A night on the town in Vancouver circa 1985 starts with “Mick from Paradox” and ends with D.O.A.

bev davies photo


By Steve Newton

Most people visit the Fraser Arms Hotel to see the Top 40 bands at Frams, but last Saturday night I had the urge for something a little more mellow. (I knew I’d be ending up at the D.O.A. show later on anyway). So I started the night shift in the In-Flite Lounge and caught the appearance of “Mick from Paradox”.

I had seen the power-trio Paradox a while back at Shooters, and thought they were one of the best hard-rock cover bands in town, so I was curious to see what the group’s bassist/vocalist–and former Trama guitarist–would be like on his own.

I wasn’t disappointed. His audience for the first set was almost nil, but you wouldn’t have known by Mick Dalvin’s gorgeous re-creations of tunes by the Atlanta Rhythm Section (“Spooky”), Little River Band (“Reminiscing”), Elton John (“Daniel”), and Carole King (“It’s Too Late”).

A captivating vocalist, Dalvin accompanied himself on electric guitar, and showed some pretty fingerpicking on songs by the Fab Four (“Blackbird”, “Here Comes the Sun”, “Mother Nature’s Son”). The crowning touch–and a song he performs regularly with Paradox–was a moving rendition of Kansas‘ “Dust in the Wind”.

A trip from the In-Flite Lounge to the Commodore Ballroom can be a long one when the car insurance runs out and you’re talking Metro Transit. By the time I stepped off the bus at 870 Granville, Poisoned were already halfway through their set (and had been preceded by both Shanghai Dog and Ground Zero).

What I did get to see of the Art Bergmann-led quartet was some raging, heavily armoured power pop/punk, in the form of songs from the group’s new six-tune EP and their 10-track cassette of last year. Bergmann’s gut-wrenching vocals and anything-goes guitar freakouts were rock personified, and he had a good number of the crowd hopping about appreciatively.

But even these metal-mangled ears detected a touch-too-much on the volume control. Bergmann’s sonic reverberations were augmented by bassist Murray Andrishak, drummer Taylor Nelson Little, and keyboardist Tom Upex.

While the roadies stripped the stage in preparation for headliners D.O.A. I and my partner-in-crime Spiggy hoofed it down Georgia to snag a few tunes (and a club soda) at the notorious Outlaws.

The place was packed with party-heartyers, and the band was Calgary’s Mad Dogs in Heat. All flying blonde hair (except for the bassist) and twisting torsos, they played the “rock till you drop” game to the hilt, and pulled off nifty versions of AC/DC‘s “Sin City”, Ratt‘s “Round and Round”, and Saga‘s “On the Loose”, to mention a few.

And with the rock reporter’s roving eye I managed to spot at least a couple of well-known local guitarists taking in the show. Larry Gillstrom of Kick Axe was there, as was Ray Roper of (you guessed it) the Ray Roper Band, and before that, Stonebolt.

Back at the Commodore, things were really starting to shake. The poor guys in the Mall Book Bazaar downstairs must have been fielding paperbacks left and right as they slipped off the vibrating shelves. And I thought Poisoned were loud!

Sporting a new haircut and an “Alternative Tentacles” T-shirt, Joey “Skinhead” Keithley stalked the stage, spitting out the band’s riotous, take-control lyrics between boisterous blasts from his cranked SG. Lead axeman Dave Gregg was leaping about like a raving loony and making faces usually reserved for the cover of Mad magazine. (The funniest face he made was when one irate fan bumped his microphone and sent it bonking into his right eye.)

Drummer Dimwit was wearing an American flag for a headband and a Che Guevara T-shirt, and with the help of bassist Brian Goble kept the group’s raucous sound intact.

The D.O.A. fans were as crazy as ever. It’s not good enough anymore for the slam-dancers to simply jump on stage and dive off head-first–now they’ve got to do somersaults and flips. I saw one guy attempt a triple-axle worthy of the Olympics.

D.O.A.’s encore lasted for four songs and included “War”, “Rich Bitch”, “Midnight Special”, and “Our World”, a tune from their brand new LP Let’s Wreck the Party.


Leave a Reply