Thursday, April 25, 2019

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Because we have been waiting for you for a decade

Shindig: Didn't Dig It

Nick Tan photos

Man what a disappointing week last week was. First some boring band won Shindig, and then Nicole won America’s Next Top Model. The boring white chick beat the equally boring black girls. But at least they were black. That’s essentially how Shindig finished up. It couldn’t have come more boring and straight forward than Romance. But if either of the other finalists had finished first, we’d be slightly appeased, but still complain about how this year’s Shindig was a big waste of time. Getting drunk on Tuesdays is fun, but the tournament needs to seriously re-evaluate what it’s striving towards. If it doesn’t, it will no longer attract interesting acts (it hardly does already) and will basically become a farm system for Virgin Wednesdays at The Buffalo Club.

This year there were so few applicants to the tournament that the organizers had to invite established local bands (who already had records released, and had said records reviewed on Pitchfork) to play. There’s no way this is due to a lack of new bands forming. It’s due to the well-deserved notion that if a band is trying something remotely unique, Shindig is a waste of their time. Originality was at an all time low, but at least Hot Loins, The Weather (both of which have Only contributors, so don’t try to call us on bullshit), Fun 100, and even Go Ghetto Tiger were sort of trying to stray from the shitty path of mediocrity that Shindig seems to favor.

Last year is a better example of unrewarded originality. Although there’s no reason to plug Dandi Wind ever again, she is the best example of why Shindig has been such a letdown, and at the same time why it is still worthwhile. Having hardly played a gig before last year’s tournament, Dandi packed the Railway for all three of her performances, and immediately spawned a buzz that made everyone pay attention. Yeah, she’s completely full of herself, but no one had heard of her before Shindig, and about three months after losing Shindig, she appeared on the covers of Discorder and The Nerve simultaneously. She lost to Vancougar, and honestly, what the fuck happened to them?

The tournament organizers need to re-evaluate how Shindig is appealing to bands, and how those bands are being judged. Instead of inviting pre-established acts to play, actively seek out experimental and less straightforward bands no one has ever heard of. We know for a fact that at least two of the organizers go to about twenty local shows a week. They know the new bands. Get them to play. If they’re not into it at first, stress how rad the first prize is. Any young band – no matter how too-cool – would love to score that recording time. For the judging process, there should be fewer judges, they should have diverse musical tastes, and they should have to come to a unanimous decision.

On the Only Shindig watch team, all three members had to agree on the same band for us to crown them that week’s winner. If one member disagreed, we would sit down and try to convince each other until we got too drunk and gave up. If there were only three or four judges on the actual panel, none of the judges could get drunk in the back and phone in their results, no judge could ever get away with playing favorites, and more thought might be put into a final decision. Shindig is a very important event for the local music scene. Next year, it would be nice if we felt like it actually mattered.

  1. marc

    guess what? music is totally subjective so one person’s version of boring is another person’s version of subtlety. on the other hand, one person’s version of experimental is another person’s version of gimmickery or trying too hard. the organizers can’t control who enters shindig – that’s the beauty of it – you don’t what you’re going to get and at the end of the contest you’ve discovered a new local band or 2 that tickles your fancy. it’s impossible to get judges to agree on the same band being the “best” because none of them are the “best” – it all depends on your own personal musical taste. i am proud to say that i judged on one of the nights that romance won and they are a fine, fine new band that writes amazing songs and has solid musicianship. but hey, that’s only my opinion. - Dec 21, 07:18 pm

  2. boo hoo.

    oh boo hoo. the poor citr radio & terminal city vancouver clique couldn’t control who won this year. boo hoo. oh, the travesty. - Dec 23, 01:20 am

  3. Catherine Wootermic

    indeed, very sorry your scenester friends didn’t win. drat. I bet everyone involved had some fun though and really dudes, that is what actually matters! - Dec 26, 06:27 pm

  4. fred penner

    my favorite part was when someone from channels 3&4 called dandi full of herself. that’s funny. - Dec 26, 06:47 pm

  5. kaw

    from what was seen from this years shindig was that people even tho they are “looking” for diverse and interesting acts, don’t like something strange and unfamiliar…
    which is a saying as tried and true as a indie pop/rock band…
    and thats what we want representing this snapshot of vancouver music at the CMW showcase right?
    a punk band with no guitars and a tuba and cello? its just tooo crazy…its understandable, the birthday party lost me when they got Foetus to play sax with them…

    long live originality - Dec 28, 08:22 am

  6. Louis

    Someone from the Doers telling me a band that contains members of Ladyhawk sucks is like someone from the Barenaked Ladies telling me the Tragically Hip sucks. - Jan 1, 04:07 am

  7. Ben Lai

    In response to the original article:
    – This year, like any other, we actively went out and encouraged as many bands as possible to enter Shindig. Anyone and anything from Peter Le Grand to Elias to ROCK’N. Between Chris, Luke and I we did a decent job covering all the bases (I think anyways). Quite a few bands were unavailable because of conflicting tours, jobs, school, etc. We are not pushy people and we can’t force people to submit.
    – Romance does exactly the type of music that many CiTR DJs (and other campus radio jocks) love to play on air. As are pretty much all of the rest of the bands in Shindig this year. This is a CiTR contest, and seeing Romance win Shindig (or any of those other bands for that matter) is not far fetched.
    – Dandi Wind finished second last year. She beat out 25 other acts and took home some excellent prizes, so I wouldn’t say her originality was unrewarded.
    – Taste in music is a subjective thing and you can’t get a real consensus by locking up a bunch of people in a room – usually the most intimidating person/group will just win out. I remember hearing Barry say that he wasn’t particularly happy with Only’s decision a couple of times but since he was outnumbered he just accepted it. - Jan 4, 09:47 pm

  8. sarah c

    we’re such assholes.
    but if there’s one thing we love it’s ben lai and chrisarriffic.
    that’s two things. and they’re people, not things. man, we’re such assholes.

    was that a haiku? - Jan 6, 02:22 am

  9. sean

    “Someone from the Doers telling me a band that contains members of Ladyhawk sucks is like someone from the Barenaked Ladies telling me the Tragically Hip sucks.”

    thanks louis, your comparison gave me a righteous giggle. that’s cuz after a long fight the rest of ladyhawk finally won me over to actually liking the tragically hip. i know, it’s scary… - Jan 18, 06:50 pm

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