By Kate Butler @butler2
Here’s the final article in Kate Butler’s series Temporary Venues, exploring the Fredericton all-ages scene between 1997-2006. In this feature, she speaks with long-time friend and fellow show-goer,Tyler Aikens.
For the last installment of Temporary Venues (for now at least), I wanted to check in with my pal Tyler Aikens who was one of my personal influences within the Fredericton scene and someone who has been a supporter of live music for years. Aikens often dragged me to shows I would have later regret had I not gone to. We quickly bonded over our love for Brampton, Ontario’s emo band Moneen, and from there he was an integral part of my all ages show going days.
Tyler’s first show wasn’t your typical all ages show, a Fredericton band did their best to rock-out at the FHS winter formal, creating friendships that would spawn a live music enthusiast.
“I think Dionisus played our winter formal,” said Aikens. “They threw CD’s at us and I got really into that album. From there I became friends with Mark [Richardson] over ICQ and he would sneak me into their shows. Dionisus played a lock in, like an overnight thing for students on the northside and they played this Moneen medley which is how I found out about Moneen and my whole music horizons were broadened from there.”
It may be somewhat ironic that it wouldn’t be until Aikens turned of age that he started attending all-ages shows.
“The amount of quality music being put on for the all-ages crowd in the early 2000’s was so good. There were shows almost every weekend and it didn’t matter if you were of age or not, everyone went to those. My first Moneen show was an all-ages event at the Elk’s Club. You went to shows back then even without knowing who the bands were or what they sounded like.”
Aikens was able to find a sense of community and acceptance by going back to all-ages shows again and again – something that wasn’t happening at his high school.
“I was always into skate-punk and that wasn’t really the popular thing back then,” he said. “I was pretty vocal about alternative ideas, political thinking, or whatever you want to call it. It caused me to be an outcast and I got picked on all the time because of it. I was able to go to shows and meet people who liked the same shit as me and had similar views on the world as me. I felt more at home at shows than I did at high school. Going to shows made me more comfortable with myself.”
Moneen is a band that has come up in every single conversation I have had throughout this series and for Aikens, they had just as much as influence on him as they did the Fredericton music scene as a whole.
“Moneen were huge to me. The first time I saw them they played to maybe 40 people and they played like they were playing to thousands. They played super crazy, kind of violent, more so to themselves. They are great guys they would always stick around after the shows to talk to people and thank them for coming to their shows. Their tunes were aggressive but the lyrics weren’t.”
Aikens hopes people can support the all-ages scene by getting out and seeing a show, and showing bands who have heart that they are doing something right.
“Music fans are bombarded by so much music today. Those great hometown bands struggling to make ends meet by touring don’t have as much of a chance now. There isn’t as much heart in those that are doing it just because it’s a cool lifestyle to have.”
You can catch Tyler Aikens hosting Thursday Trivia nights and DJing on Friday nights, both held at The Phoenix in the Capital Complex.
As the series Temporary Venues comes to a close, at least for now, I would like to thank all of those who have taken the time to share their stories and photos of the all-ages scene; Shawn Amos, Tanya Duffy, Chris Jackson, Sean Campbell, Heather Ogilvie, Greg Webber, Zach Atkinson and Tyler Aikens. As well, a BIG thank you to Matt Carter and Grid City Magazine for assisting me through this series and allowing a platform for these stories to be shared.