Strung Out, Handguns, Such Gold, Pyramid Cabaret:
Pyramid Cabaret, Manitoba, Canada
25th July 2012

Old school punk rock / metal band Strung Out are a band who love to tour & spend a lot of their time on the road. Currently on tour they’re reprising two of their most well known albums & our man Chris Hearn managed to catch them on their Manitoba date.

Strung Out’s 2012 Summer Tour hit Winnipeg’s Pyramid Cabaret on July 25th. The whole thing was about two albums; 1996’s “Teenage Wasteland Blues” and 1998’s “Twisted by Design” played in their entirety, a concept that seems to be the latest trend for bands that have been around for a long time.

In this case, Strung Out has been together since 1989. That makes this year their 24th! Man does that make me feel old, as did being at this show. And, it was clear that I was not the only one in this category. This was a crowd that, like me, was between 35 and 40, and many of them didn’t seem to realize that they were no longer 17, or realize that they had gained twenty or forty pounds over the years as they dove into the crowd, all of whom strained to keep them up. To be fair, much of the crowd was at the back of the bar drinking, or at the back of the dance floor standing around with a beer in their hand, clearly no longer limber enough to dive into the pit. It was the exact same crowd that would have been at a Strung Out show 20 years ago”¦.just 20 years older. Of course, Strung Out shirts from a variety of past tours were on display being worn by people, often faded, stained, too short or too tight, but proudly adorned none the less.

This was a night of pure nostalgia, fist pumping, stage-diving, heavy sweating, moshing with friends new and old and singing at the top of their lungs! The band itself looks remarkably good, though tattoos have faded, bellies have protruded, hair has receded and they don’t jump near as high as they once did. The energy and stamina was still there to put on a great show, however, and a great show is what the crowd got. The vocal harmony that, to me, really helps to define Strung Out’s sound was bang on. They hit every mark, getting the albums perfect and getting the crowd excited. They were into it, the crowd was into it, everything came together to create a perfect 90’s punk show in 2012! This is what makes a band last for 24 years.

Being Winnipeg, I never know when a show is going to start. Usually they start late. This one started earlier. Who knew? I missed a local opening band that remains unknown to me, and Such Gold who have been on the tour with Strung Out. I did get there in time to see Handguns. I was not overly impressed, nor was the rest of the crowd, minus a few enthusiastic souls that gathered by the stage. The band looked tired, bored, hot, disappointed at the lack of interest towards them and as though they just did not want to be there. I felt bad for them, but at the same time, they weren’t a great band; standard, cookie cutter punk with nothing overly interesting to offer, aesthetically boring and unremarkable in every way.

But good to see that Strung Out can still put on a killer show that keeps you elated for long after the final note is strummed. Now, because I am old, I have to admit that I wasn’t able to stay to the very end. I had to give into my age and say goodnight early. But, I loved every second of what I did see and am glad to have been part of it all.

Strung Out
Handguns
Such Gold
Pyramid Cabaret

All words by Chris Hearn. More articles by Chris can be found here.

1 COMMENT

  1. Interesting article, Chris. It made me wonder what part “nostalgia” means to one, when going to see a live show. Like at what point does a band realize they’re never going to be the Rolling Stones, but they just keep at it, because they love to do it? Also, why do I feel the same way they do, when I should probably know better. Conversely, you also express the “punk mentality” of the do-it-yourself music that has gone from subversive to almost standard. How long that has been the case, is a matter of opinion. I for one can’t specifically determine when punk went from underground to mainstream — it might have even been when the first bands that were classified as “PUNK” were recorded, but isn’t that the purpose of being a musician? — to be heard, and appreciated? I know myself — as a writer — I want my work to be read. Whether received well or not, as long as it’s read means a great deal to me. I feel the same goes for musicians. To express yourself in your own way, making people notice not only you as another human being, but one with something to say … no matter how many times you’ve said it. Over and over again — such is the bitch of rock and roll — it’s always the same three chords.

    Then again, I have only one style of poetry, so here’s to the boys — and their 24 years — Cheers!

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