Take it sleazy: BVP’s Goosehunt isn’t sorry for party rocking

On the way to Koerner’s Pub, out of the corner of our eyes, a menacing goose locked our gaze. The writing was on the wall before we’d even arrived at the function — Blank Vinyl Project (BVP) had really gone all out this year, because it managed to get an enticing paid actor to guide patrons to Goosehunt.

Goosehunt is BVP's annual music festival consisting of cherry-picked local acts who come out to play Koerner’s Pub on the first Saturday of every April. We don’t know where the name came from, but we suspect it refers to the chase to find what is invigorating. But that’s just a theory.

This year, guests were invited back in time to a birthday bash of glitter, neon, streamers, smudged mascara and solo cups, the era that tethers somewhere between trash and taste — the indie sleaze epoch of the 2010s.

It took us a whole night of live coverage to piece together that indie sleaze is Macklemore strutting into a thrift shop trying to steal your grandpa’s style, digital cameras, moustache marketing, weirdly specific Tumblr hashtags and just MGMT and Paramore as concepts.

We may talk shit about millennials, but at the end of the day, we honour the contributions our cringy predecessors made to fashion: ripped tights, mesh, a loose tie askew over a t-shirt. After all, somebody had to walk for Goosehunt to run as smoothly as it did.

Running an event of this scale can be a logistical nightmare, but BVP pulled it off. Even through the chaos and crowds, a well-stocked and staffed harm reduction table ensured all goosehunters stayed safe.

Strangers were bound together by moustaches drawn on index fingers with sharpie, as we meandered between the warmth of faux fur.

Halfway into the night, when we hesitantly raised our ‘staches to our upper lips and were blinded by the unexpected flash of our digital camera with the bass pulsing in the floorboards underneath us, we realized we had finally found it — the metaphorical goose, our own indie sleaze.

It’s revealing of the foretold aesthetic’s comeback that the crowd didn’t look that different from an average BVP show.

People were still trickling in when The Hausplants opened the evening with their outdoor set. Their mossy pop sound mixed flowery guitar, fluttering vocals and tight punchy drums that flowed well into Rosemary Ginger’s herbal phasing riffs and granola-esque groovy tone.

girly. Renée Rochefort / The Ubyssey

girly.’s distinct style — think alternative rock that looks R&B right in the face — was definitely a major shift in the vibes, but Goosehunt had 12 acts in total, and musical diversity is what keeps long festivals like this one fun and fresh. What started as light swaying somehow ended in people pouring onto the stage’s edge.

Tiger Really.
Tiger Really. Renée Rochefort / The Ubyssey

And as that song by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs goes, the glitter was all wet because April showers cascaded over the patio just after nightfall during Tiger Really’s healthy serving of invigorating rock adjacency. But if being an indie sleaze in Vancouver means anything, it’s resistance to downpour. At the top of the steps of Koerner’s, we whipped our heads around in time for a brave soul to do the worm over slippery concrete.

And as the party moved inside once more, Empanadas Ilegales played psychedelic cumbia with guitar grooves and trumpet melodies with minimal vocals, a contrast to other bands on the bill. Their music lends itself well to dancing, but there wasn’t space for that, so the crowd defaulted to a sheepish mosh.

Jumping up and down and into others felt like an appropriate reaction to the righteousness of some of the other bands at Goosehunt (like Rougaroux). For Empanadas’ gentle cumbia though, the turbulent crowd made us feel less like punks in the pit and more like gravel in a river getting sanded smooth by the current.

Rougaroux. Renée Rochefort / The Ubyssey

Rougaroux is metal to be reckoned with. When Emm Hanley whales their guitar and George Finley shrieks into the mic in perfect harmony, you have no choice but to surrender to the buzz that flows from your ears to your diaphragm.

Goosehunt is now entering its 11th year, and many of the artists see the festival’s success as a testament to the importance of preserving indie music communities, particularly at universities. Vancouver is a hub for indie musicians, so as the biggest post-secondary institution in the city, UBC students have a huge influence on the scene, both as artists and audience members.

“I feel like the UBC current student body makes up a lot of the music scene in Vancouver right now, [so] to come here and be part of that community directly is really cool,” said Finley. “I think university music communities specifically are really important … There’s just a really big creative drive, and a desire to change things and make better spaces for ourselves and for our communities.”

Going into the festival, girly.’s frontman Darius Crump didn’t think anyone would be too familiar with his music and was shocked by how well the UBC crowd received it. Playing a show this well known means a lot to him.

“It’s a pretty cool feeling to be able to be like ‘no, sorry, the show is sold out.’ It’s a cool milestone,” he said.

The night came to a close with the technicolour dynamism of Yukon Blonde, then a set from DJ Woozy. Knees aching and moustaches smeared, we made our way back across campus, and there it was again — the goose. Maybe we’re thinking too hard, but it’s nice to imagine it’s some kind of subliminal sign, a message that the music will follow us, wherever we go.

“Indie will live on forever, no matter what,” Crump had told us earlier that night. “People will hate it, people will love it … it’s gonna live on forever.”

la lune.
la lune. Fiona Sjaus / The Ubyssey