Published Feb 02, 2009As an appreciation to their patrons, Calgary's Broken City flew out L.A. quirk-punks the Mae Shi for a free, semi-secret concert. Following the lull of touring bands caused by the winter months, it was an exciting prospect that attracted hundreds to the downtown venue.
Hometown openers Pine Tarts were about as trying as their moniker, dabbling in over-the-top power pop that toes the line between bearable and obnoxious. Truthfully, their songs were decent, but the biggest detractor was their antics, which included a mid-set drinking game and far too much leather. If they could tone down the goofiness a little, they could probably turn out a handful of decent tunes.
Fortunately, Edmonton's Bayonets were there to destroy the pretenses with their sporadic, destructive post-hardcore. Having just released their first full-length, the band, who include ex-members of Edmonton legends the Wolfnote, flailed through a short set of manic, busy punk numbers, few of which broke the minute mark. It was chaotic, frantic, and sweet as the band were having just as much fun as their audience. It was also an ideal segue into the Mae Shi's frenzied charm.
Running a victory lap from their beloved Sled Island performance last summer, the band's Calgary return was met with a capacity crowd that latched on to every moment, as vocalist Jonathan Gray jumped around in a Halloween-themed pumpkin suit. It was a similar set to their last appearance, right down to the rebirth of the "Mae Sheet," a giant parachute that envelopes the crowd, which is now a multi-coloured experience.
Focusing mainly on their HLLLYH material, the band did play some older tracks as well, keeping spirits high with their seemingly bottomless well of energy. Ending in a sea of sweat and shredded vocal cords for both the audience and band, the Mae Shi were the best appreciation present anyone could ask for.