The Pack A.D.
Friday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m.
Starlite Room (10030 102 St.)
$18.25 at primeboxoffice.com
Releasing four albums in as many years, The Pack A.D. have wasted no time making uncompromising, middle-finger rock music with high-energy shows for their like-minded audiences. While they’ve attracted a lot of attention lately, touring larger venues as a result, not much has changed for the Vancouver duo of singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller. The two-piece band still pushes their enthusiasm and passion to the limit for every performance, just the same as when they were playing in tiny bars. For Miller, the more sweat, the better the show.
“Basically, if I play a show and I’m not drenched in sweat by the time it’s done, then I think something’s wrong and maybe the show wasn’t as good,” she says.
“Because it’s getting colder, the venues are turning on their heat a bit prematurely ... (Sweating) lets you know you’re doing well — or at least that the heat’s on really high.”
And while you might assume preparations for their spirited and aggressive shows would be rigourous, Miller is quick to set the record straight.
“We spend most of the day not talking. We don’t do a lot of talking to anyone really, I guess. We’re actually usually both just sitting backstage. Technicians would come in or whatever, and they’d be like ‘Hey, are you excited?’ and we’re like ‘Yup,’ ” Miller laughs.
But when it’s time to perform, it’s a complete 180-degree turn to make their two instruments sound as big as possible. Black’s guitar emits a muscular power chord buzz, molding around her bluesy wail, while Miller shows no mercy to the drums, pounding a commanding beat paired with the ringing of perpetual cymbal crashes. Sometimes Miller even puts a hole in her snare drum mid-show, something she says isn’t very good “drummer etiquette” — but the show must go on.
“I just grab gaffer tape, and then gaffer up the hole and keep playing the rest of the set and I’ll replace it later,” she explains. “No delay, you gotta do what you gotta do. It’s punk. Whatever.”
While the Pack A.D. clearly take a rock ‘n’ roll approach to performing, they also believe it’s important to be approachable and down-to-earth after the show. The band often interacts with fans directly, responding to fan messages on Twitter and meeting concertgoers at merchandise tables after the show is over.
“I think that when a band has got 22 billion followers and 3,000 million YouTube hits and they’re personal friends with Justin Bieber, then maybe there’s an excuse to not have the time to actually connect with fans,” Miller says. “But up until that point, I think that it’s a really nice thing to do. People liking your music is how you can keep on making your music in any kind of viable way, so I think it’s important to meet them. And if they want my signature — not that it’s worth a single thing — they can totally have it.”
The Pack A.D. are two women making aggressive rock music, something that’s unfortunately uncommon in popular music today. But Miller shrugs off any comments she hears about her gender, saying it shouldn’t be a factor in the band’s music.
“I’m not drumming and thinking, ‘Wow, I’m totally a woman drumming right now,’ ” she scoffs. “I mean, you’re not thinking about your gender when you’re playing music. Well, maybe some people do, but then they’re really over-genderized.”
And when asked if she has anything to say to fans of her band, Miller craftily warns people about what might happen if they don’t attend the show.
“We’ll both probably cry, then maybe knit something. Because that’s very female, isn’t it?”
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