The Evens Charlotte Street Arts Centre, Fredericton NB June 18

There is something undeniably special about being in the presence of Ian MacKaye. The last time MacKaye was in Fredericton was in July 1998 when Fugazi played what is likely the most talked-about show in the city’s history and one that was chosen to be included in the Fugazi live series. Returning this time with Amy Farina as the Evens, MacKaye once again left a lasting impression. Of course, the Evens insist on only playing all-ages shows, which led them to perform at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre, formerly a schoolhouse that normally holds ballet and Spanish lessons. The regular tenants must have had no idea what was going on as the Evens took the stage. With no opening act and the smallest of set-ups, the Evens took the stage and immediately blew any preconceived notions that this is a mellow project out of the water. On stage, the Evens come across with as much energy and passion as anything MacKaye has done in the past, with the duo yelling at the top of their lungs while instruments were pounded and strummed with great intensity. The band played for close to 90 minutes, covering a large number of tracks off both Twelve Songs and Get Evens. Highlights included "Mt. Pleasant Isn’t,” in which the band urged the crowd to join in on the chorus: "The police will not be excused / The police will not behave,” as well as "Dinner with the President” and "You Won’t Feel a Thing.” MacKaye filled gaps with his always-wonderful anecdotes and insights, including a short discussion with the crowd about his last time in Fredericton. Being able to witness one of punk rock’s most beloved figures in such an intimate setting was nothing short of spectacular.