We wandered into the Little Hamilton warehouse Saturday night to find a DIY winter wonderland waiting for us: glittery shredded paper covered the floor, somewhat resembling snow, white sheets hung down from and covered the ceiling and a fully adorned Christmas tree towered in the corner over a makeshift living room set complete with a TV and hi-fi. We were also reminded why we so often show up late to these things: Showing up early sucks.
We spent the next half-hour staring at the wall until Daniel Pujol finally took the initiative to play the opening set. Sporting a semi-new backing band featuring Heavy Cream's Daniel TV on drums and Natural Child's Wes Traylor on guitar, Pujol powered through a super-short, extra-sweet set of new jams--a slightly accelerated version of his usual roots-based punk pop, but also a hell of a lot catchier. The set lasted all of four songs, as apparently that's all they knew how to play. We then endured another 45 minutes of downtime, filled by an uncomfortably loud, awkward and distorted set of tunes courtesy of the evening's DJ, as an off-and-on dance party ensued, paper snow fights broke out on the reg and the small crowd more than tripled in size. Finally, at the stroke of midnight, a swell of guitar feedback hinted that a reunited Party Cannon might actually favor us with a tune.
They ripped straight into a continuous, Ritalin-fueled stream of speedy, meaty punk ditties reveling in hedonism and beckoning for an epicurean meltdown. Or at least that's maybe how it sounded onstage, or close to it, where the fans were just as frenzied as the band (or more so). From where we were standing, it was more just a muddy mix of rumbling bass, rapid-fire snare drum and the faint murmur of a gang chorus. But to complain would be missing the point. Whether or not Party Cannon is a "good" band is irrelevant, and while it may not have been pretty, they provided a much-needed break from the family-oriented glee and merriment we'd been enduring all week.