MOUNTIES, RICH AUCOIN, JPNSGRLS

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REPUBLIK, MARCH 26, 2014

A brisk evening embraced me as I waited to roll into Republik. As I stood in line, I almost completely missed members of the Mounties stepping directly in front of me, dashing through the back door to prepare for an amorous night of sing-song. My frosty daze continued until I finally made it through the doors of the club. I deflated a heavy sigh and headed straight for the bar, where I exchanged the frigid air for the cheap comfort of bar Tequila and a room full of strangers.

Reigning from Vancouver, the promising pop-punksters JPNSGRLS (a vowel-less “Japanese girls”) kicked off the show with a boisterous set, seemingly procuring energy from an unsettled youthful angst. The band did its due diligence and warmed up the half-dead, half-filled bar with youthful gusto and positive stage presence.

Numero dos on the docket, Halifax’s Rich Aucoin took to the stage with radiant energy. It was difficult to distinguish the Easterner’s set between that of an uplifting cult congregation and a lively indie/pop performance. Aucoin’s performance was bolstered by his alluring stage antics, such as the use of a confetti gun, a primary-coloured parachute reminiscent of pre-school, and a glowing light bulb – symbolic of the bright side of life that was poignantly illustrated throughout the set.

The Mounties finally graced us with their mega presence, packing a tight set with most of their songs off of their debut album, Thrash Rock Legacy, including radio favourites, “Headphones” and “If This Dance Catches On.” So many hooks (and sadly), so little time. I was impressed by Hawksley Workman’s raw energy on the drums: his jaws gnashing to the beat, a lot like John Bonham’s once did whilst spewing out lead and back-up vocals with perfect pitch.

Guitarist Ryan Dahle, formerly of Limblifter, gave a suave performance. Dahle melded the energies of Workman and former Hot Hot Heat! member/present synth master, Steve Bays. Bays fed off the crowd and created an incandescent chemistry with everyone in the band, especially HHH! ally and bassist, Parker Bossley. Every soul in the house was feeling the love, grooving to the synth-rock raunch the Mounties feverishly supplied.

The men of the Mounties returned to the stage for a stellar encore, playing their sensually infused “Guaranteed Blonde Enough,” lastly tying into my personal favourite, “Tokyo Summer.”

As Bays kindly pointed out, “We only have about 20 years until the world goes to shit.” Ride the good vibes while you can, folks.

By Shayla Friesen
Photos by Sebastian Buzzalino

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