"I'm confident this is one of the best fucking line-ups you'll ever see," said Against Me!'s Tom Gabel, before launching into "Don't Lose Touch." And in a lot of ways, he's absolutely right, especially since I grew up on all three of these bands. They're still some of my favourites and to see them together on the same bill was pretty awesome. And the fact that this line-up is pretty much exclusive to western Canada made the show even better. Living out here, you get used to losing all the amazing tours to Toronto and for once I can say we ended up with the better deal.
It's best to see Against Me! without a barricade, but even with one they can still deliver an amazing show. They played a fairly diverse set, especially compared to the last time I saw them play an arena. Some people were into it, but most of the crowd seemed indifferent until they played their radio hit "Thrash Unreal" at the end. I usually hate it when bands don't talk to the crowd very much, but somehow Against Me! can pull it off. They're one of the more energetic bands you'll see live and it's great to just watch them play.
Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
White People For Peace
Don't Lose Touch
Because Of The Shame
Walking Is Still Honest
Sink, Florida, Sink
I Was a Teenage Anarchist
The band I was most excited to see that night was Rancid and they definitely lived up to my high expectations. I was fortunate enough to catch them at Rock on the Range two years ago, but their set was incredibly short and it was raining so I was glad to catch a longer show. Tim Armstrong came out solo in his trademark leather jacket and hat, wearing sunglasses. He addressed the crowd and launched into "Radio" with the rest of the band coming out shortly after. The way he carries himself and the crowd, moving all over the stage, bending his mic stand, few guys come close to him. I can honestly say he's one of the best front men I've seen perform. I was wondering if they might be a bit rusty, especially since this was their first night and they haven't toured much, if at all, this year. But they weren't. Lars was just as energetic, especially when it was Tim's turn to sing and while Matt didn't move around as much, it still looked like he was having a blast. Same with Branden, I still think it's so amazing he left The Used to join up with Rancid.
They had a gigantic backdrop and used two of Blink's screens, but since there weren't any close-ups they probably could have done without. Rancid were on stage for an hour and played at least one song off of all their records. Their 2000 self-titled was mostly ignored and not surprisingly, most of the tracks came off of ...And Out Come The Wolves. It would have been nice to have heard "Hoover Street" and a few more from Life Won't Wait, but I wasn't too surprised. They made a good choice and and the crowd was definitely into it. Maybe I wasn't the only one who was most excited for Rancid after all.
Last One To Die
Journey To The End Of The East Bay
East Bay Night
It's Quite Alright
Outta My Mind
The 11th Hour
Fall Back Down
And of course, Blink-182. While I was mainly there for Rancid, there's no denying my love for Blink. And if I never got into Blink, who knows if I would have picked up any Rancid records in the first place. By now the floor was pretty much packed full of people and I'm glad I had seats. I discovered just how much I hated pits in arenas at their reunion show in 2009. I read Alex's review and I honestly think it sums up the show I saw as well. I agree that this was their best yet, although I'm not too sure if that was because I could actually pay attention to what was happening onstage this time. The guys sounded great, but they were lacking the energy Rancid had. Their set was very flashy, they made much better use of the screens than Rancid did and no matter what, Travis' drum solo will always be amazing. The confetti cannons at the end of "Dammit" add a nice touch too.
The set-list seemed to be identical, but they might have added in a few more joke songs. And of course, the guys delivered with their usual stage banter. Before "I Miss You" someone tossed a bra to Tom and they made a joke about big testicles before Mark put it on. The new songs sounded good and made me even more excited to hear Neighborhoods. Ultimately I'd say the show delivered, although some people behind me loudly complained that they didn't play "Adam's Song" when it was over.
Up All Night
The Rock Show
What's My Age Again?
I Miss You
Stay Together For the Kids
Happy Holidays, You Bastard
Heart's All Gone
Ghost On The Dance Floor
All The Small Things
When You Fucked Grandpa
And even though they won't read this, I want to thank Blink for remembering western Canada because not enough American bands do. They could have opted out like My Chemical Romance, but instead they came and put together an even stronger line-up.
This was my first time seeing Stu because school made me miss the last two shows. And he was awesome, definitely more energetic than Matt was. It was a crazy show compared to last time I saw them. That’s getting to be a long time ago too, all the way back in 2008 with Carpenter and Aspirations. Matt was even sick that night so Chase had to take over the vocals.
Although I shouldn't be too surprised by the craziness. I heard some dude almost cracked his head open and had to be taken to the hospital in April. The crowd was bigger than the one for Sharks, but it still didn’t seem like they sold it out. I think it was the perfect venue for them. It was mostly less talk, more rock. Except when Chase broke a guitar string and Stu started telling a story about how he staple gunned some guy in the chest earlier that week. My favourite part was hearing “Maple Drive Is Still Alive” because that song is absolutely amazing. I was blown away the first time I heard it and they did the live version justice. “A Bottle of Charades” was fun too since the crowd really got into it.
This isn’t the exact set-list, but it’s pretty close. They only played for about 40 minutes and no encore or anything like that:
Later Is Better
Mark Has Bedroom Eyes
Maple Drive Is Still Alive
When We Were Young
A Bottle of Charades
She’s A Hack
Heartsounds were decent. The vocals sounded a little fuzzy, but I think that was the venue’s fault and not theirs. They played three new songs (“Drifter” “Elements” “Don’t Talk With Your Mouth Open”) and the rest were from the first record. Their set was about the same length and they took some time to chat with the crowd. Apparently it was Laura's 25th birthday last night.
Dangercat opened and they had a bigger crowd than Heartsounds. I know they’re local, but still! Those people could have stuck around, especially since the Living With Lions guys made the effort to show up in the crowd. Anyway, I like the songs I grabbed on Facebook. I liked them enough to give them a news post. And while I enjoyed their set, they didn't blow me away like I was expecting they might. They're still a new band though so I'm definitely not writing them off at this point.
They could have skipped us, especially since they totally skipped Saskatchewan, but NOFX returned to Winnipeg for another show yesterday. Last April, I was just excited to finally see them play, but this time I was more interested in seeing how this show would compare to the last. Because let's face it, some bands have pretty rehearsed sets. Especially if it's only been 14 months since their last show.
