With the stage adorned in literal party decorations, it was clear that Lee’s Palace was going to be a rockin’ good time on Saturday night when The Pack A.D. came to town. The Vancouver duo brought with them a couple of equally hard rocking Canadian bands to open and warm up the crowd.
First up were Grey Lands, the side project of Cuff the Duke frontman Wayne Petti. Steeped heavily in the sounds of 90s underground alternative, the band brings to mind a modernized Canadian version of Sonic Youth. Droning guitars, heavy distortion effects, and long instrumental jams accentuate those similarities. At one point Petti used his guitar as a jackhammer, presumably to get just the right sound.
Kingston duo PS I Love You were on second and continued in the same vein as Grey Lands. Only where Sonic Youth were Grey Lands’ patron saints, PS I Love You sit at the altar of Dinosaur Jr. Frontman Paul Saulnier even has long locks like Dino Jr’s J. Mascis, perfect for headbanging. There was a sort of anarchic quality to the set; some songs were long jams, others were incredibly short. Apparently coaxed out of retirement by The Pack A.D., the two pleased the crowd with their intense and renowned “behind-the-back” guitar solos.
Becky Black and Maya Miller then took to the stage with a decidedly different approach to rock, though no less enticing. The band’s concise, vicious punk anthems hover between two and three minutes and are filled with hook after hook. Crunchy guitar riffs abound, and 70s punk style chanting (such as in hit single “Haunt You”) take the garage sound out to the beach. Fan favourite “Sirens”, with its inescapable earworm of a guitar hook, also made an appearance. One particularly popular song was “Animal”, which the crowd was begging to hear throughout the night.
Singer and guitarist Becky Black reminded the crowd that the band’s new album Positive Thinking will be out on August 12th, before launching into one of the tracks from that record. An appropriately titled album, as the concert was indeed a positive, joyous bash that merited all the streamers, banners, and tinsel strewn across the stage.
June 4, 2016
Photos by Dusty Lalas