In what they've referred to as one of their last shows for a while, Vancouver legends the Pack A.D. performed a loud and laidback set to a thick and happy crowd at the Rickshaw Theatre on Friday night.
Drummer Maya Miller and lead singer/guitarist Becky Black took the stage in a gust of pink smoke, diving right into their signature thundering garage rock with booming wallops, fuzzed-out licks and Black's throaty wail. That power — unfailingly impressive, never mind the fact that it's generated from just two people — is what the Pack are both known and loved for, and they consistently deliver those goods. There was a relaxed ease to their demeanours and the crowd — a mob at the front of the room dancing joyously and sometimes crowd surfing; discerning musicologists towards the back album name-checking — were equally as comfortable. This familiarity coated the room in a warmth, kind of like an old friend that you know you're guaranteed to have a great time with, which made for an evening that, while not necessarily mind-blowing, was at once feel-good and fulfilling.
The band played a mix of their catalogue, including a commanding "Yes I Know" from 2016's Positive Thinking; "Animal" from 2014's Do Not Engage, and the swaggering title track, and set highlight, from this year's Dollhouse. Perhaps the biggest moment of the night, however (and ironically so, as it was probably the quietest sonically) came at the encore with a rousing rendition of "I Tried," which, with slower, wistful arrangements (and before the stomping "Sirens"' sent the entire room dancing into the night) recalled the Pack's bluesy roots and showed off Black's striking vocal range.