Instead of getting Tony Sly to open, they chose Old Man Markley, one of the newer bands on Fat. At first the crowd wasn't so sure what to make of them, but by the end of their set everyone was cheering and they totally won everyone over. People were even starting to mosh near the end, which I found rather amusing. The band sounded great and they're the only band I've ever seen with a washboard player. They performed their cover of Screeching Weasel's "The Science of Myth" and tunes off of their debut. I don't think they're a band I'll ever listen to regularly, but they're decent live.
Teenage Bottlerocket brought the pogo party with them again. Their set also seemed shorter this time, but maybe it's just me. They opened with "Skate or Die" but after they launched into "Radio" instead and followed that with "Bigger Than Kiss." Ray remembered the kid from last April, the kid who was standing on someone's shoulders, pumping his fists and rocking out the entire time. One difference was they played all the songs off of their new 7" Mutilate Me. Ultimately, I wish I could see TBR in a more intimate venue. I think it's hard to truly experience them in a large theatre with plush red seats. Especially when a good chunk of the crowd can't be bothered to show up early and watch their set anyway.
NOFX walked onstage and talked to the crowd for a few minutes before actually shutting up and playing a song. I still think they're one of the only bands who do that, but I actually like it. Some of it was similar, Fat Mike acknowledged that kid again and decided to mention felching before starting to call out other people standing in front. As the set wore on, he talked about Winnipeg, obviously mentioning Kent and Limo. But he also mentioned Chris Hannah from Propagandhi because apparently he was at the show somewhere. And much like Face to Face last month, he praised the "older" people in the crowd for still liking punk music and going to shows.
They definitely switched up their set a little bit. "Seeing Double at the Triple Rock," "Linoleum," Creeping Out Sara," and "Mattersville" popped up again, but they dusted off other songs too. "The Pharmacist's Daughter," "Perfect Government," "The Man I Killed," and "Herojuana" weren't part of last year's tour. But perhaps the best was when Fat Mike said they were going to do a Dropkick Murphys cover and played Rancid's "Radio" instead. Really stoked we got to hear that. They also played "My Orphan Year" and Fat Mike began to paraphrase his Cokie the Clown SXSW story about his mother's death. They ended before the encore with "The Separation of Church and Skate," a song I was hoping they'd play last time, but they didn't. Old Man Markley returned with them to play "Door Nails." And they ended their set with "Kill All The White Man" before "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" came on. The band did their little dance again, which is a lot more amusing than just walking off stage abruptly.
Pretty much the only downside was the crowd. Last year I had no problems, everyone was cool. This year it was like Blink-182 all over again with tons of annoying dudes who were super drunk and/or high. Yeah, not my crowd at all, but whatever. The bands ruled.
I covered my first punk show as an Uptown freelancer last night. I started off with helping compile the Best of Winnipeg feature. Then I did some smaller articles and some CD reviews. And two weeks ago I convinced my editor to let me cover the show last night by talking with Mockingbird Wish Me Luck. I interviewed Mike and Bishop over the phone and this is the final result. I don't see myself leaving AbsolutePunk anytime soon because I feel like they're two entirely different formats. But I do hope these opportunities with Uptown continue:
Anyway, the show was really fun. It was supposed to be at the Albert, but they moved it to The Death Trap, which is right underneath The Fyxx. There wasn’t any stage, it was a basement show. And I felt really lucky to see two amazing up-and-coming bands so up close and personal. Not as intimate as an acoustic show, but still incredibly intimate nonetheless. This is one of the reasons I love punk rock.
But this show and the one last week made me think about an article I read on ChartAttack or someplace like that. It said that the average Canadian only attends 2.3 shows each year and seeing the turnouts really makes me feel like that statistic is true. I don’t think a single person was there that night for the money, but at the exact same time money makes it possible for them to drive from one end of North America to the other. It’s a nasty double-edged sword.
Anyway, Mockingbird Wish Me Luck killed it. Their set was really short, but I can’t say I’m really surprised because the band hasn’t even released a proper full-length yet. There were no gimmicks, they didn’t say much to the crowd, but they sounded great and their songs prove they’re one of the best punk bands in Canada right now. Finally seeing songs like “American Homes” and “Orphans of a Storm” live ruled. A local band played before them, but unfortunately I didn’t catch their name.
And Sharks. I finally got around to listening to The Joys of Living 2008-2010 and I was blown away. I loved “Sweet Harness” the second I listened to it and that doesn’t happen very often. I wouldn’t say the band is doing anything too different, but I think they write better songs and do it better than most. And they were just as great live. A little more energetic and talkative, their singer James would stand in the crowd before running back to the front of the room. Most of their set was songs from that record and yes, they did play “Sweet Harness.” At the end the crowd convinced them to play one more song and they decided to launch into a cover of “I Fought the Law.”
Definitely one of the shorter shows I’ve attended, but also one of the more memorable. Not that it matters in the end, but both bands have joined up with some big independent labels and will have some promising full-lengths to release in the future. I hope more people start to realize how awesome they are because they definitely deserve the success.
After attending the show last night I realized just how much acoustic punk shows rule. I mean, I saw Tony Sly open for NOFX last year and while he was amazing, it just wasn't the same. It was a bigger venue and of course, the other two bands that night weren't performing solo. This time the crowd was small, but everyone was stoked to be there. There was pretty much no wait times between sets, the show went from 9:30 to 12:30 with very small breaks in between. And best of all, it felt like we were just hanging out at someone's house, talking and listening to awesome music. I seriously don't think shows can get more intimate than they were last night.
First up was Greg Rekus. It took me forever, but eventually I realized he's in a local punk band called High Five Drive. And he was pretty good! He demanded the audience's attention, was incredibly energetic and covered "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" by The Ramones. He also played the kazoo.
