How do you celebrate your 10th birthday when you are one of the coolest record shops in town? You have Canadian punk legends SNFU play your party. That is exactly what Vertigo Records did.
For those who have never seen SNFU (Society’s No Fucking Use) before, you might mistake lead singer, Mr. Chi Pig, as a homeless guy off Rideau street or think the Royal Ottawa lost a patient. Why, you ask–because he is a skinny, bearded, 50-year-old ball of pure punk rock. The first words out of his mouth were “if you came here to be mellow, there is the door and you can get the fuck out of here.” The tone was set.
The legends of skate rock are in their third incarnation since the band formed in 1981, but they still bring it hard and put on a great show. They played songs new and old while enduring broken strings, continuous unplugging of the mic and countless shots of Jäger. It was perfect.
The band just released a new album Never Trouble Trouble Until Trouble Troubles You and let me tell you, the new stuff is as punk as ever. They may not have played my favourite song, “Eric Had a Bad Day,” but they had the mosh pit in a frenzy and people of all ages singing along. In a totally classy move Chi Pig said, “Happy birthday Vertigo, glad to be a part of your history.” Punk rock and independent record stores are a live and well here in Canada!
This night was all about Canadian content as before SNFU there were three excellent bands from here, AB IRATO, Flying Fortress and The Valveenus. AB IRATO are a hardcore punk band from Montreal. Where Flying Fortress were more technical, AB was more raw and in your face, fast-paced hardcore. They are the soundtrack to a high speed car crash. I loved it. Really enjoyed the tracks “Busting my Balls” and “Keep On Smiling.” The female back up vocalist, who was only on stage sometimes, added a great angle to their sound. They revved up with every song getting better and better. My only complaint, is they dedicated a French song to people who came from across the bridge and not all francophones… eh la gang, on est des miliers de Franco-Ontariens, le francais c’est pas seulement au Québec.
Flying Fortress were a wall of sound, big hair and awesomeness from Pembroke. The two-piece metal band are comprised of a bass player and a drummer who’s kit has an extra kick drum and and extra floor tom. They rocked out hard. I had never heard them before and I was hooked from the get go. The duo packs a bunch. Fun trivia, Flying Fortress releases a 7” on Uncle D’s Records, which is people from Vertigo. They played a rocking good tune of that 7″ called “Make My Move.”
Getting the party started was The Valveenus. The threesome from Orleans brought some fun skate punk with the occasional flare of harmonica. The two tracks that really stuck out for me was “Misery” and their cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.” Also, I would be doing everyone involved a disservice if I did not mention how physically impressive the drummer was. He is chiseled to say the least, good on ya man. They forgot their merch but encouraged everyone to check out their facebook page and download the album for free or pay what you can. I strongly encourage you to do so.
Happy birthday Vertigo Records. You are my number one destination for vinyl, Record Store Day, tickets and in-store performances. Keep up the great work and here is to another 10 years!