B-Lines / Knife Pleats / Mormon Crosses Hindenburg, Vancouver BC, September 11
Published Sep 12, 2015The "Opening Band" have closed once and for all. Veteran Vancouver punks B-Lines announced their breakup earlier this summer at the start of a West coast tour, citing that they're getting "too old to be punk" and naming this hometown date at Hindenburg as their final show. As such, the night was tinged with bittersweetness — a farewell to a beloved mainstay, yet one last very wild ride. Ryan Dyck, B-Lines frontman and Hockey Dad Records proprietor, greeted attendees at the door, signing T-shirts and issuing high-fives.
Outfitted in B-Lines T-shirts, Knife Pleats kicked the night off sweetly, with upbeat surf rock jams laced with sugary hooks, thumping percussion and pleasingly off-key harmonies. They sounded like an edgier version of the Go-Go's, applying retro pop arrangements and looking the part, too, with fringed bobs and thick-framed glasses.
Up next, Mormon Crosses took things down to a darker level. Murky melodies that dropped to harrowing shreds and vehement percussion under howling vocals extended into mind-melting noise that conjured comparisons to Nirvana's Bleach era. The grimy three-piece impressed with their musical dexterity, inciting trance-fuelled headbangs.
The crowd, now overflowing the balcony and onto the stairwell, crammed thickly on the floor as B-Lines strapped into their instruments. "Okay, this is it for B-Lines!" Dyck said as the band feverishly launched into "Hastings Strut," to which a mosh pit — that continued for the full duration of the night — immediately broke out.
Dyck leaned and swayed his lanky body back and forth, his eyes rolling around in the back of his head as he neurotically shrieked through B-Lines' catalog of short-spurted, smart-assed punk. He crowd surfed unremittingly, getting sucked into the mob during "Nervous Laughter" but never losing a beat, emerging like a messiah to crawl onstage, smash B-Lines' signature cat-in-a-basket portrait over his head — the frame swinging around his neck — and heave himself back into the masses.
The rest of the band maintained a controlled kind of chaos, guitarist Scotty Colin delivering especially blistering riffs on "In the Red" and drummer Bruce Dyck furiously pummelling alongside bassist Todd Taylor's meaty licks on "Do You Know Who I Am?"
In an exchange of punk-rock affection, beer cans were flung at the stage, to which Dyck chucked a couple shaken-up cans of Pabst in return that the audience sprayed over each other in ballistic glee. More sentimental moments came as T-shirts were handed to fans, but the most tender of all arrived when Dyck presented longtime B-Lines roadie, Christian, with the band's only gold record.
After a rowdy rendition of "Opening Band" that transitioned seamlessly into "Tonite," the sweaty crowd chanted for an encore, deafeningly cheering as B-Lines came back for their last live utterance, ever — "Supplements" — and capturing their legacy in a 40-minute set of uninhibited insanity.