Mikey Erg wasn't as lively, but it suited his style well. I'm honestly not as familiar with him as I should be. But I think he summed it up best when he opened up his set by saying "I never thought I'd be in Winnipeg." I don't think I ever expected him to tour here. But I'm glad he did, I like his vocals and will make a point of checking his stuff out further. He was also the only one who wasn't performing acoustically, he used a plugged in electric guitar. And for the last two songs, Dave Hause came up to join him. They both ended with "Books About Miles Davis" by his old band The Ergs!
And then Dave Hause took over completely, kicking off with "Time Will Tell" and playing other songs from his solo record Resolutions like "Pray for Tuscon." He played some Loved Ones songs and talked a lot with the crowd when he was finished playing. Like he asked us what shows we were going to see next, about where to eat in the city and stuff like that. He also made a Travis Barker joke when he caught a girl yawning near the front, haha. It really added to the show in my opinion and it was really cool to experience. And then Mikey Erg came back up to play some songs with him. The best was probably their Weakerthans cover. And someone (who was obviously standing near me, thank you) captured the whole thing so I'm just going to post it here:
Not going to lie, it's pretty hard to top that. But Tony Sly did a good job. He brought a friend of his along to play some acoustic parts, but it was mostly just him, his guitar and a little bit of harmonica on one song. He played some No Use For a Name songs, like a really awesome acoustic version of "Dumb Reminders." "Not Your Saviour" and "Justified Black Eye" were tossed in as well. And of course, he played a number of songs off of 12 Song Program. He was also pretty talkative with the crowd, but not nearly as talkative as Dave. And he mentioned on stage that a No Use For a Name record is coming, but he's going to release another solo one first. He said September 30, but that's not a Tuesday so I don't know if that's really the case. Excited to hear it though.
P.S. Thanks to Dave for the shout-out on stage. I was not expecting it and you totally made my night. So thank you!
Probably the best thing about seeing Face to Face Monday night was seeing the lasting power punk rock can actually have. I know I've been told numerous times that 'it's just a phase' or 'you'll grow out of it' and I'm sure lots of other people have as well. And in some cases, this actually is true. I have some friends who would go to these shows with me in high school, but now that we're entering our 20's, their tastes have moved onto other things. But I'm still the same, for better or worse. And seeing a bunch of 40-year-olds rock out onstage to a crowd of people from different decades proved that something special is going on.
The first band of the night was a little Canadian band I've been plugging on this site called The Artist Life. Sadly they had to open doors earlier than planned and not a lot of people had arrived in time for their set. I seriously walked right up to the barricade, stood in front of Dean and felt like the band was putting on a personal show for me. Nice experience, but the band needed more love that night for putting on a killer show. Their set list was what I expected, they played newer songs like "Working Class Revolt," "Impossible" and they ended with "Steel City." Songs from their EPs like "Let's Start a Riot" and "Sleep So Sound" also popped up. They had great energy, sounded amazing and I was really glad to finally see them live.
The second band I didn't know was on the bill until I was interviewing Trever. They're a Californian punk band called The Darlings and the more songs they played, the more I started to like them. They're singer's got a good voice. As a whole band, they sort of reminded me of Pennywise, but maybe it's just me. The only song I recognized was an Operation Ivy cover. They did "The Crowd" and I thought that was pretty awesome
I feel like Strung Out deserves honorary Canadian citizenship because they make a trip across the country every year. If only every American band loved us as much as they do, then I'd be set. Anyway, my last time seeing them play the Garrick was in 2007 and not much has changed. Their set reminded me of how I should listen to their records more often, I never got into them like I got into No Use For a Name. They played for about 50 minutes, the crowd went crazy for "Too Close To See" and that was it. They're definitely a less talk, more rock band.
And Face to Face. Again the best part of their set was the crowd. They actually sold the Garrick out and that doesn’t happen very often. Although NOFX sold out an even bigger venue last year too so I don’t know. It seems like Winnipeg has a lot of older guys who love 90’s punk. But pretty much anything else gets overlooked. Newer bands like The Flatliners never get anywhere close to the same turnout. Ever.
They opened with “You Lied” which I thought was a great way to start things off, it’s actually one of my favourite songs by them. They definitely stuck to an older set-list and Trever promised the crowd that for every new song they played, they’d do five old ones. And at the end of the night, I’d say that ratio was just about right. But I also think people dug the new material so I don’t see why that should be an issue. I’ve heard the new record and it’s got some great songs on it.
There were lots of awesome sing alongs, it was clear that there were a lot of huge fans in the crowd. And my favourite one was probably for “Disconnected.” I think this is a lot of people’s first Face to Face song, I heard it when The Punk Show was still airing on MuchMusic and immediately after I had to check the band out further. And Trever welcomed it, he’s a really great front man who’s not afraid to interact with the crowd. He really talked to the crowd, not at the crowd, throughout the show. And near the end of their set, he asked what the name of their new record is and when it’s coming out and he definitely got a loud, enthusiastic response.
And now, for no real reason, I'll leave you with an old relic from the band's last Winnipeg show. And I know they won't read this, but big props to them for kicking this tour off in western Canada. I never attended their last show because I was a 12-year-old girl and it was a bar show anyway. So how did I get it? The poster was in the gigantic stack of stuff Rob gave me so I could pass my IPP. And he still hasn't expressed interest in getting any of it back so I'm not too sure if I can buy some sticky tack and cover my walls. Or if I should keep it safe in my drawer like I have for the last four months:
A few songs into Tokyo Police Club's set last night, Dave Monks remarked that this was the millionth show the band has played in Winnipeg. And in some ways, he's not over-exaggerating too much. They're always playing here, so many Canadian bands are playing here, but I never really got around to seeing them until last night. Which is kind of sad because my number one job on this site is to promote Canadian content. My excuse? CreComm. But now that it's over, I figured there was no better way to celebrate than by checking out a show I wouldn't have had the energy to check out otherwise.
First up was Dinosaur Bones, who are on Dine Alone Records just like TPC. I had listened to a single once, but never really thought much of it. The good news is their set was actually pretty good and made me want to give them a second listen. They've got some catchy tunes, they sounded great live and weren't afraid to interact with the crowd. All essential for any good performance in my books.
