The Age of Electric @ Commodore Ballroom – March 24th 2017

Kicking off a three-week tour across Canada, The Age of Electric returned to the Commodore Ballroom about a year after their last gig there. They were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their last and perhaps most popular album, 1997’s Make A Pest A Pet. The songs from this record were part of the rich and varied  and ultra-productive Canadian rock n roll explosion through the mid to late ’90s, and they have an enduring appeal. For this tour, the band released the album on double vinyl, and also had the Pretty EP up for grabs – an EP of new tracks as a companion to the Ugly EP that they released in 1994.

Cobra Ramone - Commodore - Vancouver - March 24, 2017

Cobra Ramone played before AOE, with Ramone herself popping out onto the stage a few minutes before their set to quickly set up a selection of pedals. The vibe in the room was pretty cushy, with lots of all the bands’ friends in the room and calling out to them and Cobra Ramone was no exception. The three members of the band were set up vastly across a narrow band of the stage, a point Ramone touched on as she stated that their rehearsal space and most stages they play on are so much smaller, that it felt weird to have her drummer Pat Steward and keyboardist Trevor Snakedust sitting so far away from her. The petite Ramone is a vocal and guitar powerhouse, wailing out her heartfelt rock songs to a fine reception, and ending the show by singing into her guitar strings to amplify her voice. It definitely buttered us up for the forthcoming set by AOE.

The Age of Electric - Commodore - Vancouver - March 24, 2017

AOE’s set consisted of a range of tunes, as would be expected. They played a few of the new songs, which make it feel like there haven’t been indeed 20 years between now and the last songs they wrote and recorded. Style is on point! Seeing as the show was in celebration of Make A Pest A Pet, they leaned heavily on material from that album, but dug further back in their repertoire as well. Lead singer Todd Kerns is also the affable banter man, chuckling loudly to himself on stage as he relayed stories of the band’s past and present and just chatting with his bandmates throughout. There was some mention of drummer Kurt Dahle’s keener attitude coming on board after spending months in Antarctica. And an introduction of bass player and Todd’s brother John Kerns hailing from Lynn Lake, Manitoba led into a humourous musing about who else could possibly be from Lynn Lake? Well, Canadian music icon Tom Cochrane of course! Immediately they spontaneously launched into “Lunatic Fringe,” a classic Tom Cochrane and Red Rider tune. Guitarist Ryan Dahle intoned not to test Todd because he knows how to play every Canadian song ever. Cue random medley of Canadian rock n roll songs, including Harlequin and BTO. They seemed to be having a lot of fun with one another on stage, cracking jokes, making faces, and hamming it up for the Prestige Guitars photographer (Todd has a couple of signature guitars produced by the company) who was shooting from hidden locations behind various bits of stage gear. We were all later invited to get on their bus and tour with them across Canada, the room was praised of course, and a couple of brief encores were completed before the night was done. Great times and here’s hoping they have a brilliant tour!

The Age of Electric © Andy Scheffler

Cobra Ramone © Andy Scheffler

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