Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

CKY with about 496 quite bitter beings

Posted in Concert Reviews by Jacob Zinn on June 29, 2009

Before there was Viva La Bam, before there was Jackass, before there was CKY (the video series), there was CKY (the band).

The members include lead singer Deron Miller, lead guitarist Chad I. Ginsburg, bassist Matt Deis, and drummer Jess Margera, older brother of professional skateboarder Bam Margera. Last night, the four smalltown guys from West Chester, Pennsylvania rocked the small Richards’ on Richards nightclub in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The show wasn’t sold out, but it had enough people to take up most of the dimly lit brick building. The crowd was made up mostly of barely legal (drinking age) degenerates of the MTV generation. I suppose I was one of them.

Getting Started

The curtain jerkers were Desperate Union out of Toronto. The five band members all looked quite young, perhaps not old enough to be in the venue as fans.

They wore dark clothing and played average modern rock, but it was difficult to hear the vocals. The effort was in their music, but the crowd wasn’t into it enough to move to the floor.

Aside from the lead guitarist, their music wasn’t stellar, but the lead singer repeatedly plugged their MySpace page. (Here’s another plug. You’re welcome.)

Next up was Seattle’s Fall From Grace. As soon as they took the stage, the lead singer yelled for people on the floor level to move up to the stage. Only 14 people did.

Like Desperate Union, they had problems getting vocals clearly through the speakers and the group itself had that aging rocker look. The drummer was a Travis Barker wannabe–he had sleeve tattoos on both arms, t-shirt cut into a basketball jersey and modest Mohawk hidden under his hat.

They weren’t much better than the first act, but they got some people to the stage.

Lastly, hailing from Oshawa, Ontario, Hail the Villain was the most energetic of the opening acts. They didn’t have a gimmick like dressing in all black–they looked like a band with a lead singer who gives it his all at every performance.

Their lead singer was a tall, skinny guy who burst through the door at the sound of the first note and took the stage in a fury. He was by far the most entertaining frontman of the warm-up groups and their music drew more of the audience towards the stage. He even got some audience participation, prompting the crowd to yell “Go” on cue during one of their last songs.

But really, everyone was there for the headliner.

Welcome to Hellview

The club filled with smoke, surprisingly not from 500 metalhead potheads, but courtesy of a smoke machine attached to the balcony.

The generic modern rock played during intermissions cuts out and “Dirty Diana” by Michael Jackson starts. A few days ago, Ginsburg wrote a response to Jackson’s untimely death on CKY’s website.

michael jackson has always been a huge inspiration to everything musical Ive done. my first concert was Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 victory tour September 2nd 1984 in Philly at JFK stadium . the first time we went..it stormed and mj canceled minutes before the show..i was pretty much crying..like a little girl that the show was canceled. it was rescheduled and it was to this day thee best concert experience ive ever had. it changed my life..as did his music. i even had one of those jackets from the beat it video.. im not the least bit ashamed to admit it.

CKY stands for Camp Kill Yourself, taken from the 1983 horror film Sleepaway Camp, and anyone who’s seen Ginsburg wouldn’t think he was a fan of MJ; he looks like Jack Sparrow without the pirate get-up. He has shaggy hair, a nosering and wears dark jeans with a torn leather jacket and a matching cowboy hat.

But sure enough, CKY took the stage to the music. Ginsburg wore a black shirt with purple lettering that read, “A kid who tells on another kid, is a dead kid.”

Despite releasing their new album Carver City last month and poor reviews from Rolling Stone on their previous discs, the band played older material that they knew their fans would recognize and enjoy. They didn’t have a defined setlist as they took requests from the crowd, but their show did include the following tracks: “Disengage the Simulator,” “Shippensburg,” “Shock & Terror” and “96 Quite Bitter Beings” with its follow-up track, “Escape from Hellview.”

At the merchandise booth, the Hellview EP features the last two tracks on a 7-inch 45 rpm vinyl record, one song on each side. These are the first two songs in the series about a deadly town named Hellview (population: 96).

Early on, Miller told the audience that the goal of the night was to keep making noise, namely chanting “C-K-Y” between songs. If we stopped making noise, Ginsburg would press a button on his side of the stage to play top 40 dance music and disco hits from the ’70s.

Needless to say, “C-K-Y” chants broke out after every song.

The band played until 11:30 after finishing other songs such as “The Human Drive in Hi-Fi,” “My Promiscuous Daughter,” “Flesh into Gear” and “Hellions on Parade.” They threw towels and guitar picks to the fans (one of the guys next to me caught one from Ginsburg) and when they left the stage, the audience was still chanting “C-K-Y.”

Richard’s off Richards

During the show, a few of the groups acknowledged that Richard’s on Richards (affectionately called Dick’s on Dicks) will be closing its doors in a few weeks.

The land has been acquired by Aquilini Investments, a company that plans to demolish the nightclub at the end of July to make room for a condo building. Richard’s on Richards is located in the middle of quite a few high-rise complexes.

Though a new club will be opening at 556 Seymour Street, locals have until July 21st to catch one of the last shows at Richard’s on Richards.

The bathrooms wreak of unsanitary janitorial work, but the rest of the club carries a feeling of nostalgia. The wooden banister creaks when you lean on it, but it’s withstood years of rock shows, including the New York Dolls and Booker T. & the M.G.’s.

It has a hardwood floor and lighting rigs which you can almost touch from its oval-shaped balcony that surrounds the stage, providing intimate shows even for people upstairs.

Richard’s on Richards is one of Vancouver’s landmark venues and will be missed by every concert-goer who’s ever seen a show there.

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