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Casting a spell

East Vancouver’s The Rebel Spell returns to Whistler with Cambridge, Fraser

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Who: The Rebel Spell, with Cambridge, Fraser

When: Friday, Jan. 9, 9:30 p.m.

Where: Garfinkel’s

Admission: $8

Ah, a throwback to Punk Night.

Rejoice, lovers of this genre — this Friday, you can get your punk fill with a performance by Cambridge, Fraser, and, of course, The Rebel Spell, which features Todd Serious on vocals, Erin on guitar, Chris on bass and Stepha on drums. This quartet has been making music together for just over five years, bringing their old school-style ’80s street punk sound to the streets of East Van and beyond.

This is punk, true to form: angry and subversive, and unapologetically anarchist. None of that glazed-over, mainstream pop-punk sound here, thank you very much. Instead, their punk helps articulate their message through an energetic form.

“I was a little kid in the ’80s, and even now, I didn’t know what street punk was until people started saying that’s what we sounded like,” Serious admitted. “…I have two genres: good and bad, and I try not to draw any more lines than that. Most good bands really transcend genre, anyways.”

Their name is also remarkably similar to the popular counter-culture book, The Rebel Sell , by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter, though Serious said he actually hasn’t gotten around to reading it yet.

“I’m pretty sure that we came out first,” he said with a laugh, adding that their name actually comes from an old song by Mano Negra.

Chris, Stepha and Serious had all known one another for years. But as soon as Serious made the move to Vancouver, he put the wheels in motion to start a band.

“Chris was my roommate at the time and he kept asking me to play bass, and I kept telling him no,” he recalled. While Chris had played in bands before, he didn’t exactly have the best track record with follow-through. “I couldn’t find anybody else, so finally, I let him.”

Serious was well aware of how much time and effort artists need to invest to make a band a success, and he didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks. But somehow, they managed to find a group of four like-minded musicians who have managed to make it work for almost five years.

After listening to some of The Rebel Spell’s lyrics, which are by and large written by Serious, it’s really not much of a surprise to hear that he is strongly influenced “by more things that bother me.”

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