By Stepan Soroka
VANCOUVER — Chances are, if you go to punk shows in Vancouver you’ve been to one hosted by Not Yer Buddy, an Abbotsford-based promotion company that has been responsible for close to 300 concerts since its inception in 2011. Spearheaded by Seamus McGrath, you may find Not Yer Buddy’s hands behind everything from sold out gigs at The Rickshaw to smoky house parties and backyard matinees.
McGrath, who grew up listening to his older brother’s Clash records in rural Nova Scotia, saw a void to fill in Vancouver following the ravaging of the local arts scene by the 2010 Olympics. This was compounded by the death of a dear friend, whose passing prompted McGrath to re-evaluate his involvement in the community. “It rocked my world,” McGrath explains. “I was a hermit for several years, and that forced me to see a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time. That sparked something inside of me.” McGrath began throwing the odd weekend house show in Abbotsford, increasing in frequency and eventually growing to organize events in Vancouver.
“There’s so much good fucking music here,” McGrath explains, when asked what makes the Vancouver scene special. “And there is a city government that is definitely not about it. They don’t give a fuck. They want it out.” So that leaves people like McGrath to pick up the slack and do the often thankless behind-the-scenes work that allows a strong local music scene to flourish. “Sometimes I feel like I know what I’m doing, and sometimes I don’t,” McGrath explains, regarding his role as a promoter. “Sometimes I feel like what I’m doing doesn’t even matter, and sometimes it’s the complete opposite.” But for an entire community of local musicians and fans, Not Yer Buddy’s work is essential.
Dealing primarily with punk rock, Not Yer Buddy has succeeded in fostering a consistent atmosphere of inclusivity at their shows. McGrath explains that the regulars at Not Yer Buddy concerts are approachable, open minded, and non-judgemental. “We don’t have an illustrious record of attracting assholes to our shows,” he explains. “It doesn’t matter how many people are there or what the bands are playing, necessarily. Everyone is on the same wave length, connected to the same good feeling. There’s no bullshit, no pretentiousness, no anger.”
Not Yer Buddy’s 5th Anniversary takes place at the Rickshaw Theatre on Thursday November 10th with Red Circle, Off by an Inch, Mess, The Corps, Dagrs, Anchoress, and Strugglers.Anchoress, BC, British Columbia, Dagrs, Mess, Not Yer Buddy, Off by an Inch, punk music promoter, Red Circle, Rickshaw Theatre, Seamus McGrath, Strugglers, The Corps