ShoCore: The Return at the Rickshaw Theatre

ShoCore with The Rubes at Rickshaw Theatre, 1/18/20Photos: ShoCore with The Rubes | Rickshaw TheatrePhoto by Ryan L. Johnson

“OH YEAH!” Saturday night’s most used chorus refrain that also answers the night’s most over heard phrase; “do you remember?” This isn’t geriatric night at the Rickshaw though, it’s Vancouver stalwarts ShoCore’s return to the stage.

“It’s been a couple of years… twelve is it? How’s your mother? How’s your sister?” Lead singer Cory White asks a boisterous crowd. Cheers are hurled back at the stage and it is generally understood that they’re fine, thanks for asking.

The audience had been taught the universal language of “Yeeeehooo” by The Rubes who opened the show with explosive cowboy punk energy. Their camaraderie on stage immediately spilled out into the audience and pockets of moshing were quickly established.

Front man and songwriter Tony Baloney delivered several aggressive pick sliding guitar solos often turning them into double barreled attacks by shouting melodiously along with them. The spotlight never lingered for too long though. Perhaps there is a mathematical law of nature that comes into play when a band with four members has four microphones on stage. The only ego evident was a group one.

Their unity was never more evident than in the closer “Pontiac.” Playing at breakneck speed the band curbed the volume and made room for Tony to deliver a vocal line that was probably clocking in at ten words per second. To the left of the stage, the bedrock rhythm guitar of Zafirios Georgilas and the cutting bass of Dave Charan seemed to energize each other. Tony’s voice, at this point just a familiar blur, was given some definition by drummer Doug Donut whose snare roll crescendo matched the rapid fire vocal and drove the band headlong into an all out frenzy. 

The finale for The Rubes perfectly embodied their intrinsic light-hearted, joyful ferocity. For one last chorus and solo section Tony played hammer-ons like an Eddie Van Halen set: to stun, not kill. No gratuitous sweeping licks, just a man hammering on his guitar like a construction worker who can go home early if he gets those studs up before lunch. Doug meanwhile, ended up playing the final hits of the set on his feet and Dave’s bass strings breathed a sigh of relief as the last note rang out. The room was well warmed up.

With the lights still set low, ShoCore took to the stage with the opening synth loop from “Bonecracker,” establishing the atmosphere and raising some yells from the audience. The first song was not “Bonecracker” however. Changing gears the band hit a different chord and triggered a huge confetti cannon to explode. With the audience showered in colour it was clear that the show was going to be a spectacle. 

The second song “Rudy” was counted in on open hi-hats by Bob Wagner, the man in the drum fortress. Behind him, a projection screen played the music video for the song. The film’s black leather trench coats may have been missing from the stage but the audience could sleep easy with the knowledge that they are almost certainly still safely kept in the wardrobes of founding members Cory White (vocals) and Sho Murray (guitars). But the outside world of wardrobes, work, and snow is exactly what the audience and bands alike came out to escape. An objective ShoCore were evidently prepared for. 

On the blank canvas of the Rickshaw Theatre, ShoCore brought a well rehearsed, carefully constructed show. The next element introduced was guest vocalist Rachel Ashmore. She brought complimentary harmonies to the hard rock ’n’ nu-metal world of ShoCore with particular poignancy on the song “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” (the opening track to their new album The Aging Youth).

She wasn’t the only guest on stage though. A few songs later two dancing girls in leotards and fishnets joined the band. The hard rock ’n’ roll promised and delivered by ShoCore taking on a more Tadalafil induced quality. 

The culmination of the encore (which included A cover of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” featuring devil in full make-up) saw more confetti blasted out over the audience as the final song came to a close. “Thank you so much. We cherish your support…” a sincere departing line from a man who wanted everyone to have a good time.