(Toronto) Hardcore Still Lives! Ceremony/Trapped Under Ice/Life Long Tragedy + More

First off, this show really couldn’t have gone any better. I was incredibly worried that it would be too packed, that some stupid kids would do something to the venue, there’d be a number of fights or any thing else that could have brought the night down. Nothing bad happened. Thank you to everyone who came and respected the space.

After a lunch that ran a bit late, I made my way down to the venue to meet up with Scott and Vik. I had a plan to run this show as strictly as possible. Bands at 630 and done by 10/1030 in order to respect the venue. There was a hitch in the plan though as the bands ran a bit late. Kids were showing up to the venue at about 6 and there will still no bands around. They all had arrived by about 630 and loaded in pretty quickly as people formed a line outside. The fact that there was a sizable lineup didn’t ease my worries about the show being too packed.

Once all the bands had loaded in and found spaces to set up their merch, doors were opened and the kids poured in. The venue filled up pretty quickly and the opener, Curtains, got to play to a sizable crowd which I was pretty happy about. The opened up with the Rise and Fall intro and their own music followed in the same vein. It’s good to see a band be ambitious like these guys and get out on only a demo. I wish more of our locals would do that. Their singer, Fiacco, also had a pretty good vibe as a front man. The music itself was pretty good but not always remarkable. That’s a lot to say about an opening band playing only off a demo. They’re giving it away for free on their myspace. Check it out and let them know you want them to come back. I’ll definitely keep my ear to the ground on what these guys do next.

Sabertooth Zombie followed Curtains. I only found out as the bands got there that STZ shared most of their members with Life Long Tragedy. Their music, however, was very different. Various reviews of them that I’ve heard claimed that they were too eclectic. I personally really enjoyed this about their performance. Their music was caught somewhere between late 80s thrash/crossover and early So Cal punk. That said, they definitely delved into other genres pretty consistently. At the very least, they were entertaining to watch and definitely grabbed my attention more than any of their recordings (that I’ve heard) had.

Life Long Tragedy came after Sabertooth Zombie. Truthfully, I hadn’t really searched out this band that much before the show despite the fact that they’ve been around for a while now. I had heard a few tracks and thought it wouldn’t really be my thing but it seemed that lots of younger kids were into this band. When they played I was incredibly surprised. Some of this slower-paced melodic hardcore played in the vein of early Modern Life is War really only comes off in the live setting. I must say I really enjoyed this bands performance and as expected lots of kids were into them. I still can’t say I’m jamming “Runaways”, but I would watch this band again, no question.

In a move that surprised the band, Trapped Under Ice were set to play 2nd last. Mike Scarth had tipped me off about this band’s demo awhile back and I was kind of into it, but didn’t necessarily think it was as good as he was making it out to be. Then they dropped Stay Cold. It took a couple listens, but I’m pretty certain this record will be in my top 5 for the year. Their songs are a lot of Mike Dijan (Breakdown, Crown of Thornz etc…) worship, distilled down into shorter songs played faster. Again the crowd went off and we saw the beginning of people diving of the desks to the side of the stage. Justice, the singer, was playing with a broken hand hidden under his shirt. Apparently the band got into some shit the night before in Montreal. Either way, their set blazed by and they were just as good as I had hoped.

Last and definitely not least was Ceremony. They hadn’t been here in two years and it seemed that over that time period, another 100 kids got into them. Everyone who came to the show, it seemed, had filled in the venue for their performance. The set was pure insanity. They covered plenty of stuff old and more recent and people were going wild the entire time. About half way through the set, Ross, the vocalist pulled the mic so hard that he ripped the cable in half. Instead of trying to find another mic or another cord, he proceeded to scream into the crowd for the rest of the set. The kids screamed right along with him. It felt like half the kids in the room knew all the words or were at least pushed to the brink by the music. They also threw in their own version of “California Uber Alles.”

After the show people cleared out pretty quickly and a few people arrived after it had ended, very surprised it was over. Vik ran through an interview with Trapped Under Ice after the show which will be up in the next few days. When everything was wrapped up at the venue, a bunch of us hit Sneaky Dees and I did an interview with Ceremony, which will also be up in the next few days. The bands, as far as I gathered, were all very happy with how the show went. Ceremony themselves will be back to do more damage on August 17th.

I can’t remember the last time I was at a show this great. The crowd was interested in all of the bands, there was no bullshit and all the bands played great sets. Big thanks to everyone who made it out. It was fantastic to see that many old and new faces in one room. If Sunday was any indication of what summer holds for the Toronto hardcore music community, then I’d say I’m pretty excited.

Keep your eyes on the blog. A few people filmed some of the sets from Sunday and I’ll be sure to post them as soon as I can get my hands on them. Major thanks out to all the photographers that hooked me up with photos for this review. More on hardcore photography soon.

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