Rock’n’roll, motherfucker!

On Sunday night, I checked out the Sahara Hotnights show at Richards on Richards. Leah had won free tickets, but decided to not go. Actually, she’d won free tickets courtesy of The D4, who were one of the opening acts.

The show appeared to be some sort of Universal Music international Showcase: The bands Ikara Colt & Washdown are from England, The D4 are from New Zealand and Sahara Hotnights are from Sweden.

There was some trouble when I, and my guest Steve (who, incidentally, provides the hosting for this site too) got there: no one had any idea what this contest that Leah won was. Apparently, the Universal rep did this without the band’s permission, and so I couldn’t claim my free T-shirt (fortunately, we already had the tickets, so could go straight in). I just assumed I’d never get the shirt, but would get to see the show, which really, is the whole point.

So we settled ourselves down on the balcony, just as Ikara Cold was wrapping up. Because I was mussing about sorting out this contest thing, I didn’t really get a good listen, but what I did hear, sounded pretty tight. I can certainly say that someone in the band had an impressive ‘fro.

Washdown was up next. With Mick Jagger-like prancing by the lead singer and surly precision by the lead guitarist, these guys were living up to the garage-rock-bands-want-to-be-the-Stones thing quite well. Their drummer just kicked som serious ass, pounding out the beats hard and fast. Unfortunately, it seemed a little too fast for the bassist, who on a few occasions lost time on the rest of the band. The band also suffered from a certain sameness of sound — there seemed to be very little differentiating one song from another. The difference between them and the guys I’ve seen at SHiNDiG wasn’t that much, and I wasn’t terribly sad when their set ended.

The D4 just blew the rest of the bands away with their set. Crisp songs, tight band, excellent on-and-off stage antics, they gave it up but good. Clearly led by the singer and their guitarist (who looked much like a strung-out junkie, it must be said) they were right on the money. Both the singer (who was wearing an ‘itty bitty titty bar’ shirt, that somehow seemed very appropriate) and the guitarist wondered into the by-now moshing crowd during the set, much to the delight of everyone. They also jumped around, fell on their knees, kicked over mic stands, etc. At the very end of their set, having fallen all over the place, the drummer joined in the mayhem, stabbing his drums through with his drumsticks. Either skins are cheap, or this was the end of their tour. I’m pretty sure they went overtime, as they played a fair number of songs, and had a break after blowing an amp midway through.

Sahara Hotnights were everything that they were promised to be. The only bad thing is that their set was really, really short. This was probably in part because The D4 went over, but still, it seemed too short. They too, rocked with abandon, although with a certain mechanical preciseness to them that seemed at odds with the music — it was almost too tight, too perfectly played. Also, they didn’t interact much with the crowd, and after only 5 songs, when they left the stage, it seemed odd to be cheering for an encore, but we did get a 2-song set. They then had to shut down the show, it being way past midnight on a Sunday here in Vancouver (crazy laws!).

On my way out, I was given my shirt by the doorman. The shirt, after a D4 song, reads ‘Rock’n’roll Motherfucker‘ on it.

I’d definitely recommend that anyone into this new-wave of garage rock check out both the Sahara Hotnights and The D4 (links are to their albums at Amazon.com).