The Thermals / Romance The Media Club, Vancouver BC February 22

Having won CITR’s Shindig contest last year, Romance have enjoyed moderate success in Vancouver for their brand of fun but ultimately forgettable power pop. Their set was not terrible, but wallowed in irritating mediocrity. Fortunately, the Thermals’ brand of unpretentious vintage pop punk is a sound that can please anyone. Their set was a little long for comfort, but their combination of choice song selection and balls-out bravado kept the crowd in awe. "Here’s Your Future” opened the set with Hutch Harris’s simple guitar refrain and characteristic voice, quickly joined by the explosive rhythm section of bassist Kathy Foster, rhythm guitarist Joel Burrows and drummer Lorin Coleman. They played songs from all three of their records, but mainly focused on 2006’s The Body, The Blood, and the Machine, a good idea by all measures. Some of the audience, possibly experiencing their first indie rock concert, engaged in some ill-placed "Warped Tour moshing,” hitting Hutch in the face with his mic stand and breaking his guitar string. Consequently, he rushed off the stage before the song finished to get a different guitar, and some wondered if the set was over. He returned smiling and closed out the set with the one-two punch of "A Pillar of Salt” and "Returning to the Fold,” followed by a three-song encore.