West Ave and Mister Fister shred at the Shed

Indie bands take the rickety stage.

Last Saturday night, around 40 people made the trek to the outskirts of town to cram themselves into the infamous Shed behind the now defunct George’s Roadhouse. The Shed would soon fill up for a night of sloppy indie rock from local bands West Ave and Mister Fister and the Steel Knuckles.

A hanging lightbulb propped around an old pipe provided backlight for the bands, leaving the Shed a dark den filled with smoke and shame. Mister Fister opened the night, playing 13 songs of shambling guitar rock. The band, a three piece, played a set of original songs, based around chunky riffs and solos that sounded like they could’ve been ripped from a mid-2000s Queens of the Stone Age track. The set was driven by the rhythm section, with locals Mitch Mackay on bass and Brandon Archibald on drums, who played steady jams that allowed the guitarist, Brody Mackay, enough space to efficiently solo. Though the set of songs was unfamiliar to those in attendance, people didn’t seem to mind, with the crowd responding warmly to the set, partaking in friendly moshing. The band did an excellent job at warming the crowd up, setting a high energy tone for the night.

After a brief intermission, West Ave took the stage to play 11 songs of the classic soft-loud-soft indie rock that has come to define modern independent rock. The band, who released their debut album, Call Me Susan, in August, played a set of new and old tracks. After warming the crowd up with a new track, the band stormed through their catalogue, playing faithful renditions of album cuts, which the audience went wild for. Guitarist Nick Grant fused a guitar style that sounds like Johnny Marr covering a Pavement song, littered with solos that smoothly cut through the fuzz like a punk-rock David Gilmour. Hayden Nurse, wearing a heart locket containing a picture of Morrissey, held a position behind the drums, beating the skins within an inch of destruction like John Bonham shot full of red bull. The track “Karamazov Rock” was the drum highlight of the night, with a steady beat that builds to a stop and start chorus, showing off the proficiency of the bassist and drummers skill, while still allowing Grant to impress with his guitar work.

After 10 original songs, which culminated in a broken string for Grant, the guitarist swapped in a borrowed guitar and the band played a barn-burning cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Though the microphone was knocked over by the rowdy crowd during the cover, the band went along with it as if it was planned, jamming unfazed as an audience member set the dropped equipment back up.

Following the extended cover, the show came to an end, leaving the beer- and sweat-soaked crowd to walk back into town in the cold. No one complained, though, as the warmth of the music and adrenaline of such an event were more than enough to make the cold disappear.

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