By: Natasha Tar, Peak Associate
RED. That’s what I first saw when I entered Rickshaw Theatre at 10:20 p.m. The walls are completely red, and so is basically everything else.
Thankfully, the next thing I saw was the bar, which is situated comfortably in the lobby. The venue hosts a chalkboard of upcoming shows along with a variety of posters such as The Kung-Fu Massacre (“Wholesale murder by a one-man kung-fu army”).
The Rickshaw also has a balcony (which seemed closed during this show) as well as lots of theatre-like seating, a high ceiling, and a sizeable dance floor. The floor is slanted and reflects the hundreds of beers that have been spilled on it over the years. The seats are cushioned, but you’re going to want to stand up as the night goes on if you actually want to see the performers. There were also anti-smoking ads being projected on the screen the whole night, which felt like a waste of projector use.
My general view of the place was well-kept but grungy. However, I did feel comfortable and warm inside throughout the show.
The 95 B-Line to SFU stops right outside the venue, making it easy to reach. Patrons in wheelchairs will find it easy to enter the venue and get into the back row of seats. However, the dance floor in front of the stage, the other seats, and the washrooms are only accessible by stairs.
There are no gender-neutral washrooms, but the ones available are relatively clean and remind me of the washrooms in Bon’s Off Broadway (see: great graffiti).
Bar service: B+
Take note that the bar here is cash only. All the prices and drinks are neatly listed in front of the bar. I started with a peach-flavoured Hey Y’all to be extra, and also because I’ve never tried one before. It tasted like peach water, which is not what I was looking for, but I’m sure someone out there would like them. My friend and I also shared a Lone Tree apple cider, whose alcohol content matched the price better.
Bamboo Star from Hong Kong started the night off. At first I found their use of a megaphone cringey, but as I continued to listen, their hard rock grew on me. Frontman Wilfred Chung (Wolf Red) has some of the most beautiful hair you’ll ever encounter. Chung explaining the band’s music video “It’s Just Business” provided one of the night’s best quotes: “It’s all about cartoon butts finding cartoon dicks.” After the show, he gave out free pins and stickers.
Following them were Vancouver’s The Matchstick Skeletons. I didn’t realize until after the show that two of the members are also from the Vancouver band Head of the Herd. When the band first came on stage, I could’ve sworn in the low light that they all looked exactly alike. The same could be said for their songs. All the tunes blended into each other for me, resulting in a high-energy set of which I couldn’t make out a single lyric or defining melody. However, they seemed exciting and the audience loved them, so maybe I was just becoming deaf because of the venue’s insanely loud speakers.
Before Hotel Mira came on, I stood outside to help the buzzing subside from my ears. If you’re someone with sensitive hearing, I highly recommend earplugs. Mira, an alt-rock band also from Vancouver, did incredible as always, and frontman Charlie Kerr is such an experience to see live. They played a mix of old and new songs, but had to wrap up by 1 a.m., making their set feel a bit rushed.
The show was pretty much worth the almost-$25 ticket price. The acts were talented and diverse, but the venue was so loud I couldn’t appreciate the music fully. There are also definite problems with the venue’s accessibility. Other than that, a smooth check-in, comfortable atmosphere, and great performances let the Rickshaw provide a solid time.