Published Jun 07, 2010Vancouver's Music Waste is a bit of an anomaly in the world of music festivals. While the line-up boasted a show headlined by Japandroids last year, it's almost exclusively played by bands that have yet make much noise outside their hometown. It also gives local music aficionados the chance to check out acts on the cheap in less-frequented parts of the city; a mere $15 gets you a pass for the entire weekend and the venues range from dive bars to bowling alleys to warehouse-come-art spaces.
The fest's first night of music was dominated by noise and psych, with a pair of shows curated by Vancouver's Fake Jazz Wednesday experimental weekly and one from the organizers of Psych Night. Black Wizard highlighted the latter, pounding out a set of stoner jams reminiscent of another "black" act and that would have made Ozzy and Tony proud.
From day two on, there was more stylistic variety to be heard, but it was the heavier acts that dominated. The cleverly monikered Joyce Collingwood (the all-girl act took their name from a Vancouver SkyTrain station) tore through a set of growling hardcore that won over the entire room at Lick. Boogie Monster pummelled the same audience into submission later in the evening with their instrumental mix of roaring guitars and crashing drums. MYTHS' dark beats and spastic vocals got a packed house at the Astoria fired up early on the third night. And Timecopz rocked a full room at Zoo Zhop with their no-frills punk. The festival's purveyors of harsh sounds didn't steal the whole show, though.
Needles//Pins injected a healthy dose of melody into their punk proceedings during their Goody show, while Fine Mist - usually stripped down to two voices, one keyboard and an iPod - took the stage at 917 Main with a full band in tow, delivering a half hour of lovelorn electro pop that got the audience singing along.
Gang Violence followed on the same stage the next evening with a set of pulsing jams that got the crowded dance floor moving. The band played their first show as an instrumental duo two years to the day at 2008's Music Waste. This year's performance was their last and they celebrated the same way they started, save for a pair of songs with vocalist (and longtime Waste organizer) Sarah Cordingley. When an overzealous audience member grabbed a mic mid-set and attempted a live audition as the band's new singer, he was politely rebuffed.
The festival closed at Grandview Lanes for an afternoon of free-for-all five-pin bowling and music. The "cosmic" décor of glowing paint and black lights was the perfect backdrop for Twin Crystals' searing guitars and evil-sounding synths. It was Apollo Ghosts, though, who were the highlight of the affectionately titled, Bowl Your Own Waste show.
Charging through a cover of the Vaseline's "Molly's Lips" to open their set, head Ghost Adrian Teacher, thrusting into the crowd, rallying the masses for a singalong and sending a ball down every one of the alley's eight lanes mid-song, captured the spirit of Music Waste - simultaneously wonderful, absurd and completely homegrown - like nothing else.