The Replacements show Vancouver where the heart of rock ‘n’ roll really beats



By Steve Newton

I felt a tad nerdish, not having seen the legendary Replacements up until last Friday (June 28). I’d heard that these four guys from Minneapolis were capable of heart-stopping performances, tempering thrashy sonic onslaughts with a Beatlesque pop sensibility that couldn’t lose. So I may be a certified jerk for not having checked this band out before, but lemme tell ya—I’ll be first in line if they hit town again.

About as unpretentious as you can get, with a wardrobe that cries Value Village and hair-dos that haven’t been tampered with in years, the Replacements delivered the kind of raw, raunchy bar-room noise that beer was created for. I might not have been familiar with too many of the tunes blasted forth, but you could count the ones I didn’t care for on my left pinky.

“No, this is more important than KISS,” claimed lead singer Paul Westerberg, then he revised that remark with a typically self-effacing “Not really, but….” “Drum solo!” barked the sarcastic fellow, before drummer Chris Mars launched into a solo that must have gone on for at least four seconds.

Ya gotta like that.

The packed-in 86 Street crowd was well-behaved throughout the entire show, although the club was serving brew in plastic cups just in case. A few of those went sailing harmlessly onto the stage, and a massive white bra was tossed around up front during a particularly stimulating version of T-Rex’s steamy “Raw Ramp”.

The two-hour barrage of boogie ended with a couple of wicked encores, and this scribbler left the building secure in the knowledge that the heart of rock ’n’ roll was still pumping in bands like the Replacements (and not Huey Lewis & the News).

The only thing I couldn’t figure out was how bassist Tommy Stinson managed to get a thumb transplant from the Six Million Dollar Man.

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