By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – Evoking the image of Rockwell’s tattooed sailor, with the names of a half a dozen dames crossed-out on his arm, the Vancouver punk-act known as Sore Points has a rich musical history behind them. Forged in 2016, the litany of bands that the rambunctious threesome have been involved with over the years is as long as it is diverse. But for vocalist/bassist Shane Grass, guitarist/vocalist Mitch Allen and drummer/vocalist Trevor Racz being “the fastest band on six legs” is the ultimate form of self-expression and, indeed, how Sore Points intend make their mark on the scene.
“We’ve been in a list of bands that includes Spectres, Rapid Loss, Pura Mania, Nervous Talk, Shitty Neighbours, Ramores, Isotopes… that’s just a few of them, but probably enough,” reports Grass half-jokingly. “Back in February of 2016 when we started jamming, Trevor and I were trying to start something after Nervous Talk disbanded. Trevor kind of knew Mitch from the old days in Calgary. So, we set up a jam and fucked around with some Ramones songs and decided to do it some more after that.”
Received with open arms and touted as a “Band to Watch in 2017” by the Georgia Straight, Sore Points have grown at their own frenetic pace regardless of the media magnifying glass that has been hovering over their creative activities for the past 12 months.
“I don’t think it put a lot of pressure on us,” says Allen. “We did a 7-inch, which we put out on Hosehead records, we played a whole bunch of shows and we made some bigger and better plans for 2018. We’ve got a television appearance coming up, that we’re not allowed to talk about. HDTV is unforgiving and so are we!”
The pint-size vinyl in question, the bombastic Don’t Want To, was issued last August. A short, sharp shot of Sore Points’ high-velocity punk rock credo, that runs its course in four breakneck tunes, the whole shebang clocks in at around seventeen minutes. Not entirely surprising for a trio who prides itself on quick and catchy numbers that don’t hang around long enough to wear out their welcome. According to propellant percussionist Racz, the same holds true for the forthright three-piece’s riotous live shows.
“It’s pretty much over in 22 and that’s it,” Racz reports. “But, honestly, I think people get bored after that. I don’t want to see a band for more than 20 minutes. I don’t think people have the attention span anymore.”
The three neo-Stooges are satisfied that their rapid-fire live performances are what really set them apart from a hive of fresh ‘n’ gritty garage bands in tight denim pants.
“We played some great shows with some pretty snappy bands, but I don’t’ think there’s a lot of bands in town who are doing what we’re doing.” acknowledges Grass. “It’s just easy to stand out when there’s not a lot of competition. I think there’s tons of great punk bands in Vancouver right now, they just all sound different, because people are doing different things. If you think about those big classic bands like NoMeansNo and D.O.A. maybe there’s not people doing that exactly, but there’s other things going on. The main thing with us is that we play faster.”
Do they ever! Tearing through a set of tense and dense tracks, including the obstinate “Don’t Want To” and the endearing “Be Alone”, with a flourish of bratty epithets and insistent rhythms, Sore Points calculate volume, velocity and violence in perfect measures. Equal and opposite reactions being what they are, the irrepressible threesome knows all too well that there is a price to pay for barking out lyrics and purveying power chords at hyperspeed. By their reasoning, it’s better to go out and pick a fight than to sit at home by yourself on a Saturday night.
“Holy smokes! The thing is, it’s not the late ‘70s, or early ‘80s, it’s 2017!” Grass emphasizes. “I think that’s where we get a lot of our influences, but we’re doing it like we would today. Cuz it is today!”
The Sore Points’ connection to Calgary remains strong enough that they have been prevailed upon to head inland for a solitary one-off show over the holiday season.
“Yup. Just one show for us. One special show for Calgary only,” Grass confirms. “We’ve all been in Vancouver for years. For sure it’s home now. I’m from all over, but those guys are former Albertans. It’s just nice to be on the coast; I try not to think about taxes.”
SORE POINTS perform December 29th with Ultra Gash, Janitor Scum and Vanta at the Palomino [Calgary]Janitor Scum, Palomino, punk, Sore Points, Ultra Gash, Vancouver, Vanta