Tonight I was fortunate enough to have a friend bestow upon me the opportunity to go see a music show at the exotic Imperial Theatre. The band that was playing was a Canadian Electro-pop duo named Junior Boys. Being your archetypal alt-electro-pop introvert, I could not help myself to the free ticket made available from an uncle’s sudden decision to not attend.
I was fairly nervous on the way to the show — it’s been a while since I have attended the show of a band whose demographic is primarily that of the mid-adolescent to late-adolescent, East Van-hipster crowd. I’ve never quite felt like I fit in, and this would always be emphasized in the weed-scented-septum-piercing-all-black-wearing crowds that dominated these shows. Needless to say, although the crowd was exactly as I imagined it would be — The Imperial is literally a block from the Rickshaw; what did I expect? The music of Junior Boys would inevitably eclipse this irrational sense of debasement and re-introduce me to all of the qualities of the concert experience that I fell in love with.
The duo began this tour in order to promote the recent release of their 2016 album Big Black Coat. They started off with a track off their newest album which was well-received but, like all new albums, was treated as a warm-up for the crowd. I could immediately tell that at least 95 percent of the crowd consisted of dedicated fans that have grown up with Junior Boys since their critically acclaimed debut Last Exit (2004), and So This Is Goodbye (2006), because the crowd would react so strongly at the intro of certain songs and lesser to others that I could pretty much guess the entire tracklist of their most respected works. Beautiful-drunk-hipsters would sway so hard to the beat of “Teach Me How To Fight,” “Double Shadow,” and “So This is Goodbye” that I began to notice groups of people synchronized to each other’s ‘sways’ — as if the whole Chinese-themed theatre were overtaken by glossy, colourful jellyfish.
The show would contain a couple of memorable highlights that would stick in my head as I left the sweaty venue — memorable moments such as the heavily welcomed guitar-improvisations and over-stretched synth codas, that really attractive-hipster girl crowd surfing three times in a row during the craziness of “In The Morning” — by far the best performance of the night — and the moment when a drunken crowd member was supported onto the front of the stage and Matt Didemus (lead member of the band) would just phlegmatically stare at her in fear that she did not charge into the drum set.
Along with these memories, I left with a newfound joy and affection for both live-music shows and the alternative demographic that plagued these shows. Perhaps what defines a good live-show is simply the show, but rather an ability to create a sense of familial unity between the insiders and the outsiders — and tonight, I definitely felt like an insider.