Scatterheart at Richard’s on Richards (finally)

Photos by Dominic Cho

After the bricks have fallen and the lights turned off, I want to take a moment and step back in time and relive one of the best shows I have ever been to at Richard’s on Richards. Way back in June of 2009, when this beloved and historic venue was still kicking and screaming, fans lined up to get in and have a brew to witness something that can only be described as memorable. I don’t ever recall a show at Richard’s being this packed, well except for maybe the Last Call, but in my mind that doesn’t count (it’s like having that NKOTB come back tour… people just want to relive their youth and go for the sake of going). On that normal night, when no one actually believed that this venue was actually going to torn down, a local band by the name of Scatterheart utterly blew my mind with their amazing showmanship and tight instrumentals.

ScatterheartComprised of lead vocalist and all around crazy person Jesse Enright, bassist Wes DeBoer, drummer Mike Southworth, and guitarist Doug Fury, Scatterheart is definitely a local band to watch out for. Already having toured with rock goddess Bif Naked, this past summer Scatterheart struck out on their lonesome and travelled all the way to Busan, Korea to play for 25,000 fans at the 10th Annual Busan International Rock Festival. Before any of these festivals and tours spawned upon this Vancouver based band, they played a sold out show at Richard’s and I was lucky enough to be invited out.

Their dynamic stage presence, combined with Enright’s eye catching feathers, left many people scratching and bobbing their heads, all the while screaming and dancing along to their catchy rock tunes. The feathers, I must admit, threw me off but I guess I just needed to get used to that colourful prop because it really added to the character Jesse was trying to portray. He reminded me of Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, mainly because he had that rockstar squat going all night. I can’t imagine going down that low for such a long period of time, but hey I guess that’s what you have to do these days to impress the ladies (that and flock your feathers while squeaking out some mating call… mine is the ear piercing duck quack). And how can I forget about his little stunt where he raced along the balcony, jumped onto the bar, and pranced back on stage all the while singing. Now if that isn’t showmanship, then I don’t know what is.

But it wasn’t just Enright that sold me; it was the band as a whole. From choreographed dance moves – such as the one kneed rock out — to the impressive instrumentals, Scatterheart was just plain entertaining. With Christmas lights stringed across his drum set, Mike was nothing short of exceptional. He was crisp and precisely hitting the drums so hard that I thought the symbols would explode. Doug was just as impressive, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from a former member of Bif Naked’s band. He’s one of those lead guitarists that could stand alone on stage and still entertain the crowd, sort of like Slash or Santana (but no gimmicks of course). I’m not too sure what it is about him, but he’s got that special quality that I can’t exactly pinpoint, but I know for a fact that he’s on his way to stardom. Wes kept it cool on bass and wasn’t outshined by any of his fellow band mates, as he worked his magical fingers and produced some heavy bass lines.

The highlight of the night, even though there were so many to choose from, had to be when Scatterheart played “Beautiful”. It was upbeat, melodic, and full of energy. I absolutely loved the palm muting, something I don’t hear enough of in modern rock songs (well if you go back to the early 90’s it was prevalent, but not so much these days). Of course, with Scatterheart it’s not just about the music. They had a bubble machine blowing throughout this performance, which amused the drunken crowd, and this sing-a-long track really left the audience wanting more.

I can honestly say that this was one of the best shows I have ever witnessed at Richard’s on Richards. It’s a shame this venue succumbed to the wrecking ball, but at least we still have the memories. I guess we’ll just have to find some new place to put our heart and soul in, but for now we’ll just have go to the pretentious Venue on Granville.