Nitevigil’s leather-clad teens put North Van on the metal map at the New York Theatre

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nitevigil photo by bev davies

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 3, 1985

By Steve Newton

North Vancouver’s Nitevigil–the teenage metal band that made the finals of the Town Pump’s Spotlight ’85 competition–joined Ground Zero and Death Sentence in a “Heavy Metal Rockarama” at the New York Theatre last Friday (April 26).

The young headbangers displayed the same intensity and excitement that won them points at the Town Pump, but they couldn’t overcome a miserably erratic sound system–which was not only hard on the audience but the players as well.

“The sound was coming through the monitors like a phaser,” complained singer Phil English afterwards, “so our timing was all off. Then they let some drunk guy backstage and he kicked the power out. The roadies weren’t doing their jobs.”

English is sure right about that. All through Nitevigil’s set one wasted youth was staggering about the side of the stage, playing “air guitar” and almost knocking into the band’s equipment. None of the kids in the audience seemed to mind, but his presence didn’t say much for the organization of the gig.

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Phil English is the youngest member of NItevigil, having just turned 17 last week. Now he’s the same age as guitarist Kris Ellis and drummer Chris Wright, though still a year younger than bassist Bob Quelch, who at 18 is the “old man” of the group. They all live in North Van and attend Handsworth High, except for Ellis, who goes to Sutherland.

At last week’s concert they appeared in all the HM trappings: black-leather gloves with the fingers cut off, torn netted shirts, chains, studs, and scarves. But, they also sported some very catchy, hooked-laden tunes. Their biggest influences have struck it rich with simplistic–but powerful–tunes like “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” and “Looks That Kill”, and Nitevigil seems to understand that–especially in heavy metal–it’s not so much what you play as how you play it.

If this band stays together for a few more years, and metal remains popular, then I don’t see how they can lose. Local fans can check out Nitevigil on the latest Vancouver Seeds album, which includes songs from the six top finishers in Spotlight ’85.

Ground Zero’s set at last weekend’s rockfest was also plagued by sound problems, but the band did show some promise with hard rockin’ tunes like “You Got It Comin” and “Out On the Street”. The band is comprised of bassist Randy Rampage (who was in D.O.A. for five years), guitarist Brad Kent (formerly with the Avengers), singer Chuck Bedard and drummer Dale Henry (both formery in Zoo Break, a local band that had an album out in ’81), and guitarist Rick Clemmons.

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ground zero photo by bev davies

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