Thursday, October 12, 2006

Concert Review: Lillix, Marianas Trench and Shiftkit - By: Lezah Williamson

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Concert Review: Lillix, Marianas Trench and Shiftkit

Citrus Nightclub, Langley, BC - Oct. 7/06

All ages shows... they have certain advantages and certain disadvantages. On the advantages side, you don't get the drunken neanderthals who regularly try and push and slam their way through a crowd; you also get the fresh responses of those still not jaded from hundreds of late nights in clubs watching a variety of bands try to claw their way up to the top. On the disadvantages side, you get a lot of people who are there for just one band only (maybe they heard them on the radio) and so don't even give the other bands a chance - but hey, you get that at all shows, I guess.

Anyway, this show was kind of different from your average night club show because it was at 2 in the afternoon. In a nightclub. I think there's an oxymoron in there somewhere. Plus it was all ages, plus it was in my hometown, plus it was a bunch of homegrown bands. So, a bit different from what I usually do, concert-wise.

Fortunately the weather was beautiful, because when we got to Citrus Nightclub at 1:30 (doors at 1:30, show at 2) the bouncers kept us lined up along the sidewalk until about 1:50. The line was already long when we got there, and proceeded to stretch its way down the block, right past Save-On-Foods (or whatever it's called now - I think they just changed their name). Whatever the case, it allowed me to get a good look at the patrons, which was about 15% parents accompanying their children to their first concert, and the remainder being school-aged girls, for the most part. There were kids from 8 to 18 there, but the mean age appeared to be 13. Probably 65-70% were female. I think I'm getting a handle on this demographic...

Anyway, turns out the first band, Shiftkit, is from Langley, so they didn't have a long drive. Ha ha. If you try and look them up on the internet, you'll probably just get a lot of stuff about car transmissions. Shiftkit is what, in the old days, I would have referred to as heavy metal but now is apparently more correctly termed 'alt rock'. They were shades of Rancid with touches of Pantera in there; the gravelly-voiced singer got a bit flat at times but their drummer was great. The bass player kept trying to incite the crowd to cheer for the lead singer, but the biggest fan reaction seemed to come from a single girl in the crowd who was wearing an 'I love Shiftkit' shirt. They played for a lot longer than I had anticipated - about 40 minutes - but were very quick with their tear-down after their set.

Then we made the transition from headbangers to harmonies. Vancouver-based Marianas Trench (they're very deep!) came on, and all it took was one appearance on the stage at set up time and the girls in the crowd were screaming. Frontman Josh Ramsey has a relatively high voice compared to the singer in the first band; they also employ a lot of three and four part harmonies in their songs, somewhat reminiscent of The Futureheads or The Beach Boys, and yet different... There was a lot of harmonizing but an equal amount of hard rockin' drums and guitar. One song they did completely a cappella - quite amazing, really, and a rarity today. I can't remember the last time I saw something like that live - if ever. Brave. And it worked. I really liked this band, and the crowd was with me on this one. During Marianas Trench's set, the crowd was going wild. I was sitting up top on the balcony, and I kind of thought at times this some of these pre-pubescent patrons' first concert might also prove to be their last - there were a ton of people pushing from the back into the little girls who had stood in the front, and they were getting well and truly squished. Lesson learned, I guess...

The final band of the afternoon was Lillix, an all girl band that hails from Cranbrook, BC. They had a big hit about five years ago that went gold in Japan and was used in the movie Freaky Friday - and this when the girls in the band were just 13-15 years of age! But they are now back, older and wiser, with a new album. The lead singer came out dressed in heels and a red trench coat, which she quickly discarded to show a black shift underneath. Each of the girls had their own distinct look, and their sound was a very commercial pop/rock with lots of harmonies. I think they'll do well with their new album, and hopefully we won't have to wait five years for the next one.

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