A Lesson in Punk Rock
Photo Credits: Chantel Ouellet
Last Sunday, tucked down behind a seemingly quiet bar on Dundas West, I went to one of the most fun punk concerts I have ever been to. If you follow the sounds of thrashing guitars and screaming vocals pouring out onto the street when the right combination of doors open, you would find yourself walking into The Garrison.
On Sunday, April 17, Los Angeles-based all-girl punk rock band Bleached came to town with opener No Parents in tow, and they were spectacular. Life-changing opening acts are the music scene’s equivalent of an endangered species. Since everyone and their brother thinks they have what it takes to be the next big thing, you quickly learn what time you “really” need to arrive at live shows. However, every now and then some up-and-comer will catch you completely off guard. When this happens, you know that that night is going to be one of those nights that will forever live on, because it’s going to be the concert of a lifetime.
No Parents are a rising Los Angeles-based punk band, and a quick Google search will bring you to a Space Jam-themed website with a cursor image of lead singer Zoé’s face. No Parents is made up of frontman Zoé, bassist Killian LeDuke, guitarist Ryan McGuffin, and drummer Monty. They had an amazing stage presence that was incredibly entertaining to watch. Zoé’s antics were funny, crude, and abrasive, yet somehow sexy. The entire performance played out in a way that made you almost want to look away, but you just couldn’t. Their sound would go from screaming (yet beautiful) vocals to these groovy sung sections with a grimy bass line that made you want to dance. Their standout song was “Hey Grandma,” which caused me to audibly laugh out loud. This band is fun and definitely worth checking out.
Bleached came on around 9:45 p.m., and their flowery stage set and cool-girl vibes were a Tumblr girl’s wet dream. The California girls know what they do best and they know what sells, and they acknowledged as much when they said, “We brought the sun, we always bring the sun.” The band was equally involved and active as they all jumped and danced around the stage. They played a mix of old and new songs, including “Electric Chair.” The best moment of the concert is a toss up between the bassist venturing out into the crowd or Zoé from No Parents coming back on stage and jamming out with the girls.
The great thing about Bleached was that the band didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously. From their flower-covered stage to their brightly coloured hair, the band made sure that everyone in the audience was having the time of their lives just like they were. It’s important to see women on stage having fun and sharing a love for music in a unique, independent, and organic way. It was endearing to watch the lead singer twirl around the stage in platform shoes. She looked almost childlike, dancing as though no one was watching. It looked as though they were all truly happy, and as though they were living out their dreams.
In the last half of their show, Bleached pulled off a crowd-pleasing cover of the Ramone’s “Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World.” They finished with “Dead In The Head,” which notably has a super groovy bassline and hip-shaking drums. The show ended with them all literally collapsing to the ground in a big guitar-fueled mess. For the encore, they welcomed Zoé back on the stage once again. The crowd was going crazy, which showed that in the three years since they last played they had been missed. This is sure to be a big year for them.
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I think Zoé summed it up best when he screamed, ”Bleached 2016!”