Ruder than Rudie
This show had a lot of promise with the band line-up and the bands did not disappoint. Grand Skam is another band that I had never seen live but have heard good things about. Their set started off slow but once they got going, the tail end of their set I thought was pretty good. The band played with a lot of energy once they got going and I find that is important when performing. Thanks to Dawn, a friend of one of the band members for helping to hand out flyers.
This was my third time seeing The Makeshift Heroes perform, and each time that I see them I enjoy them more and more. Not only is their horn section easy on the eyes, but they, along with the rest of the band come out to perform for the audience every time they hit the stage. I really like the sound of Benís voice, an important component when listening to any band I guess. But I must say when Chris from the Cheap Suits sang in I Gotís to Know it really blew me away. It raised the hair on the back of my neck. The only other time I witnessed such a vocal performance was listening to Larry McDonald of Dave Hillyard and the Rocksteady Seven at the Silver Dollar. It almost brought a grown man to tears my friends, it was that good. But great guys, and I can't wait to see you guys again at the Rockers for Knockers show in Toronto.
Although the Afterbeat have played Toronto many times in the past two months, I wasnít about to miss them as I know it will be awhile before I get too see them again. The only regret I have is that they didnít play Remorse, but they did happen to play Groove Yeah, which if Iím not mistaken didnít get played the last time that I saw them. If anyone does not have The Balls Out EP you should email the band and ask them to rush deliver it to you. Every song on that CD makes glad you spent the ten dollars to purchase it. During their set they called up all of the Cheap Suits that were in attendance, but even the guitar player from the Kingpins went up to help perform Pressure Drop. During the next song the sax player from General Rudie helped put out some amazing tunes. Iím enjoy the community and comradely aspect of calling people on stage to help the band out with a song. If you by any chance failed to see the Afterbeat in the past two months, first slap yourself in the head and then swear that you will do whatever it takes to make it to the next show.
The show ended with one of Canadaís premier ska bands, General Rudie. I saw them for the first time at the Ska is Dead tour and really liked them. After hearing them tonight I can tell that Iíll make it to every show that this band puts on. These guys are really talented. I like how Phil attempts to get the crowd into the bandís set. Iíd say it was pretty successful as about ninety percent of the crowd that was there was skanking, which is always a good thing to see at a ska show. I have some good pictures of these guys from the Ska is Dead tour which Iíll be putting up on the site within the next month, along with any other pictures that I have taken over the past two years.
One thing I have noticed since going to this show is that I listen to The Timing and Remorse by the Afterbeat to a point where some people would shoot me (but the same thing happens whenever I discover new ska songs that are just so great, like You Wonít Say It by King Kong Girio, who just happened to be at the show as well). I have caught myself moving my feet to that skanking beat on the TTC (where Iím sure some people think I have lost it) and even belting out the lyrics while I do the dishes (a scary, very scary thought that no one should ever hear).
Streetlight packs the Reverb
Hello One and All,
So I was supposed to be doing interviews with Big D and The Kids Table and with Streetlight Manifesto but my tape recorder decided to crap out the night of the show. Not wanting to misquote anybody I have decided to merely write a review of the show instead. I walked into the Reverb to find the venue packed to the gills. So many kids were at this show.
It should be mentioned here that the show was put on by Makeshift Productions. Brendan and company always strive to put on these wicked shows and they charge next to nothing to get in. $10 to see five great bands is dirt cheap people. Go out to their shows and keep the company alive...that is if you want to keep seeing great ska shows like this one in Toronto.
The Flatliners opened the night and blew me away. This band gets tighter as time goes on. They have a new record which is nearing completion. A circle pit and a democratic voting system to determine what song they would play next really set the tone for the night. The Flatliners set the bar high...could Gunned Down raise it?
I have never seen Gunned Down play two shows with the same line-up. Someone is always missing or has been replaced. It seems to work for them though. The Gooch did most of the singing this night which is how it should be at all times...he has the best voice in the band. A high energy ska set highlighted by a Stevie Wonder cover...which one...I'll never tell...go see it for yourselves.
When it came to local openers the night belonged to Green Division. Slowly becoming one of the better bands in the local scene they delivered one of the best sets I have ever seen them play. The songs were tight and the crowd was loving it. After their set I saw an ambundance of kids walking around in Green Division t-shirts.
