The Smugglers "Mutiny In Stereo" Record Release Melee

w/ Supersnazz, the Riff Randells, the Human Hi-Lite ReelFri March 12, the Brickyard, Vancouver BC

We usually don’t write up local shows unless they’re of some magnitude or a really special event, but so much weird bullshit happened at this one that we thought it was definitely worth plunking it out on the ol’ Vic 20.

With our new record having come out on Tuesday March 9, this was in a little quick to be doing a record release party (usually we like to wait a month or two to give people a chance to see it, hear it, buy it whatever) but when we heard that our dear Japanese friends Supersnazz would be in town on March 12, we took the chance to make it happen and get a show together at one of the only mid-sized venue in town, the Brickyard.

For those who haven’t had the distinct pleasure of spending any time at the Brickyard, let us describe this palace succinctly: it’s advertised as being "in Gastown" where as really it’s a block out of Gastown, smack dab in the middle of bustling skid row. The inside of the club resembles a sort of dilapidated version of "Cheers", with a massive, circular bar in the very centre of the room. The saving grace of the place is its promoter, Fireball Steve, who does his best to legitimize this dump at all costs.

The Brickyard is also one of these bars that opens up early in the day and serves human scourge cheap alcohol until it’s time to charge a cover for the university kids who come to see a rock show. That means that the bands are basically loading in and sound checking to a bunch of seriously soused derelicts. Fun times!

Dave actually likes this neighbourhood. He says "I’m really good looking in that part of town. I feel like a star. I was once mistaken for Donnie Osmond on that block".

As Supersnazz waited to try out our equipment, one regular, a massive, obese, barefoot amputee in a broken down wheel chair cornered the Snazz and spat out a string of tourettes-like verbal violence towards a bewildered Shoe, drummer of Supersnazz who speaks very little English.

I (Grant) immediately came over and said "hey, this guy doesn’t speak any English so there’s no point talking to him".

"F-f-f-fuck that! This motherfucker understands every goddamn motherfuckin’ word I say, don’t you?"

"No he DOESN’T. I’m telling you he doesn’t understand what you’re saying!"

"F-f-f-fuck you! He fucking knows what I’m saying! You fucking understand me, don’t you?"

Shoe returned his venomous questioning with a completely confused, somewhat frightened stare.

"See? He doesn’t speak English so leave him alone! Make like Christopher Reeves and wheel the fuck away from these people".

Amazingly, that did the trick.

A couple hours later the show began without any further interference from the locals, with the Human Hi-Lite Reel playing an intriguing set and the Riff Randells thoroughly rockin’ the joint.

Supersnazz came on next and played an excellent show – a mix of great old songs and scorching new ones, but it was during their show that further trouble started in the audience. Nardwuar the Human Serviette is the Smugglers’ First Fan, the person who gave us our name, our first gig, and put out our first record. Amazingly he still comes to see us play and tonight was no different. As most Canadians know, Nard is now a MuchMusic TV star, doing tonnes of great interview with celebrities. And while this usually causes Nard to be noticed by many, many nice, supportive people, some assholes, especially in Vancouver for some reason, occasionally try to get the best of him.

On this night, our usually nice and friendly crowd was weird… edgy. A couple of our friends were on the way in when they overheard a herd of odd-ball, extremely short punk men standing by the front door saying "Nardwuar’s in there! We should get him! Get him real good!"

Sure enough, while Nardwuar was standing minding his own business watching Supersnazz, a bizarre dwarf-like creature with a tightly cropped Mohawk approached Nardwuar and started barking bullshit in his ear. Nardwuar, sensing something was seriously wrong with this individual, ignored him. Then the little fella stepped directly in front of Nard, got as close to Nard’s face as his diminished stature would allow, and stuck his stubby middle finger into Nardwuar’s face (but made no actual contact). With that, the midget turned quickly and went to rejoined his drunken buddies, ALSO all pint-sized, back at the bar.

This being a Smugglers show, we had friends all over the place. Randy from Mint was also at the bar and overheard the main little man say to his munchkin buddies "I just punched Nardwuar!" when in fact he did nothing of the sort. "Right on!"

