August 2023 Free Punk/Metal Fest in Centennial Square, Victoria BC

Well, if you missed it, here’s the coverage.

Kudos go to Andy Anderson for organizing such a perfect little fest.  First one of his I’ve been to and I don’t suppose it’ll be the last.  (On the flyer it notes the 11th year anniversary of his store cavity; the cofounder was a college buddy of mine and if anyone wants to send in gossip about that person, the inbox is open.)

Now, as always these days, local live music events are easiest to find on facebook.  That’s just how it is, you have to have a facebook to keep track of, and hear first about, certain shows, fairs, etc.  Imagine my delight when a local band I follow, Tribunal, posted a while back about playing a free show in August.  (I have their vinyl that’s hard to find now, The Weight of Remembrance, so fucking dank ?)

I’ve never heard the other bands but when I saw Andy was putting the whole thing together I knew it was in good hands and made a point of it on my calendar without looking into any of them more deeply at all.

Peep the Tribunal soundcheck:

So, White Collar played first and the singer reminds me a bit of Claire from Anti-Vibes, who I used to live with 10 years ago. Perennial sound.  The singer from Crosshairs is in this band too on bass so there’s a masterful swag to this journeyman band:


Pretty tasteful to have one of these vaguely riotgrrl-adjacent hardcore bands on the roster, imo, tho it can be hard to find one that isn’t like, a bunch of terfs or lowkey racist or whatever.  I’m guessing White Collar is chill.

Damn, these guys were heavy, really worked up the crowd.  Total 180 from the openers, we love a little whiplash.

Next it was the guys who REALLY blew me away:

(For some reason I thought it was cute to shoot the whole crowd with the stage/pit action at the far edge of it, for this one)

Honestly the next dudes, Scalding, also laid waste, you can see the singer from Dispösal in the pit:

(Did that thing again where for some reason the foreground action seemed interesting ??).

I feel like their name was well-chosen, Scalding.  These vocals shred like my ears are all meltmelt.

Now we’ve gotten to what were essentially the punk headliners, if Tribunal are the metal headliners: Distorted Influence.  They noted to us that between the five members there’s 250 years in age on stage in this band.  And y’know what? They do more jumpkicks than any band I’ve ever seen.  Lots of more classic metal numbers (not exactly Cannibal Corpse), some stuff skewing faintly pop-punk.  I wasn’t losing my mind over the tuneskis but some kids in the crowd knew all the old lyrics so like, I guess this reunion is a big deal.  Really wholesome Tony Hawk Dad type vibes here:

(They really go off here)

Watch the crowd headbanging at the beginning!

This is such a good video to close with, watch til the end when they’re gram’n…this is the most enthusiasm I’ve seen a band show to be on stage with an audience in like a million years ?

Walking away, thinking about what an ideal venue this place is.  The ambiance, the aesthetic, the accessibility, the accoustics.  I’d really recommend stopping by any free show put on in the city square, local square, whatever.  This is what the facebook local events search is for, if you’re not also following venues/groups for your genre interests.  Victoria’s got a great space for an event exactly this size and exactly this well organized.  Like I said, I’d go to just about anything held here.  Like, bundle up though, it gets cold once there’s full shade, I was dying in just a light jacket/with no beer jacket by this point after chasing the sun around from side to side ?


Anyway it sucks I missed Tribunal, next time though.


Andy Anderson is the MVP for the island’s music scene, no doubt.  Go buy everything at his store.


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One response to “August 2023 Free Punk/Metal Fest in Centennial Square, Victoria BC”

  1. Dirk Funk Avatar
    Dirk Funk

    Hey there, I just happened to stumble across your blog, I play bass in Disposal and am stoked you enjoyed our set! I saw you mention that Facebook is the easiest way to find live music events, wanted to mention that just in case you don’t know you should follow @gigtoria on Instagram, it’s the most comprehensive place for info on underground punk/metal adjacent shows in town, I know some promoters don’t even really use Facebook anymore. Thank you for documenting this stuff!

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