Review – Woolworm at the Media Club, Vancouver, July 2 2009
– by Kate Reid
Post-jazz isn’t the first label I’d choose for Woolworm or Animal Names, but I’m holding that ostentatious umbrella over their heads because that’s the only way I can figure out a justification for the Vancouver Jazz Festival sponsorship at their Media Club show last night (July 2).
Woolworm is a four-piece whose sound is more Elliott than Ellington: think mid-’90s shoegaze mixed with screamo. Yeah, the training wheels are definitely still on, but Woolworm has all the fixings for a great Vancouver band. Right now they’re buoyed by that contagious, new-band-excitement and their bad jokes (“What’s a ghost’s favourite place at the mall? Booster Juice!”), steady sound and amicable stage banter successfully roused the sparse crowd out of their seats and onto the floor.
Woolworm’s sound is hard to pin down and their influences are varied – some songs remind me of The Wrens’ Meadowlands, others sound like late Eric’s Trip and yes, one tune even sounded, dare I say, a little like Foo Fighters‘ “Monkey Wrench”. Oh yeah, and although she’s primarily the bass player, Felicity Foxx Herst is a spitfire on the mic. More of the screaming lady, please.
Animal Names is another underrated Vancouver band. I always confuse Chris VanderLaan with Chad VanGaalen, which kinda makes sense since their names are almost exactly-the-fucking-same (!) and they’re both from Calgary, but also kinda doesn’t, since Animal Names doesn’t sound a thing like Chad VanGaalen – though I wish they did.
The band introduced its set with, “These are some songs about our two favourite things – Kurt Cobain and Santa.” I missed the festive references, but I could hear a smattering of grungy-type riffs. Still, Animal Names is much more reminiscent of the bouncy emo-era indie rock of The Get-Up Kids than the sullen thrashing of Nirvana and I think that’s why I felt guilty enjoying myself. Don’t mind me, I just need to get over my embarrassment about still liking the same crap I liked when I was an angsty 16-year-old. The bottom line is that Woolworm and Animal Names both sounded tight and I’ll probably see them both again.
My only gripe about last night was the poor attendance. Chris VanderLaan might have to beat up his buddy, Andy Dixon, since the Secret Mommy frontman stole away the local crowd for his show with Fond of Tigers at the Biltmore – also, oddly enough, sponsored by the jazz festival.