Satanic Surfers at The Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver, BC
Supported by Belvedere and The Corps
by Claudia Wyler
It appeared to be another typical wet and dreary Pacific Northwest Thursday evening in Vancouver, BC but it was far from ordinary. The anticipation outside the Rickshaw Theatre was one of excitement and anticipation. Anyone who grew up in the '90s in the skate punk scene loved Satanic Surfers- it was almost like an anthem of our youth- which was also evident by the crowd which mainly consisted of middle age punk rockers like myself. Having lived
in Europe in the mid to late 90's the punk scene was obsessed with all the bands I grew up listening to but I wasn't introduced to the Swedish punk sound of Satanic Surfers until I moved there. When I returned to Canada in 1998 turns out they were just as popular here as they were in Europe! Since their breakup in 2007 Satanic Surfers have only played a handful of shows and festivals, so the announcement of their upcoming Canadian tour last summer was a big but welcoming surprise as was the release of their newest album last year. Even better for us was the kickoff of their Canadian tour being right here in Vancouver, BC. Opening up for Satanic Surfers was Canadian favourite Belvedere, a four-piece band hailing Calgary, AB. Although, they too broke up in the mid-2000's Belvedere has been back on the scene since 2012 with shows and a tour behind them before releasing their fifth studio album in 2016.
Upon arriving at the Rickshaw, local Vancouver band The Corps was just getting on stage to a massive roar of the local crowd. Thinking I had never heard of this band before I was pleasantly surprised and loved their sound- a style reminiscent of NOFX.
It's been six months since I last photographed a rock concert so, of course, all my nerves were present which was not eased with the excessive use of the smoke machine which makes it almost impossible to breathe let alone get clear shots of the band! A little smoke goes a long way my friends but the crowd didn't seem to care as the floor was packed with an almost instant super active circle pit. I was caught off guard with the epic melodies of their second song 'Breakfast at Pamela's', I was not expecting that and found it hard to focus on photographing the show as I wanted to just watch and take it all in!
The Corps has a huge local fan base, and I instantly saw why. Their melodies, soaring yet pounding riffs and catchy lyrics had the crowd singing along animatedly especially to fan favourites Booster Gold and Super Girl.
They ended their set with 'Spell It Out' a four-minute long epicness of all things that make up a classic punk rock song. I may have entered this show not knowing what this band was all about, but I left a HUGE fan. Two days later I still have the lyrics from Booster Gold stuck in my head "Far away, no one will remember my name, far away, another Goldstar for the fame" and precisely the opposite is happening- The Corps- not a bands name that will be forgotten.
The crowd was on a total high leading into Belvedere's set as they opened with 'Subhuman Nature.' Their harmonies and melodic punch had the crowd into a frenzy by the time they started playing songs from their newest album which was released back in 2016. I felt they did an excellent job of mixing up their set up with new and old songs as did the crowd as was evident in the ever increasing energy in the room.
Belvedere addressed the crowd numerous times thanking them for their support and reminded the crowd that their first Canadian and European tour was with Satanic Surfers back in 2002... you know 17 YEARS AGO. Despite that being almost a lifetime ago, the energy and pure joy Belvedere had on stage was infectious.
Belvedere has many vocal and instrumental dynamics that are particularly highlighted in songs like 'Quicksand,' 'Closed Doors' and my favourite 'All About Perspectives.' They closed out the show with 'Brandy Wine' from their 2004 album 'Fast Forward Eats the Tape' which left the crowd begging for more.
With an insanely late set time of 11pm headliners, Satanic Surfers took to the stage. Having just flown in from Sweden I can only imagine the jet lag they felt, and this is likely the reason for the late set time for us locals on a school night.
They opened with songs from their Hero of our Time album starting with 'And the Cheese Fell Down' and although a few newer songs were played the majority of the set consisted of fan favourites from this album. The crowd went wild feverishly singing along to 'Armless Skater' and 'Head Under Water' showing that despite the 22 years since this album was released fans have still had these songs ingrained in their minds.
This is a band that is highly melodic and has tons of energy as did this crowd especially mid-show when the entire crowd sang along to 'Sunshiny Day.' Guitarist Magnus thanked the crowd as he let them know they only had a couple songs left and that they "wouldn't be back for 13 years or like a really long time"! They ended this epic night of Punk Rock with 'PC=Potential Criminal" The pit was insane, but despite this, there was tons of hugging and, and I have to say it had one of the fastest man down get him up reflexes at a show that I have seen in a long time. It truly was an epic night of punk rock that won't be soon forgotten.