Let’s Hear It For Mark!

Mark is seriously the man. He drove the coquihalla, just to be here with you.

Chixdiggit! is the “professional rock band” from Calgary, Alberta (sarcastic air-quotes supplied by Chixdiggit!) that never was meant to be a band to begin with. The name began simply as something to put on some t-shirts they wanted to sell, which soon became a fictional band, which then became a real band, which is now a professional rock band.

The band plays a style of fast and fun three-chord pop-punk, and speak about all kinds of significant cultural touchstones, from the breathtaking deals that can be found within a Daiso store, to the controversial assertion that Henry Rollins is a wet blanket, to pitching hypothetical battles between Paul McCartney and their average fathers.

Friday night at the Venue saw the return of Chixdiggit! to Vancouver after seven years away. The crowd was eager to see them back on the other side of Highway 5. Tilting his mic down, assuming an aggressive power stance, and grinning impishly at the crowd, lead singer KJ spurred the band into a high-energy version of “Welcome to the Daiso”.  The crowd welcomed them to Vancouver.

“Let’s hear it for Chixdiggit!”

Uproarious applause.

“A big boo for Chixdiggit!”

Uproarious booing.

KJ’s greatest talent on stage is his charm. He could have had that crowd cheering for macaroni art, and they would, and they would have love it.

“Let’s hear it for sound checks!”

The band played a very loose set. Shortly after starting, they gave the onus of set list construction to the audience, demanding requests. Maybe it was a gesture of apology for having avoided Vancouver for so long. Whatever the case, it turned out to be an awesome evening of fan favourites, b-sides, and hits, with a lot of close interaction with the audience, giving the show a very intimate lights-on feel.

“Let’s hear it for the guy in the Burton shirt!”

The great thing about a Chixdiggit! show, is that prior knowledge of the music, in even the most basic sense, is absolutely not necessary. They played over twenty songs on Friday (twenty!) and I definitely didn’t know anywhere near all of them. But their songs are all cut from a very consistently manufactured cloth. Listening to Chixdiggit! is like eating a box of smarties. They’re all different colours, but if you like one, you’ll like them all. Their songs may be all “different”, but they’re really just remixes of a handful of chords, with some new lyrics. And the best part is that none of that is an insult! Chixdiggit! is a blast! Every song is catchy and fun to the point of being absurd.

“A big boo for the guy in the Burton shirt!”

Chixdiggit! is a band that is really comfortable doing what they’ve being doing for so long. They missed sound check, so they did it live, fiddling with levels the whole show; they threw a traditional set list out the window, being comfortable playing anything the audience wished; and KJ perpetually stood in a power stance for over an hour, punctuating his singing with constant irreverent banter.

“Okay sing this part with us as loud as you can!”

Chixdiggit! is such an undeniably Canadian band. Goofy, charming, and humbly awesome. You’re probably not going to find another band who’s written a song about Gerry Cheevers anyway. For some awesome throwback punk from some guys who know exactly how to do that in the best way, find yourself a chance to listen to Chixdiggit! Chicks dig it, after all.

“Okay, that was too loud!  Sing it quieter!”