Big D and The Kids Table were up next. While the band is tight and their engery was higher than anyone on the bill I can't say that their music does anything for me at all. Too much yelling and not enough melody.
Before Streetlight started their set a thumb war was staged between members of their band and Big D. Streetlight came out victorious...in more ways than one.
Streetlight Manifesto is one of the best bands I have ever seen live. The only thing I had ever heard from the band were some MP3's from their website but their live set blew me away. I think they eaisily have the best horn section n ska today. Kids were singing along at the top of their lungs. This was the bands first trip to Canada and I would have to say that it was quite a successful one. Toronto and this reviewer loved the band. Pick up their cd...its awesome.
A slow drive home and the night was done. Check out the bands and Makeshift Productions over at the links page.
Ska in the middle of nowhere
So I came home from work and got asked by my brother if Iíd like to go see the Afterbeat in Oakville. As we drive through Oakville we have yet to reach our exit. The show ended up actually being in Flamborough (or Waterdown according to the Pylons web site). Thanks to Mike from the Afterbeat for the incorrect city...lol.
There was hardly anyone at the show, but I do not regret going, even if it was over an hour away from my house. I wasnít too impressed by the opening band, Baked Fresh Daily. Maybe it was the drive, mixed with the show starting late, but I just didnít get into their set.
One of the reasons why I went to this show was to see the Pylons. I have heard they are a good band but knew only two songs by them. I was really hoping to hear Road Rage, as it is an extremely catchy ska song. Even though I was disappointed they didnít play that song I did enjoy their set a lot and it made coming to the show worthwhile.
The Afterbeat was up next and they never seem to disappoint. Played a similar set list to the last time I saw them, which is a good thing as I loved the songs that they played. Chris from the Cheap Suits sang with them when they covered Pressure Drop by the Toots and the Maytals. I really enjoy the organ and horns (along with everything else), but it truly makes them a ska band.
The last band to play was The Next Best Thing. They were from Burlington and were very talented. If you ever get the chance to see them perform Iíd highly recommend doing so. I unfortunately had to leave their set early to make the trek home to get enough sleep for work the next day.
East Meets West
The Afterbeat and Cheap Suits decided to start off the summer by touring together. Ontario and parts of Quebec had the privilege to listen to two of the best indie ska bands out there.
The ďEast Meets West TourĒ started off in our very own Toronto at the Kathedral. Green Divison got the concert started with a solid set, unfortunately not as many people were dancing for them as there should have been. These guys show a lot of promise and will be interesting to see where their talent brings them.
Green Division was followed by a band straight out of Oshawa. Again, another band with lots of promise. I first saw these guys at their CD release party and have been waiting for another CD by them ever since. Gunned Down has a very tight horn section with talented musicians at every spot in their line-up. Their only downfall in my opinion is that you never know who in the band is going to be there on any given night. Tonight they were missing their lead singer, but that didnít stop this band from putting on a great show.
Next up was the Afterbeat. This was my second time seeing them and knowing their material I really got into their set. They played all of their hits while still having time to fit in Pressure Drop by Toots and the Maytals and The Harder They Come by Jimmy Cliff. Two of my favourite Jamacian ska tunes. They put their own style into the songs and did an excellent job of covering them. If you havenít seen these guys perform, go see them on the 28th, you will not regret it.
Torontoís own The Makeshift Heroes was sandwiched between the touring bands. Makeshift had been on a break while two of their band members toured Europe, and it is nice to have these guys back. Makeshiftís dedicated fans were out in full force as with any of their shows and it is a nice thing to see with bands. Unfortunately I do not know a lot of their material and stood at the back listening to their set instead of dancing.
The Cheap Suits finished the night with one of their best performances ever. The whole band, as they always do, left a part of themselves on stage from working so hard. I donít think I have ever been to a show where the fans havenít been dancing for this band (even if I have to get the skanking going myself), and it is a testament to the energy and effort these guys put into their live performances. Half of the songs played are not on the CD and I canít wait until they release their next one. Watch for the Suits at Warped Tour and at the Skatalites show on August 28.
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