Revisit Vancouver's '90s Alternative Music Scene with This Cringeworthy MuchMusic Special
Published Sep 01, 2016Age of Electric have gone the nostalgia route via their semi-recent reunion performances, but if you were looking to see what it was like in the Canadian alt-rock outfit's early days, some old and "Ugly" live footage has made its way online.
An old episode of MuchMusic metal program Power 30 had been uploaded by B.C. metal musician Mike Williams, and the early '90s program finds host Teresa Roncon exploring Vancouver's underground scene. Throughout, she hits a mix of standard clubs, illegal afterhours events, and a grimy house show in the suburbs.
The biggest band covered in the episode is Age of Electric, who are found playing long-gone venue the Hungry Eye. Roncon interviews vocalist Todd Kerns, and future Limblifter members Kurt and Ryan Dahle about the state of the Vancouver music scene, leading the frontman to shouting out hometown buds Moist and Econoline Crush. There's also some live footage of the band performing "Ugly," a song whose video would later be thrown into constant rotation on the Nation's Music Station.
Roncon's behavioural studies also bring her to a Burnaby, BC house party played by rap-and-metal-meshing anti-gun violence advocates Minority, scene stalwarts Caustic Thought, and Scooter Trash. During a backyard interview, the host awkwardly accepts one guy's invitation to wear his hat, while the vocalist of Scooter Trash drunkenly howls at Roncon about his band being super hardcore.
The piece also focuses its sights on then-developing label Nefer Records, who had inked local punks Ten Days Late and d.b.s., as well as Process, a band that got back together in 2015. Roncon seems crazy obsessed with that group's diverse hairstyles.
Later, we meet the members of Zimmer's Hole, a Strapping Young Lad-related project named after one of late Process member Dean Zimmer's greatest, uh, assets. "We decided to name the band after a friend of ours' anus," vocalist Chris Valagao says, ahead of breathing fire for Roncon's amusement. Another guy gets his flannel jacket set on fire.
Stepping somewhat outside of the scope of Vancouver's music scene, the program also heads to an in-town performance from UK grinders Carcass, a show attended by a pair of traveling bangers, because "Nova Scotia has no scene at all." This concert took place at the fabled Starfish Room, which was demolished over a decade ago to make way for condos.
The piece closes out with Roncon visiting an afterhours club to see groove-heavy group DDT, who were once signed to Lars Ulrich's vanity imprint through Elektra. The band tell the Power 30 host that their music has people "jumping four feet in the air and just fuck'n giv'n er." Vocalist Brian Howes went on to become a producer for B.C. acts like Hedley and Nickelback. He won Producer of the Year at the Junos in 2007 and 2012.
It's a weirdly illuminating, occasionally cringe-inducing time capsule, and you'll find the video down below.