Vancouver feels Quicksand's pull: review
Quicksand performs at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on Jan. 18, 2013. (Photo credit: Robert Collins)
Published Friday, January 18, 2013 2:03PM PST
Last Updated Friday, January 18, 2013 2:14PM PST
Reformed 90s rockers Quicksand may not be household names in all but the noisiest of households, but for those that made the pilgrimage to Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom for last night’s concert, memory took precedent over celebrity.
Trevor and Shawna Roy, who had flown from Calgary for the sole purpose of this show, wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
“I still have the cassette of “Slip” and the seven-inch singles that went with it,” smiled Trevor, draped over the barrier in the front row, eagerly awaiting the band’s arrival.
It didn’t come as a major surprise that Quicksand didn’t draw the biggest crowd ever to grace the Commodore. As a band whose ‘glory years’ (if they could be called that) ran from 1993 through 1995, the major label investment in their career never produced anything resembling a genuine commercial breakthrough.
That’s the problem with being ahead of your time. The reason fans like the Roys are passionate about this, the band’s first tour in 15 years, is the musical legacy Quicksand left behind. A keystone band in the bridge between hardcore, grunge and heavy metal, an evening revisiting their back catalogue revealed just how revolutionary and influential they must have been in their day. Their sound is still reflected in the work of present-day rock superstars like Tool and Deftones, a band Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega now actually plays in.
A mighty pair of opening tracks, “Omission” and “Unfulfilled” both delivered a precision wall of noise riffs, producing a universal outbreak of headbanging from the crowd, almost all of whom were old and wise enough to remember Quicksand from the first time around.
The band members are no spring chickens either. But in whippet-thin singer Walter Schreifels – a man whose legacy of creating tremendous bands is only matched by his inability to break it big with any of them – they have a front man who oozes punk rock charisma, slinging himself and his guitar around the stage at the slightest provocation.
Not that punk rock velocity is Quicksand’s stock in trade. For every bouncy “Thorn In My Side” or “Dine Alone” there was a doom-laden “Divorce” or “Delusional”; grinding, bass-led tracks that owe more to Black Sabbath than Black Flag. The show’s centrepiece, a vintage but still radical reworking of The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now” summed up everything that made Quicksand exciting two decades ago and makes them still relevant today. Passion. Riffs. Guitar effects. A mosh pit driven by emotion rather than aggression bounced its appreciation.
“Thank you very much Vancouver,” smiled Schreifels as the show reached its climax, joking at how long they’d been away. “We’ll be back again 17 years from now!”
The night finished with the singer shaking hands and slapping fives with anyone in the crowd willing to share their sweat. The band and their fans have grown up. The good news is that this is a generation refusing to age gracefully.