Review and photos – Larry and His Flask at the Media Club, Vancouver, April 8 2011
– review by Jacqueline Ronson/photos by Cameron Brown
The beat drives the show, so why hide the drummer in the back? Larry and His Flask put their kit front and centre, leaving room for Jeshua Marshall to run back and forth behind the rest of the band while slapping his double bass, occasionally elbowing past the banjo player to play from within the crowd.
At first glance the band looks like a fairly standard bluegrass lineup, with their folk instruments and old-timey outfits. Then they drop the beat. And break out the brass section. Then you know they’re something not quite like anything you’ve heard before.
The show was a high energy hillbilly hoedown with punk rock energy and heavy metal undertones. A modest mosh pit formed in front of the stage populated mostly by bearded beer-bellied plaid-clad 30-something dudes. The last girl holdout in the very front took blows with a fierce attitude that seemed to say, “Go ahead, throw your 200-pound bodies my way. See if I care.” The band members took turns jumping into the fray, giving and taking hits while somehow managing to hold onto and at least attempt to play their instruments. Beer-sipping head-bobbers lined the outskirts of the pit.
My dream show with these guys would be an impromptu performance on some street corner or public square. The band proved that no fancy electric instruments or effects are required to rock out. Hard.
The band also proved that they have more energy than their audience. At the encore, drummer Jamin Marshall stripped his shirt off and introduced “Fuck Cancer”, a song he wrote about his battle with the disease.
Part way through the song, he asked the crowd to consider the following question carefully: “If I jump, will you catch me?”
The less-than-committal response led Marshall to a split-second decision to skip the leap of faith and finish the song.
The band announced that they will be back in Vancouver the perform at the Media Club again in May. So far the Internet has failed to confirm this. If they do show up, go see them. Bring enough money for a few beers (plus a couple for the band). And maybe some elbow pads.