "Sleepwalking," where she exchanged head bangs with bassist Micayla Grace and climbed off the stage to snarl vocals at the crowd. "Sour Candy" (which saw No Parents' frontman contribute tambourine and backing euphonies) was a highlight as well, thanks in part to drummer Nick Pillot's dynamic pummelling. It was this kind of energy, as well as the integration of older, doo-wop-y cuts like "Searching Through the Past" and "Think of You" that helped lift the band above the crowd of like-sounding bands that Worms evokes. Unfortunately, despite their enthusiasm, the heavy dose of specific nostalgia began to wear and momentum started to wear during the last third of the show. 
 
By no means, however, was this reflective of Bleached's prowess as musicians — the band consistently remained impressively taut and, vocally, Jennifer never lost her muscle. There was a light at the end of the tunnel, too, as Bleached rose back up to close on one of the strongest notes of the night with "Dead in Your Head," on which crisp instrumentation and an extended, searing jam proved that they are, in fact, more than capable of stepping out from behind the sometimes-imposing shadow of the past.