So we already have a few New Found Glory show reviews on this website, but I still felt compelled to write one on my day off because this was New Found Glory's first show in Winnipeg and the first official tour across Canada. I don't know why they skipped over us the last 16 years, but I'm not really angry as much as I'm happy that they've finally seen the light. Aside from attempting to promote my favourite Canadian bands, I've always tried to promote the country in general because there's so much potential up here. I don't know if anyone actually listens to me, but that's seriously one of the main reasons I've remained a staff member here at AbsolutePunk. Most of the time Winnipeg puts on some pretty awesome shows and the more bands realize this the better. Last night was a huge success and I can only hope for the same when The Wonder Years finally get up here on June 8.
Living With Lions were up first and they were awesome as always. I've written it a million times, but I will never, ever, ever get sick of seeing those guys. There were too many people sitting way back in the seats, which I thought was crazy because this band plays Winnipeg all the time and I think that anyone who's into pop-punk should love them. But there was still an enthusiastic and dedicated bunch of us up at the front so I guess it didn't matter that much anyway. The guys sounded even better than they did in January, which I thought they would as they've continued to perform more shows as a four piece. They ended up playing a new song off the new 7" called "My Winter Vacation" and it sounded really good. It starts off with a cool bassline from Bill and I think everyone should love it. If you've seriously been a huge fan of this band since 2007 like I have I don't know how you can all of a sudden turn your back on them now. They mostly played stuff off of Holy Shit, plus the occasional choice cut from Make Your Mark and Dude Manor. It was a good set and of course it ended with "A Bottle of Charades."
Cartel is another American band that's never seen the Canadian prairies and it was cool to finally see them. I listened to Chroma a lot back in the day and then I started to lose some interest, but I have to admit the show last night made me want to take another listen. It was a pretty simple set, they mostly just stood around and played their songs, but they sounded great and they truly write some really catchy hooks. I enjoyed hearing "Deep South" live and of course it was cool to finally here "Honestly" too. More people showed up to see Cartel and they seemed into it. I noticed someone even made a sign that seemed to be filled with song requests for the band to play.
Lastly it was time for New Found Glory and the band honestly put on one of the better sets I've seen in awhile. I also think it's important to note that Sticks and Stones wasn't one of the records that got me into the genre, I've always thought some of their songs were catchy and that's about it, though that didn't stop me from immensely enjoying the show last night. As a casual listener of New Found Glory, I left the Garrick with a new sense of respect for that band that I didn't have before. They really know how to put on a really good performance and it basically boils down to 2 factors.
For one thing the show was just incredibly energetic. I was feeling pretty exhausted by the time they went on, probably because I was standing around all day at my retail job, but the second they ran out onstage and launched into "Understatement" I felt like I had drank 10 cups of coffee. It feels kind of corny writing that, but I don't know how you can't feel pumped by watching that band play. I'm not going to go into too much detail about the set-list because that's what this site is for. I will say that we got a second encore and they didn't end up playing "Kiss Me" even though it was on the set-list that was taped right in front of me on the stage. They put everything they had into every song and it was really awesome to see.
Secondly I really liked that it was intimate and they didn't bother putting up a barrier. Some bands do when they play the Garrick and in some ways I can understand their decision. Near the end of the set during "Hit or Miss" some drunk bro pushed his way to the front and threw beer right into Ian's face. I don't know how often that happens, but I feel like I have to apologize on behalf of Winnipeg because that was such an asshole move. That's why bands hire security and put up huge barriers, but I'm sort of glad that NFG doesn't seem to allow the one idiot in the crowd to ruin it for everyone. All of the guys were really great about interacting with the crowd, Ian even handed me one of his guitar picks by placing it on my head, of all places. It's been a long time since I've brought home a souvenir from a show so that made the night even better in some ways. I was pushed up against the stage for the whole thing and I wouldn't have had it any other way. The best shows are always the ones where you feel like you're part of something, not just a random spectator watching from a distance. NFG definitely delivers that experience and that's why you should go see them.
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 went to go see Living With Lions again today. They couldn't find a real venue, I guess The Death Trap is gone. Surprisingly I found out through a fellow staffer who read about it through the comments on Punknews. So I don't know why it shut down, I know it had a few issues, but it did the job and booked some awesome punk bands during its short existence. Instead they did a free in-store at this tiny record shop in Osborne Village called Music Trader. Luckily for me my class was done at 3:45 so I was able to walk there just in time to catch their set.
I was wondering if it was going to be acoustic and just a few songs, but no, they set up their gear and played a full set to around 25 people. They're heading back to Vancouver and they decided to do some shows on the way back from Toronto so it's cool they thought of us. Because I'd love LWL either way, but part of my love stems from the fact that they never forget Winnipeg. A lot of American bands they're lumped with skip us every single tour, but they never do and I'm so thankful for that. It would be nice to see the crowds grow a bit, I love seeing them play in such an intimate setting, but they deserve bigger things. They are my favourite band making music in Canada right now.
Stu told us Bill drank his piss, but that was about the extent of the banter. I didn't get the full set, but here's an idea of what they played. And a shitty picture, the only thing that sucks about no stage is the fact that people block your view unless you're a giant:
Maple Drive Is Still Alive
She's a Hack
A Bottle of Charades
Rough Around the Edges
Whatever You Want
The only thing that sucked was I was too shy to introduce myself. I really need to stop being so quiet, I think 2012 is going to be the first year I do something about this because I'm starting to realize I have a serious problem.
EDIT: I was just flipping through the University of Winnipeg newspaper and I was surprised to find an article that answered my question. The Death Trap shut down because of money and lack of community support. Doesn't surprise me, but it's still a bummer.
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.