Wax Mannequin @ Pat’s Pub
It was years ago during my undergrad days in Kingston that a good friend of ours asked us to come watch her sister play at the Scherzo pub. Her sister, Krista Muir, plays her own style of synth-pop music while also playing in character as Lederhosen Lucil. Armed only with an impressive command of every key on her mighty Yamaha synthesiser and a pair of homemade Lederhosen (I’ve heard she has quite a collection), she comes prepared to rock you! If you’ve never heard of her, which is probably a good bet if your not from Ontario or Quebec, you should do yourself a favour and click that link right now. Unfortunately for you LL is no more but I believe she still plays under her real name now.
I digress though, this blog isn’t about Lucil, it’s about Wax Mannequin. That night, many years ago, playing right before (or perhaps after, memories of my undergrad are a little hazy) was the legendary Wax Mannequin. Wax had his own extravagant rock style and character. He combined a single guitar, a drum machine, a set of effects pedals with his intense rock and roll hero persona into a show that is not easily forgotten
I saw both Lucil and Wax a few more times during my extended stay in Kingston, but being back in Vancouver I had accepted that I would probably never see either again. That was until I noticed yesterday that Mark Bignell (of Radio Bandcouver) posted on his Facebook that he would be attending a Wax Mannequin concert that very night! (thanks Mark)
Ok on to the concert. Tea and I made our way down to Pat’s Pub, an usual little brew pub right in the heart of skid row (literally two blocks from scenic Main and Hastings). They actually have a decent brew they make right there, you can see the brewery inside. Their brew is only $3.75 a pint and $12.75 a pitcher (and 3 dollars Sunday - Wednesday!). It was actually cheaper than Canadian (and tastes a hell of a lot better).
Oh right, I said on to the concert a paragraph ago… ok second try, so we got there midway through the first band which will remain nameless (in that I can’t remember the name now and if I could I would forget the entire experience). It was basically just one guy making screechy sounds from his guitar and muffled noises into a microphone, which I can only assume were lyrics but I am unable to confirm that theory. The Facebook event described his style as political punk-folk music… ok if you say so. Perhaps the punk-folk guy didn’t show up and the guy we saw was a last minute substitution. I tried to ignore the noise emanating from the stage and went up to say hi to Wax and buy all of his CDs (I never got them when I was in Kingston) including his new one.
The second band to follow was billed as “heavy metal, that is all”. Well it was definitely heavy, and loud, and noise, but as a long time fan of the genre it was not “metal” it fell more into the much wider musical categorization of garbage (no not garage, garbage). Anyway, two painful experiences out of the way it was finally time for our hero to take the stage. The Wax Mannequin fans were certainly out in force, a group largely made up of Vancouver’s community of Ontarian refugees. Like myself they were extremely excited to see Wax play again.
Wax certainly didn’t disappoint While the years appear to have matured him a bit and he’s toned down his some of his rock and roll antics (though the pain of enduring the opening acts might have done that) the overall package is still there. He played a number of crowd favourites like Tell The Doctor, The Price and Animals Dance. As well as some from his new album which I enjoyed thoroughly I have to express some mild disappointed he didn’t play Chance to Dance. That song is a classic for Wax fans, as he likes to work up the audience into a dancing frenzy for that one. I can only assume he was saving it for the encore, which he didn’t get since the show was going late and like many sad sack NoFunCouver venues Pat’s Pub wanted to close up at 1:30AM…
After the show we had just enough time to congratulate Wax on a great show and have him sign the CD we bought. He wrote: “My Face is Hurting” which was most likely a reference to his cover pic, where he has managed to insert his head between the strings and fret board of his classical cutaway acoustic guitar (which I can only assume was not fully tuned).
This morning was a bit rout though, my right leg rudely awoke me with sharp, dehydration related cramping (something that only happens when I drink waaay too much). There is probably a reason I don’t go to places where the beer is that cheap any more, I am no longer an undergrad and it hurts like hell whenever I drink like one now (nothing a glass of Emergen-C and my morning cappuccino can’t fix though).
Thanks for coming to Vancouver, Wax and enjoy the rest of your tour. I can promise you the bars in Berlin won’t kick you off the stage during your encore at 1:30 .