Trumpet-blasting Painters & Dockers make like the Pogues on speed in Vancouver

kevin statham photo

By Steve Newton

If you ever thought the trumpet was somewhat of a nerdy high-school instrument–right up there with the clarinet–then you should have been at the Town Pump last Thursday (November 30). Australia’s Painters & Dockers features two trumpet players–“the Brassholes”–who use their horns as ear-bustin’, shrill-to-kill weapons of war.

The blaring trumpet took a little getting used to for one weaned on the trusty guitar/bass/drums combo, but few people in the crowd seemed to mind–and neither did the 950 Painters & Dockers fans who packed the club for two nights just over a month ago.

With virtually no commercial airplay in Vancouver–since songs like ‘Die Yuppie Die” and “Safe Sex” are far from radio fodder–this city’s adventurous club-goers have embraced the band with open arms.

And the feeling seemed mutual on Thursday, as the six-piece P&Ds played their guts out on anti-politician tunes like “Eat Shit Die” (which won’t be a hit at Fantasy Gardens), and tracks that take a decidedly saucy tack, such as “Nude School” and “Your Turn On Top Tonight Dear”.

Like all the other Aussie bands that have cruised though the Pump this year–V. Spy V. Spy, Noiseworks, and Weddings, Parties, Anything–Painters & Dockers have the informal tightness and built-in crowd-winning skills that make for a great time.

And though sarcasm, fun, and frolicking are the mainstays of their performance, they’re not above tackling issues like the jail deaths of Australian Aborigines (“Swing Jackie Swing”).

With a Midnight Oil-type conscience and a sound like the Pogues on speed, Painters & Dockers were a refreshing reminder of the enlightening power of loud music.


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