A staple in Vancouver’s infamous polka punk scene, the Dreadnoughts have been around since sometime in 2006, at least that is according to lead singer Marco Bieri. Now, in 2014, five original members remain the core of this seven-piece polka punk group, an impressive feat considering the band’s history of relentless touring. For those who are unacquainted with the Dreadnoughts, “punk” seems to be the all encompassing genre selected by media and fans alike to classify the band, although that is not what Bieri considers the band to be. Instead, the band uses the term “Cluster Folk”. When questioned about their ties to punk Bieri states, “I’m not even sure what a punk band is. If it is a bunch of guys travelling the world independently, destroying stages with energetic, fun live shows, getting people to move – a hard concept for many bands,” says Bieri under his breath, “then yes, we are punk.”
Punk, polka, cluster folk, whatever; one thing is certain, the Dreadnoughts are all about having fun. That mantra, manifesto and brand has paid off big time for Bieri and the boys. Since their modest beginnings of swillin’ beer and chasin’ strange at local dive, the Yvanhoe, the band has become well known for their high-energy live shows.
Since their humble beginning, The Dreadnoughts have managed to orchestrate several Canadian and European tours, for a total of over 400 shows. To support this rigorous touring schedule, the band has three full-length records and two EPs under their belt. All of which have been released on labels of varying prestige, but most notably heavyweight Canadian punk/ska label Stomp Records, run by Matt Collyer of The Planet Smashers. It’s an impressive one-sheet for anyone, but especially for purveyors of a relatively unmapped sub-genre.
Eight years in and still going strong, the Dreadnoughts show no signs of fatigue as they continue to work hard, play hard and have fun while doing it. Fresh off a nine-show European jaunt and booked to open for NOFX at an undisclosed festival in the U.K. this summer, the boys also seem to have honed a knack for the business end of being a punk band as they continue to operate on their own terms with a strong DIY work ethic.
“A perfect example is playing with Guttermouth,” Bieri, co-promoter of the upcoming St. Punktrick’s Day show at the Rickshaw, elaborates. “I saw them at the Biltmore last September and, of course, knew every word dating back to when I was 16,” says Bieri, pausing for a moment. “Fuck, 16 years ago,” he says with added emphasis, and continues, “I then went to Google and typed in ‘Guttermouth booking,’ sent two emails and BAM here they are.”
The Dreadnoughts and Guttermouth co-headline St. Punktrick’s Day at the Rickshaw on March 14th.
By Evan Wansbrough
Photo: Black Rose Photography