The beauty of big city shows is the amount of intricate and unique venues scattered around every corner. Vancouver has a great list of concert locations, ranging from massive NHL hockey arenas all the way down to more miniature dodgy stages. One such smaller venue that seems to hold special places in many Vancouver-ites hearts is the Fox Cabaret; an intimate and warm bar & stage combo located in a busy yet neighbourly area. The Fox is home to many annual group events and regularly hosts small local bands. On Friday, December 2, a windy and rainy evening brought in a young and spunky crowd to adore the independent “anti-boomer bloomer band,” Black Pontiac.
The show began with band members tuning instruments, easing into a groovy instrumental introduction. As the music grew louder, the crowd crept their way closer to the stage, slow movements and excited faces gearing up. With crescendoing chords, lead singer Matt Purkiss erupted onstage, fist pumping and ecstatic, screamed “ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLLEE?” and immediately shifted into a fan favorite, Soda Pop Rock.
The whole night was honestly such a blast. The crowd was filled with young locals, many with personal connections to either the main band, the openers, or just general fans. Black Pontiac’s newest and first full album “From Bad To Worse (And Back Again)” made its live debut in front of a sea of roaring and energetic individuals. Chaotic energy was maintained throughout the entire evening, with people jumping their way onstage, crowd surfing, and audience/performer interactions tying everything together. The band kept everyone’s attention by throwing little surprises into their setlist, such as chanting popular Pitbull lines “Hotel Motel Holiday Inn,” and transitioning their song Slow Dance at the Disco into Beautiful Girls.
There were two particular moments of the show that stood out to me the most. The first being a more positive anecdote, was lead singer Purkiss had made his way from the stage into the crowd with the intention of starting a mosh pit, but quickly realized there was broken glass on the floor. In a beautiful effort, he stopped the band and made sure the danger was cleaned up before resuming with the mosh, a feat that should be kept with even bigger bands. So many nasty things can take place in crowd pits at concerts, and it’s important for everyone to be aware and do their part, such as what happened that evening. The second takeaway was unfortunately more of a criticism. After finishing their set and reappearing for an encore, Black Pontiac started with their most streamed song Island Honey, which is a perfect option for an encore set. However, this was followed by their final song, a cover of We Are Young by Fun. Although I can understand the intention of wanting to finish off with a song that everyone in the venue could sing along to, it left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. The last song of a show should generally be one that fans will remember, and it’s in good practice to have that be an original. Covers are absolutely a blast to experience live, but should be kept in the main setlist rather than in the encore.
Overall, I had such a great time. The crowd was hilarious and fun, the small venue emanating a feeling of warmth and trusting vulnerability, which I feel allows people to really be themselves. Black Pontiac did an awesome job at performing and interacting with the crowd. I would highly suggest listening to their new album and trying to catch their next show in Vancouver on December 30th at Buddha’s (109 E Hastings).