Written by Sean Tanner
MAMMOTH 36-ALBUM D.I.Y. COMPILATION SHOWCASES CANADA'S BEST TO KEEP PUNK SPIRIT ALIVE.
When Paul Hudson and his band, Anonymericans, were planning their first gig in September 2018, they were faced with a problem. Their songs had a decidedly punk flavour, and he felt the local coffee shops and farmer’s markets weren’t going to be so accommodating to that kind of spice. So, Hudson and the lads linked up with another Squamish band, Buster Jangles, as well as Modern Terror from Roberts Creek, to play the first show in what would become a three-part series that would include local legends Dayglo Abortions and DOA.
This is the seed that would blossom into Squamish Punk Night, an annual punk rock event held in Squamish, British Columbia. Though the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on the series of shows over the last two years, Hudson has been making an effort to keep the spirit of the fest alive.
In 2020, Squamish Punk Night dropped their first compilation, simply titled Squamish Punk Night - The Compilation Vol. 1. In June 2021, Hudson continued his efforts in supporting Canadian punk with the second compilation Axe the Heckler’s Cross-Canada Cruise. Hudon confirms that "Axe the Heckler" is Squamish Punk Night's cartoon mascot featured on all their artwork and posters, the character is loosely based on a local fan.
The mammoth 36-track compilation features artists from Ontario, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Alberta and, of course, many homegrown B.C. talents.
“Work with bands that are of a similar mindset to you,” Hudson says. “We are D.I.Y. as a band and D.I.Y. as an event planner. As a band, and from an event planning standpoint, we are totally unsponsored. This allows maximum freedom to put on shows on our own terms and write songs the way we want to. This keeps the music honest. What we take at the door, we split with the other bands. Some bands are OK with this and some aren't. We work with the ones that are.”
Squamish Punk Night could have ended after their first show in 2018, but thankfully our protagonists realized what they had on their hands and there was no shortage of like-minded individuals to get this idea snowballing.
“We realized the Squamish Punk Night series had been a successful experiment but weren’t sure where to go from there”.
Hudson met the illustrious Russian Tim Bogdachev at the latter’s Rocket From Russia Fest in 2018. Tim and his band, Russian Tim and the Pavel Bures, hopped on the Squamish Punk Night bill in January 2019 and with his links to other local talents in Vancouver, Bogdachev was able to hook Paul up with a steady crop of talent to turn SPN into a quarterly event featuring the likes of Rong, You Big Idiot, Aanthems, The Corps, and ATD, to name a few.
“It was at this point we learned Vancouver had a thriving punk scene as well. We were pretty clueless about that until we met [Bogdachev],” Hudson laughs.
Anonymericans kept bringing their sharp political and social commentary to the SPN stage and started getting invited to play more and more shows out of town, leading to more connections between Hudson and other bands. Squamish Punk Night spawned a two-night event called Squamish Punk Fest in early 2020, which had one installment and then, well, you know what happens next.
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But there’s probably no genre better suited to life in the plague-lands than punk rock, and Hudson wasn’t going to rest on his laurels in the absence of shows. Hudson featured bands from all over B.C. on the aforementioned Squamish Punk Night compilations. They are gifts to the scene he loves so dearly, available for free or by donation on Bandcamp.
Hudson hopes SPN is on its way back soon, with sights on hosting bands from across Canada and from around the world. He’d also like to see more bands make it up for entire weekends. Until then Anonymericans are still hard at work on a follow-up to their self-titled album and will be ready to share the stage with like-minded talent when the time comes.
“We get a thrill being able to share the stage with so many talented & entertaining musicians and we feel honoured that so many have made the trek here to play shows with us. We continue to write original music and look forward to delivering our spin on punk rock music to those that wanna check us out.”
Axe the Heckler's Cross-Canada Cruise is available on Bandcamp.