Before leaving my basement-level bedroom, I indulged in a personally mixed glass of what I dub “Red Winestar,” a signature concoction in which I infused the rest of an old, flat can of Rockstar energy drink with roughly half of a souring seven dollar bottle of uncorked Cabernet Sauvignon. It wasn’t the proudest moment for my taste buds, but it misted me in a sought-after haze as I hopped on the bus to review Surrey's punk-rock serving of Reds, the Subverts, the Spewers and Tuesday in Japan as part of S.N.A.F.U.'s Garageland Wednesdays.
The show was originally supposed to take place at the Byrd Sonic Lounge, which unfortunately was washed out by sprinklers after a wicked fire in a hotel room above the venue. Garageland was forced to move to the neighbouring Flamingo Lounge, a grungy, thrashy dive-bar fitting for a show of this caliber.
Upon entering, I was immediately submerged in the artcore, electro-noise duo of Tuesday in Japan. Consisting of a female vocalist and over-the-top, energy-filled guitarist, the real-life couple performed experimental tracks that mixed elements of punk and noise-rock over electronically produced synths and aggressive blast-beats. The guitarist proudly exclaimed “we aren’t playing without a drummer because that’s fucking punk rock.” The explosive energy of Tuesday in Japan was a uniquely perfect opening act.
Chilliwack’s the Spewers followed with an in-your-face punk style that blends old-school with sounds from the late 90s and early 2000s. They were fast, aggressive, and straightforward in their punk-as-fuck message. At this point, there’s not a whole lot to say. The Spewers just kind of slapped me around for the duration of their set.
The Subverts, who performed next, mixed elements of thrash metal and old-school hardcore punk. They opened their set with a collective of impressively executed cover songs including the Misfits’ “Last Caress” and, to my surprise, D.I.’s “Richard Hung Himself,” which was also famously covered by thrash juggernauts: Slayer. As the Subverts began playing original tunes, the pit filled up noticeably and became borderline dangerous as moshers were affectionately shoving each other without remorse. Several circle pits would soon form, an extreme rarity for most local shows I’ve been to.
Finally, Reds closed the show on a melodic note. Though still jam-packed with everything you’d expect from a moshable punk band, the group’s repertoire consisted of chorusy sing-alongs expelled with throaty intonation. The energy of the room kept pace and ended with climactic destruction within the audience.
If Garageland Wednesdays are any indication of what the future holds for punk rock in the city of Surrey, things are looking fucking sick.