Gig review: Post-Valentine’s Day with Vanna

February 21, 2016


Who: Vanna
Where: Hard Luck Bar
When: 15 February
In one word: Breakdown.

Oh boo hoo Valentine’s Day is over and you didn’t get a smooch. LET’S FIGHT!

That’s basically how I was feeling last weekend and I settled it by going to a couple metal shows and getting thrown around a crowd with an expensive piece of recording equipment in my hands.

It was funner than it sounds.


People just get buck-wild at metal shows, especially when love is in the air and we’re all suffocating and just want to bang our heads and listen to somebody scream about how stupid people who don’t pay attention to what they say are.

It’s both cathartic and totally energizing. The music is generally not that popular, however, because not very many people tolerate the loudness and directness of it.

If you could capture hardcore and metal music in a person its probably like a scalper with a goatee or a dude working at Burrito Boyz with a septum piercing and a Chinese dragon tattoo on his shin.


But THIS guy ^ doesn’t seem to care where you put your tattoo. He likes getting in your face and he’s really good at it. Bands need frontmen who can engage with the crowd as close as possible and uplift them so they start thrashing and making the place look nice and messy.


Just because you look good singing doesn’t mean you can’t sound like a Dungeons and Dragons goblin after ripping a bowl of pure couch fabric.

And yes, that would hurt and I’m pretty sure guttural vocals hurt a bit (especially after show after show) so there is a bit of a connection.


And then a dude comes on stage that makes you think “Oh, there are some high school kids here.”

Meanwhile, his band starts sound-checking and your ears start shaking and quivering and he picks up the mic and hypes everyone up beyond measure and people start losing their shit and amongst the yells somebody whispers “excaliburrrrrr.”


This is what that guy’s crowd looked like and I either didn’t expect it or I was just not paying attention and too busy being yelled at by all my hardcore amigos.

So much space. So many people saying, “Damn this is really really heavy music if I go in there I could walk away sweating more than I expected to tonight.”


Luckily I got to meet this guy. This is Davey Muise from Vanna (the headliner Feb 15). He was pretty busy running around organizing his set and doing interviews but was nice enough to let me take a couple photos and remind him that people in Canada still remember tough life.


And on stage his presence is destructive.

I had been listening to Vanna since I was just going in to University and I loved them because they really took advantage of that hard/clean vocalist mixture like Alexisonfire.

Also they have their own unique style of sound that does some pretty magical things if you understand the intricacies of a metal or hardcore song.

The breakdowns from Vanna (old) used to be very wide open with lots of breathing room while the Vanna I heard that night at the show was pushing something much heavier and denser.

It was a wall of sound. That is what I love to hear from a band. The type of sound that comes from all directions, immerses you, you find a way to breathe and eventually you are swimming in an ocean of emotion.

There is really no greater way, in my opinion, to experience music than having it consume you and turn you into something else.

Being in a crowd at a hardcore or metal show, especially if Vanna is headlining, will give you that experience and you will walk away sweaty, panting, exhausted, eyes dilated by the street lights as you step outside, gasps of air that is too fresh to be tasted but revitalizing your harshed lungs from screaming, the filling of atmosphere from inside to out as hardcore becomes the sounds of the silent streets again.

And it was all just to hear some dude scream about his problems?

Screw you dude. I have some problems too kinda. I was really enjoying that. Can we go back inside? It’s cold and these people are staring at my tattoo and I think that dude is about to ask me for a cigarette.

No problem. Welcome to an infestation. And we are so pretty and sparkly and all we do is fightdancefight.

Does that sound like fun?

Wait, have this shot first.

Now, does that sound like fun?

© Shaun Fitl, Music Vice

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