But Said the Whale was way better and I hate to admit I never listened to them before. I've heard of them. I know they won a Juno this year and they're on my list of Canadian bands so some user on this website has told me about them along the way. But I never got around to it last night. And wow, they blew me away. This might sound lame, but not since TAT opening for MxPx and Lagwagon has a band extremely impressed me based on their live show alone.
Basically, they did everything Dinosaur Bones did, but better. Their songs are even catchier, I don't know how to describe them, but they kind of remind me of Library Voices a bit. I can't really tell you what all they played because I never heard the songs before. But I picked up some of their stuff and I recognize some tunes. Like "The Gift of a Black Heart" and "This City's a Mess." And "Camilo (The Magician)", this song was seriously stuck in my head and when I got home I absolutely had to find out what it was called. They had great energy on stage and weren't afraid to talk to the crowd, their big story was about how they played a hockey game with TPC earlier that day. And they ended with a ukulele!
So after Said the Whale I knew one of two things. Either Tokyo Police Club was somehow going to pull off being even better and this could possibly be one of the best shows I've attended in my life. Or they would slightly underwhelm me, which was sadly the case. Not that they were bad, but Said the Whale stole the show for me. Of course, I'm not the biggest TPC fan either. I really like some of their songs and I can enjoy their records, but I feel like they're just a tiny bit overrated. Just a bit.
And this show just proved my point I guess. It was very less talk, more rock. It also got better as time passed, the second half of their set was the best by far. It was also filled with most of their singles, which the crowd seemed especially excited to hear. Like "Your English Is Good," "Wait Up (Boots of Danger)" and "Bambi." And "Frankenstein" which is one of my favourites off of Champ by far. Their guitar player really knows how to shake a tambourine, it's actually quite amusing and probably my favourite thing about their performance. They ended with "Cheer It On."
Honestly, after ages of going to nothing but pop-punk shows and seeing bands like Protest the Hero, this show was incredibly refreshing. And it made me realize even more just how much amazing music is being made in Canada right now. Would I still like to see my favourite American punk bands? Yeah. But we have plenty of good music up here too and I look forward to seeing more of it.
I went to go see Protest the Hero on Wednesday and as I thought about it, they're the band I've seen play the most times. It all started back in 2004 when they blew me away opening up for Sum 41. And based on that performance it's no surprise they've gone on to become one of our country's most beloved bands. Yeah, the guys write amazing songs and are pros at their instruments. But Rody is what has always stolen the show for me. I really think he's one of the best front men to take the stage. Ever.
It was great as always, not that I was expecting any less. Compared to the last time I saw them headline, the show was smaller. In fact, the WECC is probably the smallest venue I've seen Protest the Hero play, but I don't think it's their fault. People in this city just aren't going to shows like they used to it seems. And since I like intimate shows better, I didn't really mind that much.
They played quite a diverse set, with about equal parts of everything from all three records. And everything got a great reception, they kicked the show off with "C'est la Vie" and everyone seemed to know the words so that was cool. Their new record's amazing and it's good to see the crowd recognize that too. But the best sing along of the night had to go to "Turn Soonest to the Sea." It was just awesome to have everyone shouting "No woman, no woman, no woman, no woman, is a whore!" Awesome.
I don't have an exact set-list because my memory sucks and I don't have a smart phone to keep track of this stuff easily. But this is what they played, it's not all in the right order, but they played these songs if you care. They're still not doing encores. But I don't really get the appeal of encores either:
C’est la Vie
The Reign of Unending Terror
Turn Soonest to the Sea
No Stars Over Bethlehem
Limb from Limb
Compared to previous shows, Rody's toned down his craziness a bit. I mean, he still came out on stage and called us all motherfuckers. And his first "skit" was bashing the Juno Awards that happened this past weekend, but still not as outrageous as what he's said in the past. Which goes either way for me. It's pretty hard for me to get offended, but I know people do.
As for the opening bands? I think a lot of people are going to disagree with my verdict. I never heard of Tesseract before, but I quickly learned they were from the UK and they were OK. Maylene and the Sons of Disaster I heard of before. They were also OK and the crowd dug them, but I'm not a big fan of that stuff so I wasn't overly impressed. Both bands just played their instruments and barely interacted with the crowd. I know I've ranted on this before, but I like it when bands try and entertain you, not just play their instruments. Like PTH does! I've definitely seen them on better packages, the last time I saw them headline it was with Sick City, The Fall of Troy and Craig Owens Chiodos. All of which don't exist anymore! But they can hold their own so I don't care that much.
I interviewed Arif and Rody before the show too. It will be posted here on Wednesday so watch out for it.
Compared to a lot of people, I'm a very casual Alexisonfire fan since I've never entirely fallen in love with any of their records. But the show they played at the Burton Cummings on December 9th, 2007 with Anti-Flag, Saosin and The Bled is still one of the best shows I've seen in my life. And the main reason why is because of the amazing encore where Alexisonfire invited everyone on stage for one massive sing along. Everyone was totally engaged and before long the guys made their way into the crowd giving high-fives. And George decided the people in the first balcony needed some fun too so he basically hoisted himself up there. If you've never been to that venue, it's hard to explain, but let's just say he was lucky he didn't fall and crack his head open. Never before have I experienced a moment like that at a show and three years later I still look back on it with a smile. These guys were playing an old, seated, plush theatre, but they made it feel like a small, intimate, basement show anyway. This show was still good, but it was lacking that grand finale. Kids still came on stage, even though George picked them up and threw them back a lot of the time and it just wasn't the same. Last time not a single person was seated, this time some of the crowd was lacking that enthusiasm. Especially in the first balcony where I was, almost everyone was seated and that was not the case for NOFX in April.
When you discount all of that though, you still have a solid set and a tight performance from the band. They played for an hour and a half opening with "Young Cardinals" and closing with their hit "This Could Be Anywhere in the World." In between "Dog's Blood," "We Are The Sound," and "Rough Hands" were just some of the songs they played. Again the encore proved to be one of the set's highest points. They dusted off an old favourite, "Water Wings," from my obsessive MuchMusic watching days. And for "Accidents" Kenny Bridges from Moneen made a guest appearance and did the vocals. It was a very suprising treat from the split the two bands did many years ago.
