by WestCoast Weasel WestCoast Weasel
July 13, 2010

July 8, 2010
The Venue
Vancouver, B.C

I was particularly anticipating the second of two ska / reggae styled shows this past week.  A colleague of mine recently told me that The Aggrolites was one of the greatest live bands he’d ever seen.  That alone was enough of a reason to check out Los Angeles’ five-piece; originally formed from two area ska and reggae groups, The Vessels and The Rhythm Doctors, respectively.  With them, they brought along a pair of Canadian groups: Montreal’s The Beatdown and Maple Ridge’s The Bone Daddies, as well as Australia’s The Resignators for a well-rounded rock-steady Thursday evening.

To my shock and dismay, the show’s projected timestamp of “Bands at 9pm” was bang-on, unlike the experience earlier this week and atypical to nearly every other gig I’ve seen.  But, good.  The bad, however, was missing The Bone Daddies who I anticipated just as much as the night’s headliner and who I later heard rocked the place even harder than I’d presumed that they would.

The Beatdown hit the stage next, opening with a tune bearing the same name of both the band and their self-titled debut on Stomp Records.  Specifically, I was intrigued by the irregular, dirty vocal talent of Alex Giguere.  But, vocals, periodic puffs of harmonica and the odd admirable “Texican” flavored lead aside—the same upstroke guitar riff stood out, repeatedly.  While I initially thought that the unique absence of both organ and horn section could give them an edge, overall they in turn didn’t seem to have a whole lot to offer musically, without.

A sweaty, suit wearing and strung-out looking frontman of The Resignators appeared with half a dozen bandmates.  Kicking their set off with a Futurama inspired title “Blackjack and Hookers” they quickly displayed their horn-heavy section thanks to two trombones and trumpet, alike.  Combining soothing blues leads, edgy rock rhythms—combined with the aforementioned brass section—they create a self-coined “psycho ska” sound.  Delivering older cuts such as “The Ultimatum” (about making love to a goat) along side newer material, such as a “Rage” from their How You Could Rage EP showcased a band fit for fans of both The Specials and Operation IV.

(c) www.skinandbones.ca

(c) www.skinandbones.ca

After a lengthy anticipation-brewing break before their set, The Aggrolites came out with all members donning a short sleeve denim shirt each.  Ensuring the crowd had some energy left (as it was already past midnight), they heated up The Venue with “Funky Fire.”  If I’ve out-used the term “soul” this week—I take it all back and save it for Jesse Wagner.  He’s clearly spun just as many Motown greats at home as he has the two-tone likes of Hepcat and The Upsetters.  Taking the task of both lead vocal as well as lead guitar, this man’s to thank for the group’s focal points, in my book.  Like The Beatdown they left any horn section at the door, yet retained the reggae staple of organ usage.

(c) www.skinandbones.ca

It seems that having at least one of the aforementioned rhythm instruments are key.  In fact, it’s the keys here, thanks to the bandana donned Roger Rivas which make for the dubby, danceable output.

Fan favorites “Free Time” and “Reggae Hit L.A” hit the walls of this otherwise trendy Granville club, amongst newer cuts like “Time to Go” from 2010’s IV.  With an overall inspirational feel, an ass-shaking sensation and a seven man, tighter than hell coherence— we were all glad theymade the four day drive from Toronto.  After all, it was high time they received some west coast love, away from their So-Cal home.

- Weasel Was Here

Visit these artists online:

The Aggrolites – aggroreggae.commyspace.com/theaggrolites
The Resignators – theresignators.com
The Beatdown – myspace.com/jointhebeatdown

“Free Time” (Acoustic on SPRadio1)

The Resignators “Offbeat Feeling” music video

The Beatdown “Justice” (live)

Comments

No Responses to “Renegade Rock Review Vol. 27: The Aggrolites, The Resignators & The Beatdown”

Write a Comment