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The Offspring at Echo Beach


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

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