There are lots of bands that I don't get live. Norma Jean is one of them and I expect to get a lot of hate for it. They didn't sound awful, I just can't get into that type of music and their set did nothing to convince me otherwise.
La Dispute are a band I've been excited to see and I hope Winnipeg treated them well and someone was able to put them up for the night. Sadly they had some sound problems when the vocals cut out, but they just shrugged it off and kept on playing anyway. And even more sadly, they looked out of place for a lot of their set. It's probably because they aren't used to playing to a large crowd sitting in seats and staring at them, but still. They chose a good set and it was nice to finally see "Said the King to the River" live.
So I went to the show last night at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg and thought I'd write a little bit about it:
Fake Problems kicked things off at 8 with a short set. The band didn't really say much between songs, they just concentrated on playing tunes like "Heart BPM" and "Heartless." They also played a new song called "Soulless." Just a heads up that the band has their new record, Real Ghosts Caught on Tape, available at the merch table for just five dollars so you can grab it before September 21st if you're attending upcoming shows. The band sounded great live, just like on recordings, and even if there wasn't a whole lot of crowd interaction their set was worth showing up early for.
Next up were The Menzingers and they started their fast paced, energetic set off with "I Was Born," a song off of their recent record Chamberlain Waits. Then they did an older one, "They Speak of My Drinking, But Never Of My Thirst," before launching into "Time Tables," one of my favourite songs written in 2010. They continued to play a mixture of old and new, ending their set with "A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology." It's pretty hard to listen to the opening line of that song and not have it stuck in your head. It would have been nice to have seen them outside of a theatre filled with red seats, but their set was awesome regardless. I got to meet up with them before the show for an interview so expect that to be posted sooner than later.
And of course, The Gaslight Anthem were the headliners who I saw play at a smaller venue in October 2009. It's not very often American bands come back to isolated cities in western Canada so soon, but it's a welcome change and I hope more bands follow their example. The band walked out on stage to Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" and then launched into "American Slang."
Last time they played all of The '59 Sound. 11 months later their set is much more diverse and they seemed to fit in a little bit of everything, probably thanks to the new record. The stage set-up was also similar, just a different banner hanging in the back and the band played just as good as they did before. The main difference was Brian Fallon wasn't as talkative between songs. Some people don't care about that, but I really like the crowd interaction. I remember the stories he told very faintly and this time he just made some general comments about the show. He did bring a girl on stage who had made a sign and driven in from Saskatoon though. If you don't know your Canadian geography, that's in Saskatchewan and at least an 8 hour drive. I don't follow sports at all, but I'm guessing the Bombers lost this weekend because the crowd booed her. Brian also got rid of his guitar a few times, like for "Old White Lincoln" where he focused on singing the song and being an energetic front man, giving high fives to people in the small standing area in front of the stage.
For the encore, Brian came out on stage by himself with a guitar, said it had been some time since he did this and then he launched into "1930." The other guys came out for about seven other songs, ending with "The Backseat" just like last time. I think this set-list is accurate for the most part, but I could be wrong. All in all, it was a great show and even though I saw them less than a year ago, I felt it was worth it:
I don't know why it's cold and it rains EVERY TIME there's a music festival with good bands. But it does, it was the exact same thing at Rock on the Range last year when I went for Rancid, Rise Against and Billy Talent. And earlier this May, when I was going to see The All Night at Skate4Cancer, it rained so hard my basement flooded for the first time ever. I was hoping for a hot, sunny day like the ones we had earlier this week, but it turned to be the worst weather I've experienced since I left Munich for Naples this summer. Ugh.
Despite the weather though, Red River Rampage was a decent time. I have to give James Lee Productions credit for bringing Winnipeg one of the closest things it's gotten to the Warped Tour. Plus tickets are only about $25 or $30 if I remember correctly so it's a good deal. I'm glad I went to support the show and the bands. And maybe we'll even get our own Warped someday, because if a smaller, isolated city like Saskatoon got it there's no reason why we can't sometime, haha. There were some things Red River Rampage could have done better and that's what stopped people I know who love the bands from attending. Hopefully with some changes something like this can be an annual thing.
For one, the venue. The headliners are going across Canada in September playing venues like the Garrick, which hold under 1000 people. Why they felt the need to rent out the Red River Ex grounds is a little silly. For those not from here, that place is used to hold a gigantic fair/midway every June. Not to mention it's practically outside of the city so getting there takes a lot of effort. Now I have to admit I'm not too sure where we could have this. Canad Inns Stadium was on the bigger side, but it was OK for Rock on the Range and at least it was in a central area of the city. I'd like to see something like this in Assiniboine Park because I live so close, but closing down the park probably wouldn't be an easy thing to do.
For another, they didn't bother to book any bands that don't already play Winnipeg all the time, pretty much everyone played at least one show here within the last 12 months. Don't get me wrong, I love Cancer Bats, Comeback Kid, A Wilhelm Scream, High Five Drive and illScarlett, but it would be nice to see at least one other band play with them. The closest I got to that was SNFU. Maybe AFI could have played? They were supposed to do a show in December, but they cancelled and never made it up. They don't even have to be big, I'd be more than stoked with the Dopamines.
I guess I sound bitter, but whatever. The highlight of my day was seeing Cancer Bats play, finally seeing High Five Drive (even though they were only OK) and Comeback Kid. I hope you're all planning to see them this fall/winter because it's going to be worth it! I met up with Andrew to do an interview for this site and you can expect to read it on Aug.30th, a day before Symptoms + Cures comes out. He also helped me out with my Smallman retrospective and it means A LOT to me to get support from him. Everything is slowly coming together, I was on the phone with Adam from The Reason earlier this week and I'm happy with the quality of the interviews. I don't know if I'm going to finish it by March if I want this to be 110% amazing, which sucks for my IPP proposal requirements. But as long as I'm able to get on stage at the Park Theatre and feel really proud about the whole thing and read some awesome excerpts that's all I need to feel like it was a success.
