It’s hard to let go of the music that shaped your teenage years. At that age, songs mean more than just mere chords and lyrics; a song’s depth can talk to you directly giving understanding to all insecurities of adolescence. Some of the music from your teenage years lives on and makes pretty good sense into adulthood. The bands that make as much sense in your 20s and 30s as they did when you were 14 years old are doing something rather special. My band of choice of adolescence was Screeching Weasel. Amazingly, their music held as good as true all through my 20s and 30s.
Without taking the whole pop-punk ‘90s thing too seriously, Screeching Weasel wrote fantastic, timeless LPs long before Green Day were splashed all over MTV. As pop-punk broke into the mainstream, a strong scene continued underground, where it always had been.
Dan Vapid is and was part of that underground scene. Having been a member of Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, The Mopes, and The Methadones, Vapid’s newest venture, Dan Vapid & The Cheats, took to the Media Club stage recently to perform more of the pop-punk that he helped create.
An older crowd than many a Vancouver punk show, Dan Vapid & The Cheats half-filled The Media Club to blast out a vibrant if not a little short set. With most of the songs hovering on the two-minute side of things, Vapid and his band blasted out tune after tune so quickly the show seemed to be over before it started. With over 25 years of playing live shows, Vapid and his boys still had the energy often lacking in bands half their age.
From the raw energy of the Ramones-influenced Riverdales song, “I Don’t Want to Go to the Party”, to the poppy harmonies of “Cold and Rainy Days” from Vapid’s latest release, a mildly enthusiastic audience nodded their heads and danced a little to music that years ago they would have stage-dived to.
Vapid only played one Screeching Weasel song – “I Was a High School Psychopath”. With the lyrics consisting of “With my leather jacket, my ripped blue jeans, and my Ramones t-shirt,” Vapid, like any good performer, never made it look odd that the now 40-something rocker was singing a song written almost 25 years ago.
The lyrics were fitting as the band played The Methadones’ “Say Goodbye to Your Generation”, the audience clapping along, nodding, and possibly pondering the line “We never thought it would turn out like this.”
The speed and pace of the show made the whole thing come to end far too quickly, but how many two-minute songs can you really play before you’ve exhausted your discography? Dan and his Cheats indulged the intimate crowd, coming back to play the super poppy Mopes song, “Baby Doll”. One minute and 53 seconds later, the show was over and, alas, we had to say goodbye.