Randy wasted no time hurrying back to Nard to see if he was alright and if indeed he had been punched. When Nard heard about the boasting, he felt he might as well leave in case real violence occurred. As he was making for the door, the main midget again stormed towards Nardwuar, but was this time was blocked by Randy, an ex-private school rugby player. All the while this was going on, two eagle-eyed Smugglers, Beez and Nick, were keeping an eye on the situation. When the midget ran into Randy, he dropped his full pint glass with a smash. That was Beez’ queue to move in as the other midgets started to swarm. Beez grabbed the diminutive ring leader and suddenly the guy turned meek as a lamb. But Beez knew something was up. The kid’s pupils were so large the whites of his eyes had disappeared. Beez declared sternly "I am Beez! Do not mess around with me! Surely you’ve heard the song? You gotta go, pal, you can’t fuck with our friends". And the guy replied quietly "do I really have to go now?" Just then Nick arrived with the promoter, Fireball Steve, and with one smooth move, Steve tossed every last dwarf out onto the street for good. In the confusion, Randy managed to whisk Nardwuar out the door and into an idling minivan, driven by Randy’s sister and Spoonbender Robynn!!!

As the Smugglers were preparing to set up and play our show, I went in to the Brickyard "bathroom" for a pre-gig piss, only to find Supersnazz drummer Shoe cornered against a urinal, being hassled AGAIN by some other drunken prick.

"Whassamatter with you? Why don’t you talk? ANSWER MY FUCKING QUESTION DUDE!"

"Hey! He does NOT speak English! He is a guest in this country, please treat him as one".

"What the FUCK is amatter with him? Why don’t he talk?"

"HE DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH YOU MORON, he is from a FOREIGN COUNTRY called JAPAN, so leave him alone!!"

And with that I pulled up Shoe’s pants and ushered him out of the can and into the relative peace of the dressing room.

Our show went fairly swimmingly, besides the fact that I was personally loose as a goose with any lyrics prior to 2000, but whatever, it had already been a tough night. Slamming in the pit erupted, which is usually ok, we don’t care, unless it suddenly creates a massive hole on the dance floor, occupied by like, three guys shoving each other back and forth. That’s so incredibly lame. What’s worse is the people who partake in this usually don’t realize how lame it is. Girls don’t like to get shoved violently from behind while trying to dance to a band. I had to explain the concept of the "equal opportunity dance floor" from the stage to a guy who looked like Jesus and danced like Jet Li. He seemingly wasn’t too impressed, unless "fuck you you fucking fuck" is a compliment.

Nonetheless we pulled off the dance contest and awarded a trophy to a feisty cougar named "Sue-Mama", who came complete with the prerequisite puma-accessories: a bitch bag and fuck-me boots. She seemed happy enough.

Once the show had wrapped up, the dust and confetti settled and beach balls all deflated or popped, we thought the action was pretty much over. But oh no! As we attempted to load out our gear into the mayhem of the street at 2:30AM, who was out there pissed drunk and pissed off but our obese barefoot amputee in the wheelchair.

"ssssshey you fugggin’ punkssssss, you fuggggggin c’meeeeere and gimmmeee some money!"

"Sorry, no change, sorry".

"Chhhhhange? Fuck you! Gimme some money!"

Out of nowhere a lanky, skittish kid in a disgusting track suit came out of the alley and said "I’ll show you what to do when this asshole is grumpy" and with that he grabbed the handles of the wheelchair and proceeded to DUMP THE AMPUTEE OUT OF THE WHEELCHAIR, forcing him to fall flat on his face onto the wet sidewalk.

"AHHHHHHH!!!! You fuggggin motherfucker!"

And then, imagine our surprise when the massive son of a bitch reared up like a drunken grizzly, got to his swollen feet, and started staggering around!!

It’s a skid row miracle!!

We waited about two minutes to see if angels would start singing or if the heavens would part to shine a light upon this leech, but alas, as he started stumbling towards us from one side and a disgruntled-looking Honduran gang approached from the other, we decided our night was done.

Key. Door. Ignition. All lock. Gas pedal. Screech. Home.

To all those who came to this show: thank you, you don’t know how much we appreciate it.