Going into this show it was interesting to see just how many people would show up, especially because you can never be sure how the crowd will react in Winnipeg. I've seen Sharks, Thursday, Cobra Skulls, Broadway Calls, Dave Hause, Tony Sly and more play to an almost empty room and that's always a bummer because you know the band doesn't really have a reason to come back, especially when the city is so isolated in the first place. Thankfully that didn't happen with Title Fight and Winnipeggers were stoked to see them so I'm sure they'll be back sooner than later. After such a slow year, 2013 is already starting to look up and hopefully the city can welcome more bands like this during the next 11 months.
Title Fight kicked things off with "Secret Society" from Floral Green and mostly let the music speak for itself. Out of the four, bassist/vocalist Ned Russin was the most entertaining to watch live and while he didn't say much in between songs he did apologize for not making it to western Canada sooner. Other new tracks like "Leaf" made the cut, but so did older ones like "Memorial Field" and "27." "Numb, But I Still Feel It" is a song I always have to blast when it comes on shuffle and being able to hear it live was a definite highlight. The crowd went wild throughout the set and there was a ton of stage diving, even though the volunteers at the WECC seemed to disapprove. People were also shouting for an encore when the approximately 45 minute set was over.
As usual, Living With Lions played another entertaining set. This is the first time the band has officially played Winnipeg as a four piece with Chase taking over vocal duties and while his voice isn't as low there wasn't a huge difference. Bill took on the backing vocals and it mostly sounded like the Living With Lions everyone already knows and loves. It's a bit of a bummer that Stu's no longer in the band because he really was a great front man, but the band proved it is possible to make it work as a four piece and they're still one of my favourites making music in Canada right now. Sometimes the guitar was a little bit sloppy as Chase sang, but it's still earlier in the transition and I expect the band will be more polished when they return. The set began with "Pieces" and then launched into the next three tracks on Holy Shit. The latest record was where most of the songs came from, but they still fit in "Later is Better," "Cold Coffee," and "A Bottle of Charades" at the end. The set was less talk, more rock as usual, but Chase did acknowledge it had been ages since they had been in Winnipeg, which was true. The band played three shows here in 2011, but no shows in 2012, so seeing them within the first two weeks of 2013 was long overdue for sure.
Dangercat seems to be quite popular in this city and brought out a decent sized crowd who seemed to know the songs from Where I'll Be, which was released through The Newform Label last year. It will be interesting to see what happens with this band in 2013 and if audiences outside of Winnipeg latch onto them. There were a number of people who showed up for Distances as well, another band that gives me some faith in our local music scene. They seem to sound way better live than on the recordings so that means I might have to give that EP another chance soon.
I ended up missing Brighter Brightest when they were in town two weeks ago and in some ways I'm kind of glad because this show on their way back to Toronto appealed to me a lot more. Mostly because of the venue, I don't really like The Park Theatre, but The Death Trap is awesome. I've seen the most shows there this year and it's quickly becoming one of my favourites in Winnipeg. We needed a small all-ages venue and this more than delivers.
Plus the opening local bands appealed to me a lot more this time too. First up was The All Night, one of those guys is an AbsolutePunk member and has sent me numerous private messages so it was cool to finally see his band. They were pretty decent, I had to miss some of it because of an interview with the headliner, but from what I caught I enjoyed. Recognized songs like "Wasp Country" since I ended up with their EP through my work placement at Uptown in January. Next was Dangercat who I caught with Living With Lions. Their set didn't change much, there was more moshing, but that was about it. Apparently they have a new drummer too. It was good though.
And Brighter Brightest, they had a pretty good turnout and sounded great. They sounded a little rough performing on MuchMusic a few weeks back, but that certainly wasn't the case last night. They kicked off their set with "All I Know" and "Everyday," which are the first two songs off of Right For Me. They continued with new songs before launching into a cover of "You Know How I Do" by Taking Back Sunday. It sounded awesome and I hope they release a recording of it sometime. That's who I think of when I listen to this band so it was the perfect fit in many ways. I don't think of The Maine, I think of TBS, Fall Out Boy, The Starting Line and Brand New's Your Favorite Weapon. They're bringing back the sound AbsolutePunk was founded on and unlike countless other bands they actually do it justice. They tossed in "Welcome Home" off of their EP, which is the first song I heard by them. And then they closed with the title track "Right For Me." It was a very intimate set and I'm really glad I got to experience it. I think these guys have the potential to blow up in Canada and while I'll go see them regardless, I do prefer my shows like this.
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.