The Remedials at The CobaltPhotos by Alex Ramon
No matter how old you get, and no matter how old you think you are, there will always be a first for everything. Some could be great experiences, like your first concert, or some could be horrible, like your first relationship (depending on how you look at it…). That was my exact thought when The Remedials asked me to come out to The Cobalt to watch them play. I’ve never been to The Cobalt before and for those of you who don’t know, The Cobalt is one of Vancouver’s premiere underground venues. And when I say underground, I don’t mean folk music. It’s mainly hardcore-punk and metal. The closest I’ve ever come to punk was the Van’s Warped Tour back in the 90’s, so it’s been a while, but in retrospect, I did have a good time at those summer festivals.
First things first, I did enjoy myself and I don’t know why I was so nervous in the first place. I guess it’s safe to say that this experience was like my first kiss, sloppy but very pleasing. I got there a little early and got a chance to talk to some of the guys in the band, who were both very nice and gracious. We had a normal conversation about music, friends, and the whole works. Afterwards, when Alex finished editing all the pictures, he realized he knew the band. Turns out they all went to the same high school back in the day. Small world isn’t it! As a matter of fact, from what Alex recalls all of them played in several different bands.
In 2004, Gabriel Gill (Guitar/Vocals), Wayne Degerness (Bass/Vocals) and Lionel Cloutier (Drums/Vocals) decided to form a three-piece punk band called The Remedials. Their dedication to their work spawned two studio albums, two live albums, a DVD, songs on several punk compilations, along with radio and podcast airplay. All of these accomplishments weren’t unnoticed by others as they now have a solid following and fan base.
As soon as they started there set, I couldn’t help but notice how loud their music was. Like I said before, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a punk show so I had to adjust my ears so they wouldn’t bleed (They might have cranked up the volume meter to 11…and for those of you who don’t know, that was a Spinal Tap reference). Along with the heavy sounds, they also had the punk rock mentality with the power stance and fast paced head banging. They sound an awfully lot like Rancid, NOFX, and The Ramones, three of my all time favourite punk bands, so it was no surprise that they were all about the music. There were absolutely no breaks in between songs, except for a few beer swigs (and when I say a few, I mean a lot), and the bass lines were not only melodic, but very technical. All three of them laid their voices down on different songs, so it created a nice balance that kept each track interesting.
Their loud, punk-rock attitude transcended onto an eclectic crowd. There were aging punk rockers, young hipsters, as well as some pretty girls at the show, so I guess music has no boundaries when it comes to defining what punk rock is. However, a punk show wouldn’t be a punk show without a mosh pit. Even though it was a small venue, it didn’t stop three courageous (drunken…) men from kicking and flailing their arms to the sounds pumping throughout the speakers. At one point, one of these inebriated young chaps fell over. It goes without saying he was a little pissed, but I, however, found it quite amusing and quickly jotted it down in my notepad. I don’t know what it is about our society, but people seem to always laugh at other’s misfortunes, take America’s Funniest Home Videos for example. There is always at least one video of someone nutting themselves, and you don’t know why, but the laughter is just too overwhelming and eventually tears start forming. OK I may have gotten a little sidetracked, so we shall get back to the music.
Most of their songs have quite a bit of profanity, something my mother would have disliked but something my teenage self would have admired. One song caught my attention above all others. It wasn’t the catchy bass line, it wasn’t the hard hitting snare drum, nor was it the fast paced power chords. It was the lyrics. It was all about drinking and it goes a little something like this, “I like to drink/ I like to f*ck/ I like to f*ckin’ drink.” It’s simple, but effective. I think they just captured what everyone loves into one simple song. They ended the night on a short but sweet note with their song “12345.” They essentially just counted to five and then thanked the crowd for coming out. What surprised me at the end was that they not only thanked the crowd for coming out, but the press as well! I’ve never been thanked for coming out to a show before, so it was nice to hear that praise amplified over the entire venue.