The last time we reviewed a concert with a lineup of exclusively local bands was during the Vancouver qualifying rounds of Wacken Metal Battle in April/May, so Friday’s show at Funky Winkerbeans was an opportunity to check out a couple of new (to us) acts and to follow up on one of the competing bands from the Metal Battle.
Fey delivered an impressive set of heavy, grungy hardcore with a splash of surf punk twang, accompanied by the explosive vocals of Sam Caviglia. Evidently this was bassist Taylor Compo’s last show with the group and one hopes his replacement will have the same enthusiasm for Fey material – which presents a well-structured and inventive interpretation of various sounds and influences without compromising the heavy grooves that anchor their songs – because their performance as a unit demonstrated a winning combination of proficiency and ease that only seems to develop from good band chemistry.
Wacken Metal Battle contenders and symphonic metal virtuosos Opus Arise were clearly taking notes during the competition in April and May – Friday’s show was a marked improvement over their qualifying set at the Red Room (and our compliments to Funky’s engineer for a superb live mix – no easy feat with an eight-member ensemble!) Each band member was clearly comfortable with his or her part, and the measured glances to track one another’s movements suggested a well-rehearsed set and improvement to group dynamics. It is also worth noting that, with so many musicians and instruments onstage, Funky’s stationary stage lighting was preferable to the motion effects used at The Red Room, where the flashing beams of light distracted one’s attention from the performers’ rapidly shifting leads.
The classic doom vibe of Destroy the Destroyer, strongly reminiscent of Church of Misery and early Sabbath, turned the evening’s tempo down to a welcome stoner groove. Unfortunately, due to late-night public transit logistics, we only witnessed their first three songs – we’ll let the photos below fill in the details…