The High School Girls and The Elixxxirs Rock The Anza Club
First off, I want to send my apologies to The Dreadnoughts. I was actually supposed to review them for this article, but I came down with a slight fever and couldn’t stay for the entire night, therefore I have no review for them. Sadly it’s that time of year again, when the seasons change and the weather gets nippy, and for some reason, my body still thinks it is summer. If I could turn back time, I would have put on that warm coat and laced up those shoes (actually if I could turn back time I would scam the lottery system and win millions…), but unfortunately it is not one of my skills to bend the space time continuum. But I shouldn’t look at the past and regret the things I’ve done and the shows I’ve missed, instead I should be grateful for having gone for the majority of the Anza Club night. The High School Girls and The Elixxxirs were able to prolong my night and even made me sweat some of my fever off, so kudos to them!
Consisting of James Elwood on lead guitar, Ben Fussell on rhythm guitar, and Tony Dallas on drums, this trio brings a whole new meaning to music. They aren’t a typical rock band you find playing in a bar, but instead they’re musicians who happen to play in a bar. There is no singing involved, but instead you hear the essentials of music. You hear the guitar, you hear the bass, you hear the drums. That’s all. What you don’t hear is what impresses me the most and with mainstream music floating within earshot of anywhere you go, all you hear is other musicians singing about how they love this or hate that. If the words are powerful enough, they can affect you in ways you wouldn’t think possible, but of course there are always drawbacks. You don’t get to hear the ingenious instrumentals and the mind bending arrangements. That gets lost within the singers amazing or not so amazing vocal range, but The High School Girls brings it back to the basics and that is why I enjoyed them so much.
THSG kicked off the night with their surfer ska-rock that slowly brought the crowd to the dance floor. Using the mic on vary rare occasions, THSG used their instruments to the fullest. Ben was multi-tasking, starting the night off on bass and later switching the guitar. On both instruments, he was the liveliest of the bunch, feeling the music with his entire body and rocking out until sweat dripped down his face. Tony was equal to the task and produced one of the most entertaining drumming I’ve seen in a long time. His drum rolls where so fast his hands started to blur into one stream of drum stick madness. James of course wouldn’t be outdone, because his guitar riffs and guitar solos were something to be amazed at. His fingers went to frets I didn’t even know where there and the melody this trio put forth was head bopping good times. The only real description I have of their music is just pure fun. I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face every time they broke out into another song (Food for thought, how do they name their songs?). At first glance, you might classify them as just another jam band rocking out in the garage, but they’re more then that. They proved to the crowd at The Anza Club that they have that solid group dynamic and musicianship that keeps everyone on their toes, especially when they ended the night by covering the Pulp Fiction theme song.
Forming in 2005, this three piece has brought the dance back onto the floor. With Bobbi-Jo Moore on guitar and vocals, Chris King on bass, and Alec Smecher on drums, this trio provides the necessary up-beat ska rock to liven up any night. In 2006, The Elixxxirs released their debut CD titled “Elixxx This!” and followed that up with a Canadian tour that saw them gain a growing fan base. That same year, The Elixxxirs opened up for Chris Murray, a Canadian ska legend, and in 2007 they filmed their first music video for their song “Forget About It.” With all of this combined, they had the honour of playing at the 8th Annual Victoria Ska Festival where they opened up for Neville Staple. With all of these accomplishments already under their belt, their set at The Anza Club was something to watch out for.
Their set started off with barely anyone on the dance floor, and right away Bobbi-Jo wasn’t having any of that. She called out to the crowd, and instantly people starting stammering onto the floor. With her solid and powerful voice, Bobbi-Jo immediately livened up the night with her raw and edgy lyrics. Chris King wasn’t able to attend the show, so they had an intern bass player by the name of Sean Bell. What amazed me the most about him was that he was playing every thing on the fly. I’m not sure if they were bullshitting the crowd, but apparently Sean’s amazing bass solos and riffs were all improvised. At the beginning of their set, they had a few sound issues with no vocals in the monitors, but to be honest, if they hadn’t said a thing, I wouldn’t have heard the difference. Their music brought light and warmth to the cold night, and it would’ve been perfect for a sunny summer day. Sadly, the weather outside was cold and miserable, so The Elixxxirs were definitely a breath of fresh air. I was thoroughly impressed by Alec’s drumming, who by the way was celebrating his birthday. On more than one occasion, he unveiled the double kicker, which provided a nice layer to the already solid music. And then out of nowhere, a trumpet player pops out for a few songs. They even did a cover of NOFX’s “Eat The Meat,” which proved to be a crowd favourite. Sure they screwed up at the end of that song, but everyone was having so much fun I don’t think anyone really realized what had happened. For their last song titled “Gold Digger,” there was some definite crowd interaction. During the chorus, Bobbi-Jo invited the mob of fans on the dance floor to sing along with the band. Everyone shouted “Hey! Ho! You won’t get my gold!” in unison and their set ended with a huge applause.
That was about the time my fever reached its boiling point, so I decided to end the night on a high note and got out of there before I passed out. For more information on The High School Girls and The Elixxxirs, feel free to visit their website and myspace.