The Offspring at Echo Beach

AS PREVIOUSLY SEEN ON BESTFAN-AUGUST 2014

Most punk shows are typically hosted at the same type of venues. A dive bar with a musty smell in the air, sticky floors, and a lot of sweaty kids pushing on top of each other trying to find their way to the front, where the band is crammed on a small stage jumping around and screaming about antigovernment. But last night, Toronto’s Echo Beach (the furthest thing from a punk venue) held a raging show with four punk-rock bands all from California who have respectively been around for the past three decades.

Calling it ‘The Summer Nationals Tour’, The VandalsPennywiseBad Religion, and headliners, The Offspring are taking North America by storm with their punk persona and preaching their lyrics to the masses.

The Offspring are touring in celebration of the 20th anniversary of their first major studio album, Smash. The band’s main set was playing the full album in its entirety.

The first act on was The Vandals who played with crude humour and fast music, keeping the audience clapping and singing along. One highlight during their set was when two girls at the barricade threw their underwear on stage. Attached, was a note that said “I threw my panties, now toss me the setlist”. This got plenty of laughs from the band and crowd, although no setlist was tossed to them [the girls].

Up next was Pennywise. Following along the same lines as The Vandals, Pennywise played a fast paced set with slight banter in between, and talking about how pleased they were to be in Canada.

After Pennywise, Bad Religion took the stage, and if people weren’t already incredibly excited to be seeing The Offspring, they lost their minds for Bad Religion. Once they hit the stage, fists were going in the air, the crowd surfing increased drastically, and more power chords were being played heavier and faster.

By 9:20 p.m., the crowd was getting antsy with anticipation as they began to chant for The Offspring. Technicians were fooling around with the lights, which caused the crowd to be left on their toes, awaiting unexpectedly for the band to come on.

But by 9:30 p.m., the voice over from “Time to Relax,” the introduction, and technically the first song off Smash, began to play. Fans recited the monologue as the band came on stage.

Lead singer Dexter Holland and guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman, spent the majority of the set providing slight banter in between songs. Aside from the usual “we’re happy to be in Canada” and “how are you guys doing?”, The Offspring primarily just played one song after the other, where as most bands would talk with the crowd more. Additionally, they stuck to playing the proper length of their set, as opposed to extending songs for guitar or drum solos.

Upon completion of Smash, the band left to return for an encore of their more later releases including “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)”, “You’re Gonna Go Far Kid”, and “The Kids Aren’t Alright”, among others.

The audience was beyond enthused to be part of the crowd for this show. During favourite songs, friends would wrap their arms around the neck of their friends to sway back and forth in complete bliss. There were interesting age demographics at this concert. From people in their mid-twenties, teenagers, adults, to even young kids with their parents. That being said, the crowd was incredibly rowdy with mosh pits, circle pits, beer cans being thrown around, and people passing around drugs, prompting for more security in and around the venue.

Overall, these four bands have proven that even though they’re getting much older, they can still play as if they were the 20-somethings in the small clubs they once played many years ago. In a world where punk music has been swept under the rug and overthrown by top 40’s music, it’s refreshing to see that these classic bands are still just as relevant as they were 20-30 years ago.

The Summer Nationals Tour is continuing to play the rest of North America until the middle of September. For more information on when The Offspring and co. are coming to your city, check out www.offspring.com.

Hedley at the Air Canada Centre

AS PREVIOUSLY SEEN ON BESTFAN.COM

March 28, 2014

The first time Hedley played the Air Canada Centre, they were opening for Simple Plan in 2005. No one knew who they were and they had one album out with one main single. Last night, they played a near sold out crowd on their biggest headlining tour to date.

Hedley are on tour in support for their latest album Wild Life on what they’re calling the ‘Wild Live’ tour, and with them they’re bringing alongTorontonians USS and Nova Scotia native Classified.

USS were playing the ACC for the first time, and they brought their insane dance party music to get the crowd started.

Afterwards, Canada’s favourite rapper, Classified, took the stage, and there was no shortage of dancing here. A sea of hands bopped up and down as the Toronto rapper ruled the stage.

Lights flashed everywhere during Classified’s set, infusing a club like vibe to all of the songs that were playing.

After that, the ACC milled in anticipation as they waited for Hedley. Once the lights went down, the venue exploded into a frenzy as fans ran up to the barricade, anticipating for the black curtain to drop. After a short intro video, the curtain dropped and the lights flashed as Hedley was revealed, and kicked off with their hit song “Anything.”

The band continued into their set with songs like “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “One Life,” and “All The Way.”

Halfway through the set, Hedley ran up to the b-stage where they played their songs “Old School,” “Heaven in Our Headlights,” “For the Nights I Can’t Remember,” and “Wild Life,” rounded off with a piano solo from Hoggard.

The band did not fail to disappoint, with surprises at every corner. From Hoggard shooting t-shirts into the crowd, running back and forth between the main stage and the b-stage, to even having the Toronto Argonauts cheerleaders join them on stage for the band’s song “Cha-Ching.” Additionally, Hoggard did two covers on the piano, one of Miley Cyrus‘ “We Can’t Stop”, and Rihanna’s “Stay.”  

A significant moment was when Hoggard mentioned that it had been nine years to the date since the band played their first show together, to which one of the screens showed some of the old photos.
On behalf of the band, Hoggard went on to deliver a touching speech, expressing how grateful they are for the fans.

