The Feminists: Intense Vancouver Indie Rock

The Townhouse is a very interesting venue. Steeped in history (Stompin’ Tom played here), it enjoys a strong reputation as one of the most desirable places to play in Canada. They like music at the Townhouse, and it appears that they even like indie bands, so hopefully they will like us. I sure liked the poster they made for our show. Our somewhat goofy/ironic latest publicity shot with a huge tagline in boldest black across the top : INTENSE VANCOUVER INDIE ROCK. Finally. Somebody gets it.
The band room at the Townehouse is like a dungeon. It’s in the basement directly under the stage, windowless and dark. All of the furniture looks like what you would find at your typical summer cottage…the cast-off stuff that everyone in the family drops off when they upgrade to more attractive or functional items. There’s 2 mismatched sagging couches, a wobbly scratched dining room table with random chairs of different heights, lamps whose lampshades are long gone and now hold naked bulbs of various wattages, and a bathroom that assumed that no female would ever require its services.
Every available wall surface is covered in band stickers, band graffitti, and stern warnings from management threatening grievous harm to any band member who is caught stickering or carving on non-designated walls. There’s an old tv that can be persuaded to receive about 10 channels if you stand in the right spot as a human antenna. No remote included, strangely.
This year I noticed a couple of additions to the decor. My favorites were the half of an old barber’s chair (back and arms had been forcibly removed) that one could perch upon whilst awkwardly pumping the chair up and down with one’s foot, resulting in hours of childish amusement. Next to the half a barber’s chair was an old exercise bike frozen permanently on the most intense setting, which meant that I could barely move one pedal at a time. That game grew old fast. Not like the barber’s chair. I need to get me one of those.
The best thing about the band room was that it had 4 real beds, with bedding and pillows. No sleeping in a tin can tonight, which was a very good thing as a cold front had swept into southern Ontario. We noticed this when we woke up at a truck stop in Windsor and it was 12 degrees colder than it was when we went to bed. It’s windy, gray, dark and freezing here. And rainy. Not the nice kind of rain that makes you think, “ah, it’s so nice that all the plants and trees and flowers are getting a good drink”. I’m talking about nasty winter rain. Sharp, cold, needle-like drops that bounced angrily off my poor unprotected head as I made my way bravely to the Internet cafe.
I arrived back at the band room to find Belland reading while Grief and Zobac…altogether now…played Magic: the Gathering. With Barry the bouncer. Ah, Magic. It brings together all kinds of people.
Later on we played, and the sound onstage was great. We played 2 long, powerful sets. There appeared to be no audience and we thought it was a dead gig, but to our surprise afterwards lots of people came up to talk to us and buy cd’s. They were playing pool the whole time in a totally different area of the bar, but apparently still enjoyed the show. And we got paid by the bar owner who apologized for having us play the day before a busy long weekend, hence low turnout, and gave us some extra money because he just liked us that much. Well, I guess INTENSE VANCOUVER INDIE ROCK is pretty iresistable. I was stunned by his generosity and the warm reaction of the audience that materialized out of the deep shadows of the pool tables. And grateful to have enough money to get us to our next show in Sault-Ste.Marie.