This weekend Vancouver was yet again teeming with a feast of musical treats, with something being offered to suit all tastes. What better way to spend a muggy Friday evening than cooling off from the day’s harsh sunlight with an iced Pabst Blue Ribbon in at the Media Club with friends new and old? All the while feeding your weary body with chest-thumping, toe-tapping and ear-tingling music which is so varied – from punk, to blue grass, to indie and everything in between, that it is near impossible to give this band a label or stereotype. Larry and his Flask aren’t just a band, they are a mismatched movement of soul-lifting melodic heaven. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the crazy chaos which you are accosted with in the form of the band’s performance style and stage presence; these men know exactly what they are doing and need not change a thing.
Doors opened at 9:00 p.m. with the venue steadily filling to capacity as people anticipated the great show ahead of them. There were three acts on stage for our entertainment pleasure, starting with Lying Eyes followed closely by Library. These two support acts kept the crowd pleased while all waited in gleeful anticipation for Larry to grace the stage. Both bands played their hearts out, both recognizably feeding from influences both new and old. A little hint of the Foos could be heard in Lying Eyes’ opener, and the sombre melodic guitar riffs one had accustomed themselves to from early tracks by the Killers were present throughout many of Library’s numbers. I hate to have favourites, but I am earmarking Library as a band everyone should keep a very close eye on – wonderful music, a captivating stage presence and a not-so-average playlist; these guys (and girl) caught and held everyone’s attention from start until finish.
Now, being a Monday to Friday 9-to-5er, I was a little disheartened to find out that Larry was not going to be on stage before midnight. Worrying, as I do, that I would be far too tired (okay, cranky) to give the group a fair chance of impressing me. I had no need to fear – any symptoms of the weekly grind I was wearing were banished to a land far, far away as soon as the band appeared. From beginning to end, their set was filled with energy that one can only describe as infectious. A pre-show huddle at the side of the stage wasn’t to put you off, if these men were nervous it didn’t show once. With enviable beards, a signature style of dress (or undress…) that was definitely tinged with a feel of the prohibition era, these guys are a stand-out act that have you hanging on every note, every word and every drop of sweat from start to finish. With energy, usually only displayed by a group of toddlers who have just been left into the ball pit after hitting the peak of a birthday cake-induced sugar high, Larry and his Flask head-banged, bass-slapped and sang until they could sing no more.
The band’s set list included favourites such as “Ebb and Flow” and “Call It What You Will” and got the crowd into a frenzy, only to be topped by the excitement caused by the guitarist’s foray into the crowd, sweat dripping from every inch of his shirtless chest, as he finished out the last song and ordered a beer from the bar – multitasking worth a mention. Pitch-perfect vocals and the band’s melodic signature harmonies accompanied by a vast array of instruments – from the bass to the trumpet to the wonderful Larry and his Flask drums that took their place centre stage (literally), this was a great example of what live music should be. There was great interaction between the band and the crowd the whole time; the band made you feel like a good friend they hadn’t seen in a while. A mutual and automatic comfort and joy to be partaking in the music was felt by all.
Energetic, infectious and uplifting – I look forward to seeing these guys again, that is for sure.
Now to find out who this Larry fellow is…