I started remembering all the shows I've been to and it turns out there is 46 of them. I've mentioned the ones I've been to since I was made staff here, but these are the 40 that came before that. If you care, I can't believe I was bored enough to make this list up. Good memories though:
Sum 41, Billy Talent, Flashlight Brown at the Burton Cummings Theatre in May 2003
First show ever! And Sum 41 was my favourite band at the time.
Sum 41, Treble Charger at Grand Beach Entertainment Centre in June 2003
Because I loved Sum 41 so much and my sister’s friend was going, I tagged along to this festival, but Sum 41 quit playing early because of the mosquitoes. Treble Charger ruled though.
Jane’s Addiction, Audioslave, Incubus at Fiddler’s Green in August 2003
My sister got lawn tickets to Lollapalooza when I was visiting her in Denver and we went in the evening because it was really hot. I only really liked Incubus.
Sum 41, Protest the Hero, Bombs Over Providence at the University of Manitoba in September 2004
Because I loved Sum 41 and tickets were under $20 I went to this. And I discovered Protest the Hero, who has gone on to be one of my favourite bands.
Green Day, My Chemical Romance at the MTS Centre in May 2005
I really had to convince my dad to let me go, but I’m glad I did because this show ruled. Green Day are the best band I’ve seen in an arena by far.
Fall Out Boy, Silverstein, Atreyu, Thrice, Gogol Bordello, The Offpsring at Invesco Field in July 2005
This was Warped Tour and I always wanted to go ever since I head Blink talk about it. So my sister took me when I visited her in Denver one year because it never comes here. I had a good time, but 15-year-old me was devastated FOB didn’t do a signing that day. I know it's lame, but to this day I still really want to meet Pete Wentz.
Saves the Day, Moneen, Circa Survive at the Garrick in April 2006
All I remember is that Circa Survive was amazing live.
Social Code, random local bands at the Collective in the summer of 2006
My friend asked me to come and she had a free ticket so I couldn't say no. This show didn't make me appreciate Social Code. And that one band Servants of Society sure liked hanging out with 16-year-old girls for dudes in their 20's.
Comeback Kid, Sick City, Regret, Dirty Work at the Garrick in February 2007
This was Comeback Kid’s CD release show and it was a cool time. The first show I ever attended as a writer for that Winnipeg Free Press site for high school students.
Taking Back Sunday, Underoath, Armor For Sleep at the Burton Cummings Theatre in March 2007
I had the best seats I’ve ever had there for this show. I was in love with Where You Want To Be at the time too so I was really excited to see TBS.
The Used, 30 Seconds to Mars, Senses Fail, Saosin, Aiden, Chiodos at the Winnipeg Convention Centre in April 2007
My first Taste of Chaos. I thought the Used would suck, but they were really good. It was 30 Seconds to Mars and Saosin I hated. Aiden was just funny.
Set Your Goals, Daggermouth, No Trigger, Hostage Life, Dirty Work at the Collective in May 2007
One of the best line-ups ever, too bad the show was really small. I just chilled out right by Dave of SYG when they were playing. And I tried my recorder for the first time because I interviewed Kenny from Daggermouth.
My Chemical Romance, The Bled at the MTS Centre in May 2007
The Winnipeg Free Press gave me a free ticket for the press box so I went. It was OK, but I hated being so far away.
Protest the Hero, All That Remains, Blessthefall at the Garrick in May 2007
This was part of Tour and Loathing and it reminded me how much I love Protest the Hero live.
Ten Second Epic at the Park Theatre in August 2007
I only went because my friend wanted to go, but then it sold out so she couldn’t get in and the Free Press couldn’t get me a +1. They were surprisingly good and covered Third Eye Blind so it wasn’t a total waste though.
Strung Out, A Wilhelm Scream, I Am Ghost at the Garrick in August 2007
Mostly guys in their late 20’s, early 30’s and they all hated I Am Ghost. My friend and I were the only underage girls, haha. Except for this one kid who was only there for I Am Ghost.
Boys Night Out, Sick City, Sights & Sounds, Living With Lions at the West End Cultural Centre in September 2007
It’s true, Boys Night Out really do suck live. Still love their CDs though. Sick City ruled. And so did a very young Living With Lions.
Boys Like Girls, All Time Low, The Audition, Valencia at the Garrick in November 2007
I hated Boys Like Girls. But the rest of the bands were good. The only problem was it was filled with 14-year-old girls. Even as a 17-year-old girl I felt old, haha.
Alexisonfire, Anti-Flag, Saosin, The Bled at the Burton Cummings Theatre in December 2007
I still hated Saosin. But I loved Anti-Flag and Alexisonfire ruled. They invited everyone on stage and George climbed up to the second balcony, not using the stairs. The Bled were OK, I love how the Winnipeg winter scared them and they dropped off the tour after this show.
Silverstein, Protest the Hero, illScarlett at the Garrick in February 2008
Rody played this show in a skirt or dress, I can’t remember which. illScarlett was awesome. I missed the Devil Wears Prada, but I don’t think I missed much.
Henry Rollins at the Burton Cummings Theatre in March 2008
Not music, but Henry is amazing. Everyone should go listen to him talk for a few hours at least once. I can relate to what he says so much.
Protest the Hero, Chiodos, The Fall of Troy, Sick City at the Burton Cummings Theatre in April 2008
Another great show from PTH. I liked all the other bands too.
Coheed and Cambria, Baroness at the Burton Cummings Theatre in May 2008
Worst show I’ve ever been to by far. Baroness was awful. Coheed looked so bored, my friend and I actually considered leaving early. And I really do like their music so it hurts to say that.
The Flatliners, Carpenter at the Albert in June 2008
First bar show! Except I had to go to school in the morning and left after the Flatliners so I missed Strike Anywhere. The main reason I went was to interview Carpenter though.
Motion City Soundtrack, The Spill Canvas, Sing It Loud at the Garrick in July 2008
MCS chose an amazing set-list and Sing it Loud were OK. I wasn’t really feeling the Spill Canvas though, I know I’m in the minority.
A Wilhelm Scream, Living With Lions at the Pyramid in July 2008
Good show, would have been better if I didn’t forget my ID at first though.
