The kingpins of Victoria’s underground music scene showed up Saturday night at Logan’s Pub for the Hex Dispensers performance of occult-themed punk rock majika. Hailing from Austin, Texas the band’s four members Alex Cuervo, Alyse Mervosh, Rebecca Whitley and Drew Schmitz entertained a steady mosh pit of greasers and black-lipped faerie haired goths thrashing against the balding and the bearded while spiked rhinestones glinting off shoulder blades oozed an atmosphere of scum.
Ty Stranglehold put on the show with notable attendees including Willy Jak of Dayglo Abortions who drank at the bar. Lovable Andy Anderson from Cavity Curiosity Shop could be seen whipping his alcohol soaked, warlord mane at the frontlines. Meanwhile fans covered the Mutated Earthlings with flying streamers of toilet paper: a compliment to musicians I’m unfamiliar with.
Several members of the Jaks Gang ringed the outskirts of the crowd. Serial jean jackets sported patches of pentagrams and Goats of Mendes. Ironed-on bumper stickers sloganed their backs with Boom Squad, Rebelles, Cobra Skulls, A.W.T. and Absolute Music. The eclectic Victoria punk scene proving to be healthier than ever.
From the moment the Hex Dispensers slayed a seductive sound check I could tell they had a commitment to artistry and a refined group dynamic. They played a tight set with vigorous songs from their EP Parallel and their last album with Douchemaster Records titled Winchester Mystery House. Moshers climbed on each other’s backs, creating two-tiered superhuman presence when the Hex Dispensers treated fans to classics from their first self-titled album. Cult followers raged and escalated to full on crowd surfing when the band played new songs from their upcoming LP to be released this year.
Vocalist and guitarist Alex Cuervo showed modesty and control over his performing range during the set. Drummer Alyse Mervosh may look timid with her porcelain thin arms but she kept the group energized in their fast tempo, high energy shredding with just below ear-popping levels of musical penetration. Ethereal magenta haloed around lead guitarist Rebecca Whitley’s fiery hair curling more as she sweated through the show. She played in a melodic trance, often staring into the disco ball on the ceiling. It was her first time in Canada. The bassist Drew Schmitz paid close attention to his fingering and I wonder if he noticed that someone in the crowd crafted a tinfoil antennae hat.
While the Hex Dispensers offered their sonic take on pop punk complexities, an amazing surprise happened when I spotted my literary crush Yasuko Thanh in the crowd. Totally holding her own near the stage debauchery, thankfully escaping Andy who was mummifying people’s faces with tissue rolls that kept emerging from the bathroom stalls.
I bumped into Yasuko Thanh outside the show. Turns out she had just been playing a gig with Jukebox Jezebel that night at Wheelies Motorcycles and still dropped by Logan’s to see her comrades play. I must’ve looked like a total writing groupie during our meeting but she’s such a brilliant author whose stories are like gold to me! Loved her Saturday night style in a knee-length plush pink overcoat with a slick high ponytail and severe black bangs that made me fangirl over how I was really talking to this woman I’d gotten to know through her Journey Prize winning book Floating Like The Dead. She gave me her card and invited me to see her play with 12 Gauge Facial at Wheelies on March 21st XOXO Yasuko LuvU4Ever.
Overall I had a great time because of the Hex Dispensers dedication to putting on a bewitching spectacle and all the rowdy musicians and artists who came out to support each other. The show ended around 1:30 AM and I lamented the night along with all the cherry blossom debris littering Victoria’s sidewalks in blushing confetti.