Spanning the punk spectrum 

Vancouver's Fashionism and Chain Whip play Garf's Punk Night on Feb. 3

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - fashion forward Fashionism is playing at Garfinkel's on Sunday, Feb. 3.
  • PHOTO submitted
  • fashion forward Fashionism is playing at Garfinkel's on Sunday, Feb. 3.

If you want to see just how far punk music's family tree stretches, look no further than Josh Nickel.

The Vancouver musician currently plays guitar in the glam-punk band Fashionism and holds down vocal duties in the hardcore punk act Chain Whip.

"I don't expect anyone to like both, but I do," he says. "It's different than what it was a long time ago. A long time ago, both those bands wouldn't have associated with each other. I'd rather it be a whole community. I want to like what I want to like and do what I want to do."

It also helps that members of both bands have long, storied histories in Vancouver's music scene. Fashionism, for one, started with "idiot record collectors" wanting to do something new—primarily glam-rock. "It didn't turn out that way," Nickel says. "We ended up playing power-pop stuff based on '70s music from the U.K."

The result is upbeat, highly danceable and fun. "Fashionism sometimes has a really good response (live)," Nickel says. "People have fun—(the dancing) depends on how drunk they are."

Chain Whip, likewise, has its origins rooted in the pursuit of a good time. "I did a Halloween cover band with friends and it ended up being most of what Chain Whip is," Nickel says. "We wanted to do American hardcore. That (show) went really well and we had a lot of fun doing it. All of a sudden, we had a record come out—all within six or seven months. I, all of a sudden, had two bands."

Fashionism "ends up taking precedent sometimes," he adds. "We did Europe last year and had two records come out."

On that tour, the group took the road less travelled, performing in places like Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. "I had never been that far out into Eastern Europe. It was really fun. I'm glad we did because a lot of bands don't end up going that way."

For 2019, he's hoping to return with both groups. "It makes it tricky, but my life is set up to do whatever I want at the drop of a hat, just because of the jobs I decided to do," he adds. "I'm wide open by design like that."

Nickel's two bands are playing a little closer to home when Fashionism and Chain Whip hit the stage at Garfinkel's for the venue's second monthly punk night of the year on Feb. 3.

They've played the same bill once or twice but "I try not to because it's annoying," he says with a laugh. "They sound a lot different from one another and I have different roles in the bands ... I have a feeling I'll blow my voice out in Chain Whip, so I probably shouldn't do it first."

Nickel hasn't been to Whistler "in a long time," but one pull was the man putting on the event—Scott Arkwell (a.k.a. Vinyl Ritchie).

"I was stoked when Scott wanted to get us up. I love Scott. I was really excited to come up, mostly because I like hanging out with him," he laughs. "I'm sure it'll be a fun show."

Check out Fashionism and Chain Whip as part of Garf's monthly Punk Night on Sunday, Feb. 3. The show is free and starts at 9 p.m.

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