Pack a.d. at Red Room

pack a.d. at the Red Room, Vancouver concert photo

Pack a.d. at the Red Room, Vancouver, May 14 2011.

Photos – Pack a.d at the Red Room, Vancouver, May 14 2011

– review by Erin Hanson/photos by Graeme Foote

The Pack a.d. intrigued me from the moment I first heard them, and stories of their killer live shows only further convinced me I needed to be at the Red Room on Saturday night.

I showed up just in time to see openers Dead Voices take the stage. The trio immediately launched into a high-energy set, hammering one song after another to a packed dancefloor. I snapped to attention from the first note, wondering “who is this?!” Singer/bassist Allie Sheldon‘s gravelly rock and roll yowl will no doubt lead to comparisons with Black Mountain – but safe to say Dead Voices stand on their own. I’m certainly keeping an eye out for them.

Dead Voices at the Red Room, Vancouver, May 14 2011.

Dead Voices at the Red Room, Vancouver, May 14 2011.

But here we are, the Pack a.d. The Red Room was full of people tensely waiting for the Vancouver duo to take the stage. Becky Black and Maya Miller walked onstage to massive cheers and got right into it. Well, holy crap. I’m not even sure how to describe it. It was a perfect onslaught of bluesy, raw, straight-ahead rock and roll.

I’m trying hard not to use adjectives commonly reserved for the music of White Stripes or the Black Keys despite the obvious similarities. Make no mistake, Pack a.d. have got their own sound, style, and infectious energy that make for one hell of a rock and roll show. Black on vocals and guitar stood on one half of the stage facing Miller, who had her head consistently bowed into her drumkit, surfacing only to keep us laughing with her in-between-song banter, including the deadpan declaration that, “My intricate drumming will fuck your MIND!”

Pack AD at the Red Room, Vancouver, May 14 2011.

Pack AD at the Red Room, Vancouver, May 14 2011.

After the third song or so (“Cobra Matte”), Miller reassured the audience, “We’re nice ladies, really,” before launching back into it. The floor was absolutely packed, some people moshing while some were just getting down and dirty. (I may have gone a little bit berserk when they played my two favourites, “B.C. is on Fire” and “Crazy”.) They continued the barrage of gritty rock, and when the show was over, the roaring audience wouldn’t let them leave for long.

The two songs they played for their much-deserved encore represented a slight shift in sound – the band claimed that the songs have yet to be released. Becky seemed to really let loose for the last one, screaming at times which made for a refreshing change and an even bigger boost of energy. Miller really wasn’t kidding – her slightly off-beat drums blew my metalhead drum-nerd boyfriend’s mind. He started off as a Pack a.d. skeptic but by the end was a fully-fledged convert, and yes, he was dancing.

Everyone left the Red Room sweaty and grinning, and I, like many I’m sure, have rock-star dreams of one day being as cool as the Pack a.d.

Pack AD at the Red Room, Vancouver, May 14 2011.

Pack AD at the Red Room, Vancouver, May 14 2011.

Dead Voices at the Red Room, Vancouver, May 14 2011.

Dead Voices at the Red Room, Vancouver, May 14 2011.

More Dead Voices photos:

More Pack a.d. photos:

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