Published Oct 26, 2015With the Silver Dollar acting as a hub each night of this year's Not Dead Yet, it was only fitting that the last show of the festival (October 25) would take place where it all started.
Blink and you would've missed local group Great Death's set, which fizzled out prematurely. The songs that they did play, though, were a great showcase of the band's fiery riffs and vocalist/guitarist Christine McQueen's caustic scream.
Declaring "We are from the west, we are from the north, 53rd parallel" as if it were a mantra, Moira MacKinnon made it easy to guess that Strangled's hometown would factor significantly into the Edmonton-based band's material. Strangled are one of the best coming out of the Albertan capital city and feature a who's who of the great music scene there, with members also playing in No Problem and Rhythm of Cruelty. Drawing from their impressive EP that came out late last year, the standout songs from Strangled's set were the ones that spoke to the city's bitter cold and isolation ("Cold Front," "Body Bag").
Ohio's Nervosas maintained the dark vibe Strangled established. The three-piece had an interesting stage setup in that their guitarist, drummer and bassist were all flanking one another, creating a united front of skill and explosive, urgent post punk. As democratic and equal as their chops may have been, it was hard to deny that guitarist Mickey Mocnik's melodic guitar lines and vocalist/bassist Jeff Kleinman's quivering croon were highlights.
Zotz also brought their own brand of goth-y gloom with them from Mexico City, but with a greater emphasis on killer rhythms and ghostly guitars. With their drummer doing most of the heavy lifting behind the kit and singing, it freed the rest of the group up to support that lead and focus on atmosphere.
The unique takes on post-punk that the three aforementioned bands delivered with a kind of straight-faced seriousness was challenged and lit on fire by the maniacal Blazing Eye. They tore through minute-long blasts of Japanese-inspired hardcore that would make G.I.S.M. blush. Musically, Blazing Eye don't bring anything particularly new to the table, but their wildly noisy music is backed by a perverse intensity that made them one of the must-see bands of the entire festival.
That statement still holds true despite the legends they were opening for. For those who have not been keeping up with Career Suicide since 2007's Attempted Suicide LP, they now include the Sadies' Dallas Good within their ranks, and have a new record in the bag. Hamiltonian hardcore wunderkind Ryan Juntilla (Black Baron, Disgusti) filled in on drums and helped the group rip through classics like "Saving Face" and "Recipe For Disaster," as well as a cover of Inepsy's "Who's Next."
The promise of new material from Career Suicide on Sunday night (October 25) reinforced Not Dead Yet's reputation as a festival that is constantly looking forward, showcasing new and vital voices that belong in the punk canon while also helping to write a few histories in the meantime.