A Hip Hop Head Goes To An Indie Concert. Boat Culture At The Handlebar. Concert Review.


I’ve been to hundreds of hip hop shows over the past few years in random venues all over the city. But since I’ve become a writer I have also gotten invited to many indie concerts. Before every indie show I always feel out of place heading to a concert that isn’t rap or hip hop related. I enjoy going to shows that are not hip hop it’s a breath of fresh air and introduces me to music I wouldn’t otherwise have heard before. My good friend Katt invited me to come check out the band she represents Boat Culture last Thursday at the Handlebar.boat culture ep

I had no idea where this bar was so I hop on google maps as I start my trek down town. After wandering through China Town and past Kensington market I finally find the Handlebar which is surrounded by small bars, cafes and random dance studios. I get there about 10 minutes early so I walk inside and grab a random beer. At that time there were a few people milling around the stage and a few others by the bar. I had no idea who else was playing on this rainy Thursday night. Sometimes going to a concert without knowing the lineup can be a great thing. It’s like a surprise party! People just pop up and make you happy instead of cake they play amazing music. The first band to command the small stage was Straight To Business. And well they got straight to business. Every band member was dressed in Jays gear except for the lead singer who wore the coolest leather jacket. Anyone supporting our home town teams are good in my books especially after we just lost two games. They started to rock the Handlebar with their uniquely energizing sound. After they left their hearts on the stage there was a brief break as the next band Germaphobes were getting ready to rock.

Once they started their smooth sound cut right through the night capturing the audience. I remember remaining captivated by their set not being able to get up until they finished playing their instruments. Once the Germaphobes hop off the stage I get a text from my good friend Katt. I find her at the bar with some friends and some of the band members of Boat Culture. While at the bar I meet Duncan and Paul both really cool guys. I grab a beer as Katt and I talk about how she got into promoting the band. We also start talking about the history of Boat Culture and how they usually play shows at the Smiling Buddha. The next band hails all the way from Tempe Arizona. I hear Arizona is nice, my mom went once. Just like their home state, Playboy Manbaby brought the heat with their rocking, aggressive and magical sound.
The lead singer has really power vocals as they might come of a little bit harsh at first. Playboy Manbaby’s sound is kinda like a surf rock thing with sharp vocals and lyrics about the state of our society. Their songs start out slower and ramp up to hit you right in the face. They put on an incredible performance as the lead singer never once stayed on the stage. He was in the middle of the crowd dancing through the audience as he didn’t once miss a beat or lyric. After their set I joined Katt and some of her friends at a table as we drank beers. She introduced me to one of her friends who was moving to England the next day to work. I hope she had a safe trip and I wish her nothing but luck! She was a super nice girl and I find out that she use to date the lead singer of Boat Culture.IMG_1834

Katt tells me she was the inspiration for one of the songs on their EP. It was finally the moment we were all waiting for, Boat Culture pick up their instruments as the crowd once again gathered. It was a crowd mixed of friends and strangers all bonding together over rock and roll. They have this really smooth sound that will take you back to those sunny summer days. You could tell they were having so much fun up their playing their hearts out. During the middle of their set they started to have technical issues. They had to stop for a few minutes as they tried to figure out what was going on. But like true professionals they kept pushing on as the lead singer and drummer started to play some more songs as they were getting the issues figured out with the other guitar. Honestly for me watching this it was incredible. They didn’t let this set back get to them; they did the true rock in roll thing and kept the show going. That’s what really stood out to me. Well that and their amazing performance.IMG_1847

Everyone was dancing and singing the lyrics back to them by the end of the night. Once they ended I said bye to Katt and ran my ass off trying to catch the last subway. For a hip hop head who isn’t use to indie shows, I will remember this one for a long time.

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