by Joel Smart (Sports Editor)
It’s hard to go wrong when you pay five bucks to see three bands play, and that mantra certainly paid off on Friday, October 1 for those who attended CiVL Stage 3 at Casey’s on Campus. The line-up included Bertha Cool, The Split-Ups and The Tranzmitors.
Larry Portelance, who organized the show, suggested the target audience on the Facebook event page. “[This show is] for those who don’t mind their music a bit unpolished and gritty,” he recommended. Good call, Larry.
The doors opened at 8 p.m., but Bertha Cool didn’t take the stage until 9:30. In the meantime, there was food and drink to be had, and a table near the entrance featuring merchandise and albums for sale from each of the bands.
Loud, ringing feedback hampered the entire Bertha Cool performance, which featured the deadpan, but sexy, female drummer, Sam. I love female drummers. It also featured two young men: Rex on bass and synthesizer and Alex on guitar. Whether for good or bad, each song they played sounded remarkably similar. This could be largely due to the fact that the band uses a specific echo distortion on their microphone which makes all of the vocals sound largely incomprehensible. Their MySpace page describes their style as new wave, but I’m not sure if the music I heard from them fit into any music genre I know of – perhaps experimental punk.
The Split-Ups hit like a breath of fresh air. I didn’t know punk could be so catchy. Nick Newton, former member of the New Town Animals, was born to sing in a punk band. It may just be the shirt I saw on one of the fans in attendance, but this band reminds me a lot of Screeching Weasel, the first and one of the only punk bands I’m always in the mood to hear. The four piece Abbotsford band also features three McWilliams brothers: Matti on guitar, Eli on bass and Dave on drums. I was impressed by their sound, to say the least.
While The Split-Ups sounded exactly like their album, The Tranzmitors came on and played a grittier set than I expected after falling in love with their MySpace and CBC selection. That isn’t to say they weren’t amazing. This Vancouver-based band performed in smart looking suits and weren’t finished before a smashed beer glass was scattered all over the pub floor. Although they fit perfectly into the punk-themed night at Casey’s, they have a more rock-and-roll sound that the other two bands that performed. Their MySpace describes them as power pop. There are five members in The Tranzmitors: Jeffy McCloy sings and plays guitar, Bryce Dunn is on drums, Nick Thomas plays guitar, while Mike and Jarrod play bass and the keyboard respectively. An interesting connection to The Split-Ups, McCloy and Dunn are also former members of the now defunct New Town Animals.
While there were fewer in attendance than the previous two CiVL stages, there were certainly more than enough to keep things interesting. The Split-Ups and The Tranzmitors both had “all the boys and girls dancing in the front row.”