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Dodgers, Blessed, and other local bands shake a sandwich shop

“Sup At O’Neill’s,” the name for these intimate little concerts, is one of those ideas that on the surface seems a little strange; after all, you’re combining some incredibly talented, supremely loud musicians with a teeny-tiny stage in a sandwich shop.

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By Glen Ess (The Cascade) – Email

Photo Credit Mitch Huttema

Who knew sandwiches and punk music go hand in hand?

Earlier this month, O’Neill’s Home Cooking in downtown Abbotsford hosted two bands (and one surprising guest). “Sup At O’Neill’s,” the name for these intimate little concerts, is one of those ideas that on the surface seems a little strange; after all, you’re combining some incredibly talented, supremely loud musicians with a teeny-tiny stage in a sandwich shop. Admittedly, the best sandwich shop in town, but still. Despite the fact these shows have apparently been held for just over two years now, it would seem to be an incongruous mix.

That wasn’t the case.

The night saw roughly 40 people in the somewhat tight confines of O’Neill’s, with chairs up against the wall and tables neatly stacked in the corner. Not that many people sat down — the musicians saw to that, keeping the majority of the crowd on their feet, heads bobbing to the sounds.

The evening’s opening act was a performer I’d been waiting to see in action for over two years now: none other than CIVL 101.7 FM station manager Aaron Levy, guitar in hand, and ably supported by musicians from local bands MALK and Cheap High — an all-star cast, if you will. If you’ve spent any time at all around CIVL, or just in the SUB in general, you’ll probably have heard Levy dropping some sick rhymes, but that night at O’Neill’s saw him perform a somewhat more soulful, almost bluesy style of music — for all but one song, that is.

With his final act of the evening, Levy did what Levy does best: rap. A medley of Levy’s, starting with Drake’s “Hyfr” before ending in Run the Jewels’ “Sea Legs”. It was the performance I’d been waiting for, and while the cramped location saw his vocals being intermittently drowned out by his performing partners on bass and drum, Levy stood out. I only wished he’d rapped more.

Up next were Mission-based heavyweights Dodgers, who recently released a new single, “Orphans, Fools, and Thieves.” The last time I’d seen Dodgers was almost a whole year ago, but their performance at O’Neill’s was just as slick as I’d hoped for.

The night’s closing act, Blessed, is working on a split EP with Dodgers, and after seeing the two bands perform in a single night, I’m drooling in anticipation.

Blessed’s performance was as intense as I’ve come to expect. They opened with “Swim,” the first song I heard them perform back when I randomly walked into a bar last summer. Since that moment, I’ve been listening to it constantly. They also performed a cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” and it was clear throughout their entire performance that the band is really settling into their groove, fine-tuning their performances, gelling. It’s going to be an interesting spring and summer between that split EP with Dodgers being released and Blessed’s own debut drawing nearer.

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