Overtime, ATF, Gnarcoleptics, Brady’s Problem @ Funky Winker Beans, March 31 – Review

I stumbled through the cold and wet and caught Overtime’s set near the end of their slot. The band’s members were all fitness club devotees with a small but dedicated fan base of moshing jocks – this association seems fitting because Overtime gave East Vancouver a taste of some excellent muscular and somewhat Californian-styled hardcore. Overtime’s skater West Coast sound included some infectious sing-along punk harmonies. Although the band displayed an occasional poppy edge, Overtime never veered off into the sort of slushy snowboarding pop-punk my roommates in Lake Louise often listened to.  Nope – these guys must have owned a few SNFU CDs as snotty skater kids, because Overtime could also play a generous amount of fantastic and murderous metal-punk riffs squashed in-between the Beach Boy harmonies.

ATF were a metal-punk quartet from Whalley who dressed like a cliché version of political dissidents. These hardcore-hippies played some very cool Black Sabbath dirges, which were mixed with several generous dollops of great speed metal. Yet ATF appeared to drift too far into speed-metal monotony at times. The band seemed to be at their best whenever the lead guitarist and probable farmhand’s V-guitar had been turned up a notch. The V- guitarist farmhand wore an ironic trucker hat and a greyish pro-Cannabis shirt and played lots of very capable dirty and hypnotic metal – his slower Melvins chords were often brilliant. Overall, ATF played some very consistent hardcore punk and they also had the most diverse look of the evening. Along with the farmhand, AFT also featured a powerful and competent beatnik drummer, a capable bassist with a sinister Charles Manson thing going on, and a sarcastic and energetic vocalist who enjoyed mouthing-off the boisterous and very drunk audience throughout the set.  Someone should tell ATF to produce and act in their own television reality show because it just might work.

The Gnarcoleptics were a bit older than the other bands, but no less energetic. This was a super-punk-band of sorts, with Aaron from Creeping Hands on drums; Dave from Ovary Action on bass, Baxter from China Creeps on guitar and Andrew from The Fucktards took the vocals. The Gnarcoleptics gave East Van a huge injection of crusty metal punk – think pounding jungle drums, back-of-throat vocals and some very screechy guitar work. Their British 80’s Subhumans, Crass and Exploited groundwork made everyone in the bar zone-out and believe in the hardcore spirit of ’82 all again. When The Gnarcoleptics played, the crusties and jocks moshed together and flannel jackets crashed into the drunken street punks who wore GG Allin shirts and leather jackets.

However, the best had been saved last. East Vancouver’s Bradys Problem possessed an original sound, which is difficult to categorize, although they admit to cranking-out oldies from Black Flag and The Adolescents in their spare time.  In my mind, their hard and fast driving rhythms were also reminiscent of some early thrash-metal acts like DRI or GBH, but I’m probably way off. Anyways, Bradys Problem displayed the best theatrics of the evening. The band was fronted by a very charismatic and drunk Warren Boyer – an emaciated East Hastings version of Jesus.

Boyer – a crazed, tattooed and bearded vocalist – delivered the punk gospel and led everyone into a religious beer-soaked fervour as he danced around the stage like a punked-out Jim Morrison. Boyer’s screaming vocals were searing and had powerful echoing quality, but his antics stole the show.  Boyer climbed on a pillar near the stage, flopped on the stage, dropped the mic a few times and continually baptized his half-naked body with beer.  Bradys Problem is tight metallic punk band that used 80’s Brit and American hardcore as their punk reference points. However, Bradys Problem also listed the Vancouver Police Department and Gordon Campbell as two of their principle influences. The band’s talented drummer (Vagina Enthusiast), the driving guitarist (Aaronoid) and the bass player (Crasty) were capable of pounding-out some brilliant freestyle jazz-punk jams as Boyer – a chaotic and tattooed Jesus – twisted and cavorted on stage before a mesmerised audience. Magnificent.

Overall, this was another great and very affordable night at Funky’s with a very attentive and friendly staff. There are few places in town where it’s possible to see four excellent punk bands for just $10. I know some people think Funky’s is much too ghetto for their liking, but it’s still the city’s best location to see local punk and metal acts perform live.