Nostalgia's all the rage in 2017, and Daggermouth is just one of many bands to regroup for reunion shows. The Vancouver quintet originally formed in 2004, but disbanded in 2008 after releasing sophomore effort Turf Wars. They broke up just as their potential was starting to show, and now — almost 10 years later — they're back.
The first band to kick off the evening was Forester from Edmonton. The group has a keyboardist, plays some occasional heavy parts and has a bassist with a huge beard, but they aren't necessarily the next Four Year Strong. Despite blending together a lot of different styles of rock, they came across pretty mellow; an unexpected choice for an opener. Forester released their first full-length debut Vanity last year, and built most of their set from it, but never got a huge reaction from the crowd.
Calgary natives and relative newcomers Bring on the Storm followed, playing fast, technical, melodic punk in the vein of Propagandhi, A Wilhelm Scream and Strung Out. The band sounded pretty tight live, pulling off complicated guitar riffs quite well. "Shit Hole" had some catchy "woahs," and the band played a new song called "Spineless Gutless Bitch," which will likely appear on their in-the-works debut. Despite the off-putting song names, the tunes themselves were actually alright.
The final openers were Winnipeg's Elder Abuse, another punk band also featuring Daggermouth drummer Dan Don. The quintet has gone through lots of line-up changes since releasing their first full-length three years ago (two former members were even in the crowd), but the band's only two consistent members Don and vocalist Alex Guidry have managed to make it work.
They started with "Good Enough" from this year's Burnt, and the Calgary crowd seemed receptive to the band's newer material — though they really got into it during older songs from Born to Lose like "Winnipeg Sucks" and "Rex Manning Day." The ten-song set was a decent mix of old and new, and Guidry did his best to engage the crowd, even getting them singing along at some parts.
Then came the reincarnated Daggermouth. The biggest difference between Daggermouth in 2017 and Daggermouth in 2007 is the change in lineup. Vocalist Nick Leadlay declined to be part of the reunion, so original guitarist Stuart McKillop handed his axe over to Stu Ross (of Comeback Kid) and has taken over lead vocal duties. Thankfully, McKillop proved a strong frontman and the songs didn't suffer much from the switch-up.
As Daggermouth kicked things off with "I Dance to Trance in Garbage Bag Pants," it became obvious that they've retained much of the band's original qualities. McKillop did a good job pumping the crowd up, though it took a couple of songs for the crowd to really get into it and start stage diving.
Nevertheless, Daggermouth's characteristic brand of hardcore-influenced pop-punk remained intact, delivering fast and short tunes, complete with wacky titles. The group played a good mix from their two full-length records — rather than playing one in its entirety, as many recently reunited bands have opted to do. Tunes like "Texas John's Sweet Herbal Remedy" from 2006's Stallone and "Glendale PD Hates Daggermouth" from Turf Wars both made the cut, and sounded great in a live setting.
Between the songs, the bandmates seemed happy to be back on stage, smiling, making fart jokes and paying tribute to fellow retired Vancouver punks d.b.s.
McKillop insisted that the band still refuses to do encores, so the final three songs were over in a flash. The 45-second-long "Fact: Mike Peecher Rollerblades" was followed by ever-popular closer "You Do This As a Fad, We Do This as a Lifestyle" — and given that 10 years later the guys in the band are still having a blast (even if they were playing at a small bar, and punk isn't exactly cool), the song title rang true.