The Famines / Sharp Ends / Audio Rocketry The Hi-Fi Club, Calgary AB February 21

The evening kicked off on a rather bland note with Edmonton's Audio Rocketry. Seemingly trying their hardest at an Against Me! routine, the folk punk trio were light on the punk, giving a vibe more Great Big Sea goofy than Gainesville, FL rebellion. To be fair, they at were at least united in their vision of shanty-like sing-alongs, and a handful of the crowd was into it, but it was a slow, unnecessary set that weighed down the start of the night.

Fortunately, Calgary newcomers Sharp Ends set up quickly to tear the place down with their dark post-punk. Combining the icy cool darkness of Warsaw-era Joy Division with raw, loud musicianship that shares its manic creativity with Hot Snakes, the band tore through a raucous, lovable set.

Armed with forward-thinking guitar riffs, sturdy bass lines and a pummeling drummer, the band set the stage perfectly for the unique, bizarre dance moves of their front-man. It's almost scary how solid Sharp Ends are this early in the game.

The invigorating post-punk of Sharp Ends also acted as an ideal segue into Edmonton duo the Famines, whose minimalist punk jams translate into club crushing monsters in a live setting. On record, the duo bring the noise sparingly, intentionally leaving room for quiet-loud dynamics and sonic variations for a welcome diversity. Live, however, they transform into a menacing, two-headed beast bent on playing loud and hard, equally suited for the basement punk show and arena.

Through a passionate, boisterous live set, the band took over the stage, with guitarist and singer Raymond Biesinger frantically falling around while Garrett Kruger lost himself in the drums. Playing all the songs from their debut double seven-inch, as well as other material, the band proved that they can be exciting, unique, and important in both a live and recorded setting, a feat that is all too rare.