Mint Records Christmas Party at the Ukrainian Hall, Vancouver Nov. 30 2013
– by Katie Maki
On Saturday night, Mint Records hosted their annual Ridiculously Early Christmas Party at Vancouver’s Ukrainian Hall. The bill included Shawn Mrazek Lives!, Fake Tears, Chris Mastheim, Jay Arner, Renny Wilson, Tough Age, and The Evaporators.
The show was filled with many surprises, including the setting. The hall had the feel of a cheery gym, with a beer and wine stand, a merch table, and a DJ booth. The night started off oddly slow, with the first band going on at 7:30. As the night went on however, the gym became packed.
By the fourth act, the night really kicked up a notch.
Renny Wilson came on stage wearing a ’70s disco outfit – a leopard-print onesie with a slit down the belly, along with a black bowl cut wig and red lipstick. Formerly know as Sugarglider, Wilson released his solo debut in 2012. He performed with little restraint, at one point purposely tearing a hole in his outfit to reveal his butt cheek and underwear. The crowd cheered him on while his dancing antics, kicks and leaps continued.
After a short break, a recent Mint Records signee Tough Age appeared. Their self-titled album, released in November, is their first record for Mint. The group upped the ante with a harder indie rock vibe. Those in the front row headbanged and rocked out to their at-ease presence. They brought everything back to a rock concert level, before the final act of the night.
Honestly, I was a little afraid when The Evaporators’ frontman Nardwuar the Human Serviette walked out on stage. Dressed in a full white cloak that made him resemble a ghost, Nardwuar chanted to the crowd as the rest of the band came onstage. After changing his outfit, he jumped into the audience.
As is customary at an Evaporators gig, the crowd was as much a part of the show as the band. In the middle of the set, Nardwuar – clad in a helmet and sweater – became Budweiser-Man. Grabbing his keyboard, he let himself be hoisted aloft by the crowd while playing. In total, the singer changed his outfit eight times while on stage, and definitely wasn’t afraid of showing a little skin.
The last song ended in customary Evaporators style. Nardwuar motioned for everyone in the audience to kneel, and then spring up. The entire weight of the crowd landing in one swoop made the building shake.
Some fans even got to dance onstage as the DJ played while people exited.
The main attraction for the annual Christmas party was neither the merch nor the music, but the atmosphere. People chatted, drank, danced and laughed while the show went on. Though not entirely Christmas-themed, the Mint Ridiculously Early Christmas Party felt like a family gathering all the same.