By Kate Butler @butler2
Here’s the first article in Kate Butler’s new series Temporary Venues, exploring the Fredericton all-ages scene between 1997-2006.
If you were a frequenter of all-ages shows back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s it is likely you have either watched Shawn Amos playing bass with former Fredericton band Dionisus, or as a regular at the all ages punk shows. A Marysville resident growing up, Shawn quickly became immersed in the music scene because of the community and his love of music.
Kate Butler: Do you remember your first show and who played?
Shawn Amos: I think my first all-ages show was at the old Knights of Columbus Hall on George St. The Line-up was DTA (Moncton) and maybe Sour Grapes (Moncton) and maybe a Fredericton local like Strange Brew or Room 101. This would have been spring of ‘96 or ‘97. The only thing I know for sure was that DTA was on the bill, mostly because it was my first show and to see a female on lead vocals and guitar was super awesome and eye opening.
Why did you go continue to go to shows?
I mostly really enjoyed going to see my friend’s bands play. Kids my age playing ‘gigs’, as we called them. Bands like Dionisus who at that time started out as a junior high three-piece with Pierre, Zach Atkinson and Mark Richardson. Or Green Eggs & Spam with Greg Webber, Josh Jewett (RIP) and a super young Tom Blizzard. I think he was like 12 or 13. There was also Second String who were a bunch of kids from Nasis with Chris Coleman, Jeremy White, Chris Bowie, and Ryan Priddle who were a super bratty brand of punk and with hilarious lyrics like, “Holy shit… Banana Split!” It’s still a song hook that reoccurs in my head. Another band, The Lab Rats, were Andrew Kimball, Mark Burke, and other kids from the skyline area. Of course The Missing with Matt Bowie, Sean Campbell, Andrew Albert, and Steve Dugay another mostly Northside band. These were all dudes I was in classes with all day at FHS as there was no Leo Hayes High School back then. It was just so cool to see kids going for it and playing music.
What was one of your favourite shows?
Favourite show without question, was the generator show/parties that KW* organized at the Nook. The Nook was an old concrete building foundation overlooking the Mactaquac Dam where the kids from Keswick used to skateboard. There were two of these shows – one in the summer of 2000 and the other the summer of 2001. The second show was out of control and I remember there were like a few hundred kids out there and the RCMP showed up and didn’t even know how to manage it. The Missing, Dionisus, and East Infection was once of the line-ups. It’s all a tad bit hazy to be honest.
How did you get involved in the all ages scene?
I got involved with the music scene through kids I was buddies with. I think Matt Bowie and Jarrett Fraser dragged me to that first show. I’m pretty sure Fraser lent me a Pennywise T-shirt because we were concerned about not sticking out and wearing the right type of shirt was a thing, I guess? Then you get there and everyone is pretty much really easy going and pretty nice. I became friends with all the guys in The Missing, I drove a ‘93 Dodge Caravan so I used to lug a lot of their gear to shows. That scene is also where I met the guys in Dionisus who I would eventually join to play bass and tour with for over two years, playing over 100 shows.
What do you miss most about the all-ages scene?
There were shows pretty much every month and basically it was just a lot of fun. Pete Diamond would do these awesome show posters and had a hand made zine called Eye of the Storm. I was always really into music and having a local scene with really interesting people to dive into at that age was awesome. The all-ages scene has always had a bit of an ebb and flow to it.
During my time of going to shows, guys like Spencer (penny-for-a-poem) and Peter Diamond and Candice Mooers and the CHSR folks also did a lot of shows. Then Tanya Duffy, Chris Jackson and Sean Campbell kept it alive through the early 2000’s during the Moneen, Choke, Smallman Records years. Zach Atkinson and James Boyle kept it going with NickofTime which evolved into Forward Music. Part of me really does miss the half empty halls of the Knights of Columbus, Saint Charbel’s, Elk’s Club, and New Maryland Rec Centre shows.
Now in your 30’s, what impact do you think the scene had on you?
My band mates in Dionisus and the fellas in The Missing are still all lifelong great friends. Whenever life has gotten real tough they were always there, and that all stemmed from the all-ages scene. Hell, I bought a house next door to Greg (Webber), at least it has a bit more privacy that the bunk of the old band van!