“Because we know that in the bottom of our hearts, we can’t do this without you, so thank you so much to every single one of you for being here tonight. It’s because of every single one of you, that we get to do what we do. And Toronto, I swear to God, if you guys stay in our lives, I promise we’ll stay in yours.”

Hedley finished off their set with “Kiss You Inside Out,” “The Sweater Song,” and “Never Too Late.”

Last night’s show truly proved how far the Canadian quartet have come. From the early days of opening for bands, to selling out arenas across the country, Hedley certainty have made a name for themselves as one of Canada’s biggest bands, and there’s no slowing down for them any time soon.

The Used at The Danforth Music Hall

April 19, 2015

The Danforth Music Hall was the place to be as The Used played a near sold show on Sunday night. The Utah based band are currently out on a co-headling tour alongside Every Time I Die, in support of their latest album Imaginary Enemy.

With the crowd filled with 20 somethings poised to relive their youth, the energy in the room was palpable. As the lights went down, fans eagerly poured forward towards the stage where a mountain of TVs displaying the band’s latest album art flashed brightly emanating hues of red, white and yellow. Then suddenly The Used took to the stage and jumped right into their first song of the night, “Maybe Memories.”

A few songs in, Bert McCracken addressed the crowd the best way he knew how.

“We are…The fucking Used, obviously.”

The band then went on to play a full set, primarily consisting of older songs like “All That I’ve Got,” “The Taste of Ink,” and “Take It Away.” McCracken stopped a few times throughout the show to let the crowdknow just how happy the band was to be back in Canada. He also spoke of his distaste for government.

“I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails lately about how things have been here and how Stephen Harper has been running things…I’m so sick of seeing these elements of racism and homophobia and I want to let you know that even though they have the power, fear will always win. You make sure you put fear in them!” To which the crowd enthusiastically cheered and applauded.

Prior to playing their most well known hit, “The Taste of Ink,” things got a little sentimental. McCracken gave his sincerest thank you’s to the crowd, expressing his appreciation for how fans have supported The Used since the band’s beginnings.

“I had one dream when I was a little boy, and you’ve helped to make that dream come true.”

The band then closed things out with 2007’s “Pretty Handsome Awkward,” but quickly returned for an encore. Instead of playing older songs as most bands do, The Used stepped it up and did a Rage Against the Machine cover mash-up of “Killing In The Name Of,” “Bulls on Parade,” and “Know Your Enemy,” before finishing the show with their song, “A Box Full of Sharp Objects.”

As the night drew to an end, fans couldn’t take their eyes off of the stage. Cheers and applause filled the room, and it was clear that even after all these years, The Used still possess that extra something that made them one of the seminal screamo / post-hardcore bands of the early 2000’s.

*This was previously posted on Anchorshop.com

Gerard Way at the Danforth Music Hall

May 20, 2015

Last night the Danforth Music Hall was packed with a near sold out crowd all in attendance to see Gerard Way. The former MCR frontman is touring in support of his first solo album, Hesitant Alien, which was released late last year. Although many fans were dressed in MCR shirts and gear, it is safe to say that they were there to celebrate the singer’s new project.

The stage was a basic set up with all instruments in their respective places however, a massive orange backdrop adorned with the album’s mascot, a pink cat named Lola, hung heavy in the background.

As the lights went down, Way’s backing band made their entrance as an eerie instrumental rendition of the opening song “The Bureau” began to play. With the music gradually growing louder, the excitement in the room quickly began to bubble. Suddenly, Way strutted across the stage dawning a black suit and red tie. Having dyed his once red hair back to black, his look harkened back to the days of MCR’s first major label release, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. That said, once the music kicked in, everything became about Way’s new sound and less about his MCR association.

In between songs, Way would spoke to the crowd addressing certain topics like travelling and playing Toronto, followed by a few improvisational songs that really got the crowd cheering.

Although it’s clear that Way still carries the title of the MCR frontman adoredly, he’s certainly made a different impression with his solo music. So much so, that he talked about how excited he was to record a second album.

“You know, we’re recording another album after the tour in Russia. I’m so excited because you guys liked the first album so much that they’re giving me a chance to do another one,” he said appreciatively.

Before launching in the song, “How It’s Going To Be,” Way also spoke passionately about how grateful he was to be making music.

“I didn’t think I’d make it past 25, and that’s a true story. I didn’t think there was anything else for me. I didn’t think I’d find love or have anyone care for me, but you just have to see what’s on the other side. You just have to go and find it.”

He also spoke highly about the importance of the trans community and the need to seek help for anyone suffering from depression, respectively. The sentiments left the audience in awe and applauding his words of wisdom and encouragement.

Way played every song on the album, as well as a bonus track titled “Television All The Time.,” that was released as part of the Japanese edition.

As the night drew to a close, Way leaned into the microphone to say that he was “Looking forward to meeting everyone after the show”––a promise he had already made via Twitter. Fans swarmed the back of the venue crowding around a small door. Astonishingly, Way waited for the crowd of well over 100 people who eventually all made their way through to have something signed by the singer and to give him their personal thanks.

There is certainly no doubt that Gerard Way’s passion for music still shines after all these years. Whether it be through his work with My Chemical Romance or his current solo efforts, the singer still puts every ounce of effort into his live performances and doesn’t let the audience down. An admirable trait that will surly continue for years to come.


*Originally posted on Anchorshop.com