Lagwagon, MxPx, TAT at the Pyramid in September 2008
Got my first pick ever at this show! And the line-up was amazing, TAT turned out to be really good. More girls need to be playing the electric guitar.
Anti-Flag, The A.K.A.s, The Creepshow, One Second 2 Late at the Garrick in September 2008
Loved Anti-Flag, but I felt the openers weren’t as good.
Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, The Flatliners, The Real Deal at the Garrick in September 2008
Less Than Jake is probably one of the best live bands ever. So much fun! I still don't like Reel Big Fish though.
Carpenter, Living With Lions, Aspirations at the Cavern in November 2008
This show was really small, it just felt like a party. Even though Matt from LWL lost his voice, it barely even mattered. Carpenter ruled and it was cool to see Stu show off what he was doing after Daggermouth.
Anberlin, Madina Lake, Between the Trees at the Garrick in January 2009
I know a lot of people love Anberlin, but I just can’t get into them much and this show didn’t help. It was still better than Coheed and Cambria though so that’s saying a lot.
Gob at the Albert in February 2009
Gob played all the old favourites and this show was absolutely amazing. I can’t remember who was supposed to open though... I think it was the Johnstones.
Underoath, Norma Jean, Innerpartysystem at the Garrick in March 2009
Just an interview with Underoath brought me out to this show. I’m not a big fan of any of the bands.
Thursday, Bring Me the Horizon, Pierce the Veil, Four Year Strong, Cancer Bats, FAME at the Garrick in April 2009
My second Taste of Chaos. Over half the crowd left after Bring Me the Horizon so Thursday almost played to an empty room. BMTH were awful, it was crazy seeing how much the crowd was into them. Oh, and Cancer Bats ruled.
No Use For a Name, Only Crime at the Albert in May 2009
Sadly missed Pour Habit, but NUFAN are one of the best live Fat Wreck bands.
Misery Signals, Dead and Divine, Haste the Day, Architects, Sights & Sounds at the Garrick in May 2009
Went to interview Andrew, but ended up staying for the whole thing. It was OK, small crowd for the Garrick.
Billy Talent, Rise Against, Rancid, Theory of a Deadman, Anvil, Silverstein, Inward Eye at Canad Inns Stadium in June 2009
I can’t believe I willingly saw Theory of a Deadman, but they played before Rancid at this Rock on the Range festival that was held on one of the rainiest days of the year. Rancid were the best band that day and worth it though.
Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, All American Rejects at the MTS Centre in August 2009
The crowd during Blink-182 absolutely ruined their set for me. But Fall Out Boy was awesome and deserved to headline that night. Yeah, you heard me.
Protest the Hero, Between the Buried and Me at the Winnipeg Convention Centre in September 2009
Only went to interview Rody and see PTH, they opened up for Killswitch Engage so I couldn’t be bothered to stay.
A Day to Remember, Ten Second Epic, I Am Committing a Sin, Brendan Rivera at the Garrick in September 2009
I actually like A Day to Remember so I went to see them. Silverstein were headlining, but with a CreComm schedule I didn’t feel like staying and I saw them in June anyway.
Edit: Forgot about Misery Signals, the Smallman Records retrospective made me remember, haha.
Before I begin, I just want to say I didn’t get to sit down with Tony Sly after all due to time constraints so if you saw this post and cared, I’m sorry.
Anyway, wearing all black, Tony Sly hit the stage for 20 minutes and opened with “Via Munich” then went straight into “Already Won.” Of course, most of the songs came from his debut solo record 12 Song Program and they sounded great in a live setting, especially one like the Burton Cummings Theatre. Filled with red, plush seats, it’s not the typical place you’d expect to see a punk show, but it worked well for his set.
I’m sure he was expecting to get heckled for No Use For a Name songs, which he did. “I’m just here to make the other guys more punk,” he said before launching into an acoustic version of “Justified Black Eye” off of Leche Con Carne, giving them what they wanted. Earlier on in his set he played “Soulmate,” which is one of my personal favourites from NUFAN. His voice sounded amazing as always and with nothing more than his acoustic guitar, he proved he really is one of punk’s better vocalists that night.
Next up were Teenage Bottlerocket, one of Fat’s newer bands and they killed it when they opened with “Skate or Die,” a song that will get stuck in your head with just one listen. Their bassist Miguel was banging his head throughout most of the set just like he does in the video for that song. Ray nearly did the splits a few times while strumming away at his guitar too.
Then they played “Radio,” which might remind you just a bit of the Ramones. After playing “Forbidden Planet” the band stopped to acknowledge Winnipeg’s own Propagandhi and attempted to cover one of their songs in honour of them. They went through an impressive amount of tunes like “Welcome to the Nuthouse,” “Blood Bath at Burger King,” and “On My Own,” but when you specialize in 2 minute pop-punk songs, it's not surprising they squeezed a lot in. Just like their records, it seems like it was over just as it began, not that it’s a bad thing though. And despite the seats, they got a little pogo-party going.
The headliners of the night were none other than NOFX and I have to say they put on one of the more entertaining shows I’ve ever seen. Forget the phrase "less talk, more rock" because they love to talk and I think it’s great. While there are a few bands that can pull off the silent treatment, shows are usually a lot more fun when you get the interaction bands like NOFX give. If I just wanted to listen to their songs, I’d probably just stay home.
And not to anyone’s surprise, Fat Mike started off the set by talking, not playing a song. The stage set-up was pretty bare, but it didn't matter because they didn't need anything flashy to start the show off. He decided to tell the crowd what felching was and acknowledged this 11-year-old kid who was right up front, dancing like crazy and just having a blast before heading into “Dinosaurs Will Die.”
I was impressed with all their Winnipeg banter. I’m not too sure if they know this much about every city they play, or if it’s just because Kent and Limo apparently used to live here, but it was awesome. Bif Naked, Stretch Marks, The Royal Albert Arms, mosquito jokes, these guys knew their stuff. In fact, the longest they ever kept quiet was when they launched into the NOFX classic “The Decline.” El Hefe played the trombone and the crowd’s energy was insane.
