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REVIEW: Lawnya Vawnya (April 19)

in Arts & Culture/Featured/Music/Reviews by

Kat McLevey / Lisa Bozikovic / Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby

Photo Essay by Zach Bonnell

The Mouthbreathers / Shotgun Jimmie / Mark Bragg and The Butchers @ The Ship

By Samm Joyy

Thursday night The Ship was rock and roll central; Friday night it became the biggest indie rock dance bar in town. With the bar almost filled to capacity and a bill featuring three talented Canadian bands, The Ship was the place to be to celebrate the third night of Lawnya Vawnya.

The Mouthbreathers

The Sackville, N.B. ’ take punk rock and give it an injection of pop. With a carefree stage presence and catchy lyrics, the band put off an effortless set with an impressive sound.

Sackville, N.B. favourite Shotgun Jimmie. Photo by Zach Bonnell.
Sackville, N.B. favourite Shotgun Jimmie. Photo by Zach Bonnell.

Shotgun Jimmie

As fans piled in for the well known one man band, personal space became limited. Shotgun Jimmie’s hard work has really paid off. I’ve seen full bands that are not even comparable to his musical talent. The man can sing and certainly knows how to get his audience on their toes. As spectator Spencer Burton put it, “long has it been since my body moved at the same pace of my heart.”

Mark Bragg and the Butchers

Mark Bragg and the butchers never fail to impress. His set was dramatic, sweaty and of course, fun-filled. Playing fan’s favorites, most of the audience was singer louder than Bragg himself. His music is the kind that tends to get your heart racing and your feet stomping. As The Ship was preparing to shut down, Mark Bragg kept everyone going.

Derm Kean & An Incredible Woman / U.S. Girls / Bloodshot Bill @ Distortion

By Ben Rigby

It was distortion for me again tonight and Lawnya Vawnya did not let me down. Three acts performed: Derm Kean & An Incredible Woman, U.S. Girls, and Bloodshot Bill. It took a little time for the crowd to get going – St. John’s does wake up late – but it ended with a bar full of dancers.

Derm Kean & An Incredible Woman

Derm Kean was, well, Derm. Derm is a man who requires one stage for his band and one stage for himself. Co-opting the dance floor, he put on a performance that would have made Mick Jagger proud. The band was a four-piece of drums, bass, guitar, and a keyboard, which featured an actual woman. They were incredibly tight and incredibly original, yet oddly familiar. It was as though David Bowie met up with The Cure for a jam where they recounted that awkward punk phase in high school. Unfortunately, the crowd could have been support posts given how still they were. I wonder if they were intimidated by Derm?

U.S. Girls

I’ll admit I can’t figure out the schtick behind this one; U.S Girls is one girl and she’s from Toronto. Just herself, a big hodgepodge of drum machines, digital toys, and a mixer are all she needed to sing in a shrill voice and not talk to the crowd. I noticed more conversation in the crowd as she went down her list of beats to play over, so I took the time to talk to a few people in the audience. It turned out I wasn’t the only one who didn’t get it, but there were a few who seemed to be in the know and Meghan Remy was clearly a standout performance for the folks just wanted something loud. The words weren’t relevant, and neither was her total lack of acknowlegement that she was even on stage in a town she (presumably) has never performed in. What was important was the sheer intensity of her effects and the synthed-out digital voice, that wall of digital sound. Cool if you’re into that.

Bloodshot Bill

I wondered what this guy would sound like. When I saw him mingling before the show and from his greaser hairdo I figured his music would be blues-themed. The Montreal native draws from the high energy, raucous rockabilly style of the 50s and ups the anti merely with his energy. The name makes more sense as you wonder while he sings if indeed he’ll leave the stage with bloodshot eyes. It isn’t often a one-man act can get an entire bar to rock but Bloodshot Bill managed it.

Lawnya Vawnya continues Saturday with the first part of its trademark annual downtown music crawl at noon, a record fair and ‘Phone-it-In’ event at Easter Edge Gallery from noon to 5 p.m., an all-ages show at the Rocket Room featuring Bry Webb, Fiver and Grey Kingdom at Rocket Room (2 p.m.), Matthew Hornell, The Modern Grass, and Jared Klok at The Ship (11 p.m.), and Obtis, Waterman and Milley, and Pathological Lovers at The Rock House (11 p.m.). A surprise, free, all-ages show featuring Hey Rosetta lead singer Tim Baker at Newman Wine Vaults was just announced for 7 p.m. Visit Lawnya Vawnya’s website for more information.

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