The wingchick and I headed downtown on Saturday night to see an amazing post – hardcore (don’t you love the genres and sub-genres of music) show at one of our favourite venues, the Rickshaw Theatre, located at the very trendy (not) Main and Hastings in the heart of the Downtown Eastside. The Rickshaw is always . . .interesting . . our latest learning experience is that you have to bring your own TP . . .seriously.
Washroom degradation notwithstanding, it was an incredible show – the “I’m Alive” tour with five hardcore bands, most of them had toured together on Warped Tour this year. Given the sheer number of bands at Warped we had managed to somehow miss all of these at The Gorge, so it seemed like a perfect chance to catch up with them.
And you know, since the fancy venues don’t book hardcore bands, if you want to see them you just have to man up and head out to places like the Rickshaw. And its a riot – sometimes literally. I’ve never had a bad time there and in fact I’ve had some really excellent nights at the Rickshaw. And you get to go next door to The Savoy Pub for shots between sets . . .that place has been there forever and the regulars could not have been friendlier. It used to be a popular live music venue – the wingchick has vague memories of seeing Tom Cochrane there aeons ago – and maybe even Blue Rodeo – it’s for sure their sort of place and it reminds me a lot of The “Legendary” Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto (scene of many a crime in my UofT days). I’d say it’s a real possibility. I came across this review of The Savoy on Yelp and I laughed so hard – he must have been an ***hole because the regulars were super nice to us – but we’d just come from the metal show next door and didn’t have our FB friends, so maybe that’s why it was all ok??? Or we are just not that hip (or young!).
“The hot new thing in Vancouver is dive bars, with the poverty-stricken elderly alcoholics losing their seedy drinking holes to a rising new generation of hip youngsters. For one reason or another, they seek out cheap liquor in run down areas, and take over filthy locations by playing ironic music and inviting all of their friends on Facebook. What used to be a scary and depressing series of bars near Main and Hastings is slowly developing into regular hangouts for overdressed students who love the novelty of poverty.
But not the Savoy. This place is perhaps the most exclusive of all the dingy bars on Hastings, in that anyone who looks like they might have been remotely spoiled as children are not welcome by any of the regulars. Full of loud obnoxious drunks who’ve seen it all and people who would stab you for your shoes, the vibe is very “you think you’re better than me?” and it’s not unusual to get yelled at to leave by the close knit group of angry “too ugly to ever get famous no matter how good they are at singing” regulars.
But man, the drinks are super cheap, and the song selection is pretty great. The bartenders and bouncers are alright too, they usually seem happy to see polite and wholesome people who actually leave tips, but they can’t really do anything to protect you from whatever the locals have in mind.
The pit at the Rickshaw often looks something like this, and your feet are usually stuck to the floor, so after a few shots at the Savoy, how could you not have fun!! It is of course possible that the wingchick and I have somewhat unusual tastes . . .no, really? You think?
But, back to the music. At any show I always hope that I will come across a new band that I loooove and this one didn’t disappoint. We had never heard Texas in July and they turned out to be the winners of the night. Amazing live show, great musicianship – loved them – the drummer was absolutely stellar. Our other fav of the night was Miss May I, which maybe says something about our taste – the guys from Miss May I started their set by saying that they weren’t sure they belonged on this tour because they were “too metal”. Sub-groups with sub-groups. I thought they were great. Here’s 1000 Lies from Texas in July – it’s loud, be warned.
The only dubious part of our evening was the walk back to the bus . . I know, we really know how to have a good time on a Saturday night. We decided that the bus stop right at Main and Hastings was too nasty even for us (prior experience) so we thought we would walk back to the much better Gastown bus stop. This did involve a stroll along a couple of Vancouver’s finer blocks where really, no-one paid us even the slightest bit of attention. The only “danger” we were in was when one of the more athletic citizens of the area took exception to a greeting yelled at him from across the street and proceeded, with admirable strength and accuracy, to hurl his shopping cart right across 4 lanes of traffic, missing all the cars but almost mowing down the wingchick and me standing open-mouthed on the other side.
Getting back to the Gastown area, it seemed to truly be overtaken by the suburban kids who would formerly never stray north or east of Georgia and Granville – which is a bit of a disappointment. We will just have to keep heading eastward. All in all, it was an excellent night out and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone else but the wingchick – she knows how to walk the walk in the best parts of many towns.