By Joshua Erickson
November 18, 2016
VANCOUVER — Although they didn’t form until 2009, I think it is fair to call OFF! “legends.” Comprised of members of Rocket From the Crypt/Hot Snakes (drummer Mario Rubalcaba), Burning Brides (guitarist Dimitri Coats), Red Kross (bassist Steven Shane McDonald), and fronted by Keith Morris, vocalist for Circle Jerks and Black Flag – they’ve earned the designation. So who do you get to open for punk legends? Two of Vancouver’s best punk bands, of course. It also just happens two of Vancouver’s best punk bands right now are both comprised of all female members.
Opening the night was the fast and fierce Glad Rags. While having a bit of sound problems, an audience member shouted at the band, “Big gig. Don’t mess this one up, girls!” Guitarist Selina Koop gave him a death stare like no other and that alone is one of the most punk rock things I have seen in awhile. When Glad Rags got going, they ripped. Theirs is punk rock with both gravitas and the urge to make you wanna drink 12 PBRs.
Second up was Lié and, if I am being honest, they stole the show. Taking the stage with a very IDGAF attitude, Lié’s brooding post-punk meets hardcore crossover was as intimidating as it was exhilarating. Brittany West’s bass rattled in my chest and chugged like Peter Hook himself onstage. Kati J’s drums moved fluidly between thunderous and breakneck and Ashley Luk’s guitar screeched and pierced in the best kind of way. The two-vocal assault also created for some disorienting and wonderful moments. If you didn’t already have your eye on Lié, take some time to become familiar.
After a brief intermission, the aforementioned legends, OFF!, were up. Keith Morris is definitely the star and centre of attention at an OFF! gig, but let me just take a moment to appreciate the rest of the band. OFF!’s songs may sound simple, but they rip extraordinarily fast, contain complex chord changes, bizarre song structures and require more chops than you would expect. So hats off to Rubalcaba, McDonald, and Coats. What else can be said about Keith Morris in 2016? He remains one of the best frontmen in music with frentic and vital energy that people half his age have a hard time coming up with. So, perhaps the real question is: What else can Keith Morris say about 2016? He certainly had some thoughts at the show. Most of them seemed to be half-thoughts though, and at many points you wondered what the hell he was talking about. At one point, he literally pulled out a book and started doing a book reading. After about a minute or two, Coats started playing guitar and Morris turned around and yelled, “Fuck you!” at him, while Coats continued to play. Morris dropped the book and the band immediately went into their next song? Just a gag? Or maybe that is their recipe to stay angry. Either way, OFF! played a great set, which further cements their legacy. But seriously. Lié stole the show.BC, British Columbia, Glad Rags, lié, OFF!, Rickshaw Theatre