The Get Down / Fat Dave Crime Wave Econolodge, Edmonton AB

"It’s an open challenge to any band to take the stage in the New Year’s rock-off tonight,” Vancouver promoter Rob Wright yells into the mic from under all that beautiful hair. "There’s only two of you, so you better get up here. Don’t want to blow this. These folks paid ten fucking dollars to get in here,” he grins. As far as venues go, the Econolodge’s name does a good job of explaining itself: cheap and square. Shoved like a dildo into the side of a snowdrift, it’s a perfect punk venue where the band get to somehow play right in front of the bar. So you get the odd guitar head in the back. Oh well! Growing in tradition every time one of the groups decide it’s time to destroy their gear, on New Year’s Eve the Econloodge saw the gritty, salacious Fat Dave Crime Wave pump their fists with the co-headlining Get Down, who — when they really get going — make you think Sonic Youth is in the fucking room. Rob Wright’s brother Ted shares the singing with Pat Bourne, the cumulative effect being a surprisingly penetrating metal/pop/punk harmonic. Lick-licious. Because there’s no difference between where the band play and where you stand, everything in the room haggled for attention. Devastatingly pretty girls home for Christmas from places like New York and Toronto. Old video lottery addicts whose bar this was not long ago, hoping not to get beat up (this crowd isn’t like that, honestly). And just the kids who couldn’t shell out half their inner-city rent for Shout Out Out Out Out tickets down the street. Like all punk shows, it was wild, chaotic, loud as the gods and drunken. But when the reunited Wright Brothers — formerly the spine of Les Tabernacles — sang together, well, we all knew we were at home for the holidays.