What: Punk Night
When: Sunday, Nov. 25
Carpenter doesn’t have many sound technicians who they could call friends, but they have a lot of friends listening to them.
“We are definitely one of the loudest bands in Vancouver; sound techs say it all the time,” said frontman Daniel Sioui. “We are the loudest band in the West, they say. We take a lot of pride in that. That being said, we haven’t made a ton of friends of technicians.”
Carpenter will make even fewer tech friends for the Punk Night Winter Season kick off concert on Sunday, Nov. 25 at Garfinkel’s. Along with music from Carpenter, Bionic and Trigger Effect, the special evening includes a slide show of Punk Night Caught on Film. Photographers Josh Wilkie, who is currently showing his images at Moguls, and Greg Norge Norgaard, a local bartender and Punk Night enthusiast, will share their images of Punk Night taken over the last four years, including photos of Punk Night’s original stomping ground, The Boot Pub.
“Punk Night is just getting bigger and bigger,” said organizer Lindsay Shedden. “We are booked almost all the way to March. I can’t even make room for touring bands because we are so full up.”
Carpenter has been filling up many of those nights. The Vancouver band played consistently every few months for the last two years in Whistler. The punk troupe that swears they are rock now call their Whistler shows parties with friends.
“We really developed a decent following in Whistler,” Sioui said. “Our music is quite positive. It’s very loud and raw, but not angry. It’s not the sort of music that makes people feel alienated. It’s the kind of music that brings people together.”
Catchy lines that can have a complete newbie singing along in the front row by the end of the show help bring people together, as does Carpenter’s unusual mix of country and rock. Sioui swears he sounds like John Cougar Mellencamp, even if fans say otherwise.
“I am convinced I sound like John Cougar Mellencamp,” he said. “But a lot of people say I sound nothing like him. I guess we can’t shake our past. We have a certain amount of intensity about us.”
Shaking his past was what the creation of Carpenter was all about. After Sioui’s former band All State Champions broke up, he made a point of doing the exact opposite of what he did with his past band.
“I stayed away from the dissonant and angular sounds of the last band,” he said. “It was not uncommon not to have parts repeated. I wanted to do this the totally opposite way. The band’s name was gregarious and pompous, so this band had to be one word. I wanted it simple and blue collar and really about getting back to the basics.”
Sioui didn’t know how basic that was. Growing frustrated with city life, Sioui decided he would become a farmer. He began researching agriculture in Langley and Chilliwack and he discovered a profession that was even less appreciated than the one he was trying to leave behind.
So instead of picking up a rake, he picked up a pen and went where no other punk band has ever gone before, into the politics of farming.
“It’s about the plight of the little farmer and the massive machine of modern-day agriculture,” he said. “I had never heard these songs from the punk rock community before.”
Carpenter released two EPs, called First Town and Country Mile, winning over a devout following in Vancouver, which grew like wheat in the springtime with farm boys and gals in mid-Canada signing on.
“We get e-mails from farmers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, saying, ‘When are you guys coming here. We love your music,’” Sioui said.
Their music has played in everything from bars and pubs to agricultural fairs.
Carpenter is now trying to harvest an even broader listening base with a new album in the spring, followed by U.S. and cross-Canada tours.
“There is a lot more country element to it, but it still retained that punk esthetic” Sioui said of the new, not-yet-titled album. “The whole album is really a story of one man who takes his farm and sees it as his entire life and the prospect of losing that is too much for him. He does whatever he has to to make sure it stays in his family. Eventually he has to leave in the end. He’s committed this crime, so he is on the run.”
Punk Night fans can expect a few of the new album’s tracks at the Whistler show.
“We are bringing good time rock ’n’ roll with a message back because I think that is something that has been missing over the last few decades,” Sioui said.