The Sonics @ Venue 29/6/17
North West garage rock legends the Sonics delighted a dedicated rock and roll audience at Vancouver’s Venue. Formed in 1963 in Tacoma, Washington, the Sonics are perhaps one the most quintessential garage bands of all time. Knocking out a high calibre spread of early hits and recent old fashion rock and roll cuts, the Sonics had all ages of the audience embracing Venue’s dance floor. With a blistering set of rock and roll standards and heavy hitting originals, the audience happily absorbed the Sonic’s bombastic volumes.
The Sonics have a revamped band lineup built around sole original member Rob Lund, who remembered some of the band’s earlier days. “You know, Vancouver has a reputation as a rock and roll town,” he teased. The Sonics are no strangers to Vancouver, which was a part of the band’s history of performing in beer halls and the famous Smiling Buddha Cabaret. At one early ‘60s Vancouver gig, the band turned down the request of an audience member join them on stage; that disappointed young man went on to found an influential little project eventually known as the Jimi Hendrix Experience. On this particular evening, the band shared some memories about touring with the Kinks on their first North American tour before cutting into a cover of “The Hard Way.” For many of the younger members of the Vancouver audience, the Sonics influence on the current wave of punk-rockers like Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard is undeniable.
The band cut loose a few new songs, both from 2015’s This Is The Sonics as well as some yet unrecorded numbers. Generally contained within a similar rock and roll mindset as the band’s classic cuts, the newly penned songs were shared by keyboardist Jake Cavaliere and guitarist Evan Foster; the drum work of Dusty Watson sounded meticulous yet spirited through the performance. Following a brief encore the band returned, promising that they had “saved the best for last”. The band knocked out raunchy versions of “Dear Doctor’ and the enduring fan favourite “Strychnine”. Now years since the artistic bloom of the mid ‘60s, many of the bands of that era such as Brian Wilson, the Zombies and the Moving Sidewalks have lost most of their edge and luster. Back in the mid ‘60s music of the Sonics was often considered too loud for radio. With their engaging bass, mind-shattering cymbals, heavy snare drum, incendiary vocals and searing rock riffs the Sonics not only prove that they wrote some of the finest garage singles ever penned but that a fifty-year-old band can still punch out music that is fun, edgy and loud. If the Sonics were seeking an energetic mosh pit on some of their more savage numbers, they were not disappointed.