For “Reeko,” Fat Mike started playing guitar instead of bass and then they played another off of Punk in Drublic called “Leave It Alone.” Between songs Fat Mike put a bra on Melvin and religious beliefs were made fun of before “Leaving Jesusland.” El Hefe brought out his trumpet after and then the guys began making fun of each other on stage with jokes like: “What did the Mexican kid get for Christmas? My bike.” for "Arming the Proletariat with Potato Guns." Not the funniest perhaps, but it proves just how eager they are to make lame jokes about themselves.
For the encore, Melvin started singing a bit of that Black Eyed Peas “I Got a Feeling” song and got booed. Fat Mike gave his lecture of the night when he said don’t do drugs until you’re 30 or a millionaire. Then they said they’d be back in 3 years, El Hefe brought out his trumpet again and they played “Kill All The White Man.” But even that wasn’t it since “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” started playing. It was hilarious to watch Fat Mike try to dance and El Hefe did a cartwheel. It was a fun way to end an already entertaining show and you could tell they were having a blast too, which is just as awesome.
Since I did interviews with Chris from The Flatliners and Ty from Broadway Calls, I didn’t catch as much of the show as I normally would have. So why am I blogging about it, then? Well, it's been awhile since I made a news post announcing this tour and I want to give all the bands an extra shout-out at the very least. So now, if you care enough to read my experience, you can. And if you've been as well, I'd love to hear from you:
They are a local band that only played the Winnipeg show and they were OK from what I caught, which was the last 2 songs and the bass intro to “Longview” by Green Day. I don’t really want to write more because I barely saw anything to judge.
These guys played a fun, fast paced set when they kicked things off with “Back to the Youth.” The crowd was pretty mellow, but they were able to connect to the crowd and get a small circle pit going near the end. They pulled out their Spanish with “!Hasta Los Cobra Skulls Siempre!” which was a pleasant surprise and they kept on going with “The Cobra and the Man-Whore,” “Thicker Than Water,” “Honorary Discharge Under The Influence,” “Rebel Fate,” and “The Streets of Cairo” among others.
The second I got a promo copy of their self-titled from Smallman Records back in 2007, I’ve been a gigantic Broadway Calls fan so I was especially excited to finally see them. And I can happily say they sounded great and their set didn’t disappoint me at all. The crowd was still a little timid, it was the type of situation where you didn’t have to push anyone or get there early to be right up against the stage. It sucks because these guys deserve to play to a packed room. But because it was so small, it felt like they were playing just for me in a way so that made the set all that much more memorable.
As for the set-list, there was no way I was going anywhere during their set and it’s as follows:
I’m terrible and missed some of their set to finish up the interview with Ty, but in my defence I’ve seen this band a ton of times since they always play Winnipeg and they often open up for other bands coming through too. I’ll never forget seeing them with Less Than Jake in 2008, that’s still one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Plus, I'd like to think both interviews will more than make up for this not very detailed blog.
Anyway, they were just as energetic and crazy as ever and the crowd finally really started to liven up for the first time that night. “July! August! Reno!” “This Respirator” and “Eulogy” should give you a brief taste of what they played. Thankfully I caught some new songs like “Carry the Banner” and “Bleed” and they sounded great live too. Cavalcade just came out on Tuesday after all and it's one of the many records worth picking up this past week.
Went to the show last night, here's my take on it:
After playing a surprise show just weeks earlier at a small bar called The Albert, it's weird to see them move up behind a gigantic barridade at the MTS Centre. They still killed it though, as they kicked off their shorter set with "Hail Destroyer" and played other tracks like "Lucifer's Rocking Chair," "Pneumonia Hawk" and of course their Beastie Boys cover "Sabotage" among others. The venue was still pretty empty for their set, but the ones that made an effort to show up early didn't seem let down at all. The interview with Liam went well, expect it in 2-3 weeks along with the one with Alan from Four Year Strong. I was told that a headlining tour will be happening around this fall so get excited for that!
It took me awhile to really appreciate Against Me! and Tom Gabel's voice, but once I did I was hooked. Because of this, I also missed them when they've come through in the past so it was nice to finally see them. With the awesome album art for White Crosses hanging, they walked on to "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" and tore right into "Rapid Decompression." Even though it just leaked, they played a lot more new songs than I was expecting. Even "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" which totally made me smile. They are one of the few bands that truly sound better live than on recordings and it made up for the fact that they barely talked to the crowd:
I saw this band headline the Burton Cummings Theatre in 2007 and near the end it turned into a gigantic party. They invited everyone on stage, ran through the crowd and George even climbed up to the second balcony, without using the stairs. I have never seen a band get the crowd so involved and create such an intimate performance. They simply played last night though and while I'm not surprised at all, I know that this band can be capable of a much more with a longer set and a better venue. That's my only complaint however, they still sounded great and stuck to a lot of their newer stuff. They still haven't headlined Canada in support of Old Crows/Young Cardinals so it made sense:
There were lots of kids and parents at the show last night waiting for this band and it kind of reminded me of when I saw Billy Talent back in 2003 when I was in grade 7. Mind you, their debut wasn't released and I was there for Sum 41 but still, it's a much different vibe than the shows I usually go to. You can hate on Billy Talent for making the same record all you want, but I'm happy to see how far they've gone. At least in Canada, the United States still hasn't caught on to one of our most popular bands. And really, no other band even comes close to sounding like them.
Anyway, they kicked off the show with "Devil in a Midnight Mass." Ben is still an amusing frontman and I like how he's not afraid to talk to the crowd. He held up an 87 jersey and talked about Canada taking the gold for hockey, just as an example. And someone in the pit brought a Canadian flag with them and was holding it up so that was pretty awesome. Of course, the MTS Centre started to get crazy too. I guess a man punched a woman in the face and I'm not surprised at all. Whenever you go to that arena, you can be assured people will get hurt.
The highlight was probably when Tom Gabel from Against Me! came up to sing "Turn Your Back" with Ben. He said that never happened before, but I think he was just saying that. Anyone confirm? The lights and stuff were basic and just OK. Ian added on an awesome, slightly longer solo to "Devil On My Shoulder," the second last song of the night so that was cool. Anyway, here is the set list: