Published Dec 19, 2009Mental Beast is a comedy web series about a failing radio station, and its creators, Cameron Reed and Conor Holler, have endeared themselves to the Vancouver music community by including many of the city's bands in the show's soundtrack. Twenty-nine songs by these artists were compiled on the holiday album, The Eggnog Experience, and Mental Beast celebrated the release with a 13-band extravaganza.
Most of the bands played just two songs: a Christmas tune from The Eggnog Experience, plus one other usually non-seasonal track. The mood at the beginning of the night was polite, as the crowd listened attentively during garage pop duo Makeout Videotape's cover of "Let It Snow." But the audience began to come out of its shell by the time Fine Mist hit the stage, bringing a synth-heavy new wave sound courtesy of a live line-up that included members of the SSRIs and Brasstronaut and Japandroids drummer David Prowse. Next, Analog Bell Service upped the energy with the hilariously creepy Christmas rocker "Greedy Kids Can't Sleep," a jittery groove that mixed spoken word samples with three-part screams about Christmas Eve insomnia and maniacal, echoing laughter.
The audience grew increasingly rowdy as the night wore on, and stripped-down acoustic performances by Brasstronaut and Nick Krgovich & Rose Melberg were almost entirely drowned out by the chatter. Up-tempo rockers by Vancougar and Machu Picchu faired much better, although the crowd seemed more interested in dancing to the pop hits that played between bands.
The group that best capitalized on the drunken atmosphere was jangle punk trio Apollo Ghosts, whose performance included the deployment of a Speedo-wearing Santa Claus throwing confetti around the room before stage diving into the audience. These antics were enough to earn a chant of "one more song," a refreshing change from the distracted revelry that hampered many of the night's performances.