Allow me to make it clear right off the bat, I absolutely love Nardwaur. In a lot of ways, he's a litmus test for new bands or musicians that I will consider listenable. Based on a Nardwaur interview, I'll give anybody's music a chance if their interaction with Nardwaur goes well. On the other hand, bands that I've loved forever can lose a ton of respect if a single member doesn't understand Nardwaur or treats him unkind. Though this is a review of Nardwaur's band, the Evaporators, his persona seems a big part of the act as well. I'm not sure if Nardwaur is Nardwaur or if John Ruskin is the same wonderful ball of positive energy, sometimes possibly on the spectrum, always clever, humble and witty beyond belief.

Keep on rockin in the free world and doot doola doot doo...
  • Derek Erdman
  • "Keep on rockin' in the free world and doot doola doot doo..."

The conversation I had with the first 10 people that I encountered after entering Funhouse was exactly the same, what an absolute shame it is going to be once Funhouse is gone. It's sad to think that in five short weeks, all of the manic history that has occurred at that location will just cease. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a condo or work in an office built on what should be deemed hollowed ground. If there's any justice, anything built on that land will be haunted by sudden obnoxious music blasts or an irremovable smell of stale beer and vomit, which could begin when a child begins interacting with a television playing static in the middle of the night. Just think of that! A Funhouse themed version of the movie Poltergeist! A local theater group simply must consider this production!

The Tranzmitors
  • Allison Chambers
  • The Tranzmitors

The first band we saw were the Tranzmitors, an excellent power pop combo from Vancouver. The boys had exquisite style and were brilliantly on point, aping the sharp dressed style and amphetamine inspired moves of the British swingin' 60s. All of their songs are fast and wild, like an In the City-era Jam, sometimes with the same catchiness of Art Brut's first record. The singer made Joel Gion faces and was happy to oblige when I took photos of him in the bathroom after the show. "There's nothing weird about that," he added.

To see Nardwaur setting up a keyboard was kind of surreal, there was a moment when he seemed frustrated. Here's a person that I've watched for dozens of hours on video now standing in front of me fiddling with a cable. My brain went off into some kind of fandom haze and the next thing I knew, he was at the mic starting a chant that declared the current governor of New York is actually an employee of a gas station in Winnipeg. Soon, the entire crowd was yelling, "Mario Cuomo works at Domo." The other band members ranged from dudes to who looked like uncles on my mother's side of the family to dudes who looked like uncles on my father's side of the family.

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  • Allison Chambers

Nardwaur kept up the charm throughout, inviting audience participation at every turn, leading dances through the crowd, dances on the crowd, playing keyboards on the crowd, coaxing people onto the stage. Nearly every Evaporators song is great. During the music without vocals, Nardwaur jumps up and down with a giant smile on his face as if his every dream is coming true at the moment. That can't really be a character, right? There has to be a place where John Ruskin and Nardwaur meet, and it doesn't even matter how much of it is an act. One thing is for sure, there's nothing wrong with having that much fun. And I'll wager that no office party or condo BBQ is going to match that level of unbridled enthusiasm either.

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  • Allison Chambers

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  • Allison Chambers

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  • Allison Chambers

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  • Allison Chambers

Thanks to Allison Chambers for all of the great show photos!