CJSF has been around as long as SFU, but they just celebrated their 11th anniversary being at 90.1 on the FM dial on September 26 at the Astoria Pub. A promising night of indie music and the chance to support SFU’s very own radio team — how could I resist? It beat watching Gossip Girl reruns on a Friday night.
I brought a friend to the party with me, and she was a little spooked by the venue’s neighbourhood. The Astoria Pub proudly advertises its name in great big neon lights hanging grandly off the front of the building, illuminating the entrance in an eerie red glow. A couple of partygoers were huddled around the entrance, smoking and chatting.
We left the cold, litter-ridden East Hastings and were swallowed up by the dim, seedy-looking bar, where we were greeted enthusiastically by members of the CJSF team. They certainly seemed excited to be there. Even though my friend and I had gotten there about an hour and a half after the official start time, the pub was still pretty dead. Apparently, fashionably late was the style everyone was going for.
Immediately, I was smitten with the ambience. The shabbiness of it all, and the fact that it felt like there was a layer of grime over every surface, only enhanced the character of the place. The walls were lined with pac man and pinball machines, reminding me of the good ol’ pee-scented Movieland Arcade over on Granville, which tugged at my heartstrings.
Pockets of people were milling around, some at the bar ordering drinks; others by the pool table, taking half-hearted shots and laughing with friends; and some were chatting quietly at tables or hanging around the raffles prize table.
The party featured six local bands. Defektors, Skinny Kids, Soft Serve, Sleuth, Thee Ahs and Hermetic all have a solid presence in the Vancouver indie music scene and CJSF supports them by regularly playing their songs on its programs. I’d neither heard of them nor heard them before that night, but from the sound of it, this group of bands has quite the following.
The bands performed with heart, but some of them were so loud I could barely hear myself think, let alone hear what the guy asking me to buy raffle tickets was saying. Don’t get me wrong, I like alternative rock and heavy metal as much as the next guy, but some of the music being performed was meant for a loud crowd, people screaming in a mosh pit, with energy radiating right back to the passionate performers. The crowd that night was just a different kind of crowd, more introspective and quiet. In the end, it was great exposure to some of the bands Vancouver has to offer.
The party was a celebration of CJSF’s successful first 11 years on the FM dial, and also a thank you to the dedicated employees and volunteers who put music and programs on the air, without whom CJSF’s success would not be possible.