By Thomas Sadek
The Commodore Ballroom
March 14th, 2018.
VANCOUVER – Pennywise is turning 30 this year and is on the road to celebrate it. They always bring the party and Vancouverites know the deal – the show at The Commodore was sold out, despite being on a Wednesday.
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” from their 1991 debut self-titled album, started the ball and a massive (and non-stop) mosh pit immediately pushed everyone around. That must have resonated with lead singer Jim Lindberg and guitarist Fletcher Dragge, who were also jumping around and were clearly having a lot of fun onstage. A few of the Commodore’s safety rules were broken as the front-line security couldn’t handle all the punks trying to stage dive and all the crowd-surfers making their way across the room. It was clear that the Californian boys were feeling right at home.
Pennywise played all the classics – punk rock anthems that helped shape the genre’s history including “Same Old Story” and “Fuck Authority”, escorted by a legion of voices singing every word. They also thanked all the bands that helped them throughout their three-decades career in a heartwarming speech: Bad Religion (Guitarist Brett Gurewitz owns Epitaph Records, the label that cemented Pennywise’s path since 1991), Rancid, NOFX, Black Flag and others were honourable mentioned before a cover of Circle Jerks’ iconic “Wild In The Streets” and a powerful version of “Fight For Your Right”, in appreciation of the late Adam Yauch (MCA) of the Beastie Boys.
The house favourite seemed to be “Bro Hymn”, the last song on the 18-track set list for the evening that had everyone singing along even after the band stopped playing. But the quartet didn’t leave the stage before proclaiming their love for Canada, saying that we should build a wall to separate ourselves from our southern neighbour, and for Vancouver, because this city too brings the party on and also because of the weed, of course.Commodore Ballroom, Pennywise