A sickly brown haze of smoke from the province’s numerous forest fires hung like a soiled curtain over the streets of Vancouver’s gritty industrial east side on Sunday, while a scattered group of hardcore fans sat or stood listlessly at the curb outside of a nondescript building, the current home of local DIY concert venue, 333.
Too difficult to stay outdoors for long, where one’s eyes and throat immediately began to itch from the smoke, fans and bands moved in and out of the building at regular intervals to cope with the stifling heat. Athough an industrial-grade blower pushed torrents of air out of the corner opposite the door of the large single room, the breeze was barely detectable beyond a narrow radius.
Nevertheless, the four bands on the evening’s lineup – local favourites Witch of the Waste and a trio of touring bands from Edmonton (Cold Lungs, Time’s Tide) and Calgary (Mortality Rate) – played blistering sets of sweat-drenched, innovative hardcore in defiance of the oppressive weather conditions. Strong supporters of the independent music scene, Witch of the Waste opened the show and vocalist Ryan Fitzgerald urged the crowd to support touring acts first through their merch purchases, proclaiming, “Gas is expensive, and everything is on fire.”
As ambient light decreases, the technical limitations of photography become more apparent – evident in the gallery below – however, the motion blurs, soft focus, and sharp contrast of these images are true to the spirit of the frenetic performances they capture.*
* Not pictured: Time’s Tide. (Apologies – time and transit logistics were against us.)