Zulu Records proved itself to be the perfect space to hear Blackout Beach perform live interpretations of their most recent masterpiece, “Fuck Death”, on a cold and rainy Vancouver evening.
A faithful few were treated to a glimpse of things to come upon shaking the raindrops from tired umbrella at the security-devoid door of record store. Instruments stood ominously alone at the center of a makeshift, hardwood stage.
Longtime fans of the band were most certainly surprised that there was not a laptop to be found onstage, just a couple keyboards, a small drum kit, and a strange Fender Stratocaster (with twelve strings instead of six), leaning against some beautiful, vintage amplifiers.
We were also treated to a free beer, or two, or ten (!) at an impossibly-all-ages show. Even before the music started, it was obvious that something very special was afoot.
When the band finally took the helm of a mongrel assortment of instruments, they quickly set to work turning “Fuck Death” on its brilliant head. By doing so, the players (which, on this night, included Megan Boddy on keys and vox, Dante Decaro on bass guitar and keys, Melanie Campbell on drums and Carey Mercer on guitar and lead vocals) accomplished the impossible–they bettered a previous perfection.
“Fuck Death” is an exercise in painstaking attention to detail. Like a William Carlos Williams poem, every track on “Fuck Death” is at once minimalist (there isn’t a sound or lyric that doesn’t serve the larger piece) and maximalist (much like a multifaceted diamond, there is a stunning complexity and depth to the album–layer upon brilliant layer of sonic textures and beautiful harmonies).
In a live skin, Mercer loosened his short, yet tender leash; the songs were instantly transformed into a terrible amalgamation of rawness and immediacy. To hear Mercer’s boarish tongue shout invocations into Agamemnon’s ancient ear, under the possessive, tender mercy of fine BC draft is a most holy experience.
I am hesitant to divulge too much about the show, as Victorians will soon have an opportunity to see Blackout Beach, in one form or another, for themselves. Rumour has it that the band will be visiting Logan’s Pub very soon; let’s start a petition right now for free beer, or, at the very least, a local draft special.
Don’t be one of the unfortunate uninitiated; buy the album now. Ditch Records has many a copy.