It's time for our latest concert review at the SMS, as I went to yesterday's Gnar-BQ outdoor concert/skateboarding event at the Queen Elizabeth Park skatepark! In terms of the event itself, it was basically a half-sequel to Tidal Records' Go Skateboarding Day event in June, with a similar lineup and presentation to that event, just slightly pared down. Hot dogs & water were available on donation, Tidal Records and the bands had merchandise on sale, and there was a good (if up & down) turnout of skaters, bikers, scooter riders, and more taking in the skatepark, and everyone looked like they had fun! You may have even seen a few familiar musicians hit the ramps as well, if you kept an eye out. Before the bands fully began, members of The Din and K.I.C.K. joined forces during the tuning and set-up for an impromptu cover of Gnaeus' "Lovers", and it didn't sound too bad! It'd be nice to see bands cover other local bands more often, and Mike handled the vocals well!
The first band up yesterday was local indie rock quartet K.I.C.K., who showed why they won this year's VM Radio Battle of the Bands with a strong set of original material! Playing a series of original songs like "Highway 17", "Stranded", and "Burning Desire", complete with their fan favourite cover of The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face", the Keep it Cool Kids had a solid set that lived up to their past reputations, with Simon Shearsby's melodic vocals and Tyson Letang's strong guitar work matching up well! Very nice chemistry with the guys, and they kept the stage banter up well (complete with full song introductions) but they could have been a little more animated on stage, and I will say that, at times, their music didn't seem like the typical "skateboarding music". K.I.C.K. are definitely continuing their local rise, and hopefully they maintain their skilled material!
The Din, who preceded their set with a surprise rendition of The Tragically Hip's "Blow at High Dough", which was a nice surprise, as you don't often see local non-cover bands tackle The Hip! Otherwise, fans saw The Din play basically their entire debut studio album "Give In To The Din", whose release concert was actually their last live appearance before The Gnar-BQ. If you're familiar with Mike, Tammy, and Brandan, then you'll know that they delivered a fun and high energy set yesterday, with strong grasps on their familiar material, and Mike and Brandan had some funny banter, Tammy laid down some solid guitar solos, and everyone had fun with the extended jam at the end of "A Drive Through the Peninsula". Quality set, and hopefully The Din delivered similarly at LopLops last night too!
"DJ Seith" Erickson took the stage for a full hour-long set after The Din wrapped up, and kept the music flowing with lots of vinyl mixing and spinning for the occasion! The theme appeared to be "weird" music, with DJ Seith indicating that many of the songs being spun were weird finds of his from vinyl record purchases, and as a result, I didn't know most of the sampled material (though Run DMC came up late though during a rap section, and at least one band was an act Seith had seen at LopLops.) Given the nature of DJ Seith's live performances, you can't entirely be sure what you'll hear, as he can mix any two songs together, but he knows what he's doing and makes them work into some fun mixes, and attendees seemed to enjoy his set! Don't bypass DJ Seith for some creative turntable action!
Gnaeus hit the stage as headliners, bookending this show with each VM Radio Battle winner! Playing a mixture of original songs from their debut album "Meditations" like "Fire", "The Edge", and "Circles", Gnaeus also broke out their new original "Electricity" and what appeared to be a cover of The Gorillaz' "Tomorrow Comes Today" (nice to see them tackle some new covers!) Gnaeus were on form from past shows, with Matt Fronzi a solid presence on bass, Aaron Alessandrini reliably good on vocals and guitar, and Alex Proulx continuing to come into his own on drums! I think the guys have been more energetic and loose in concert than they were last night, but Gnaeus delivered their usual punk/arage hybrid effectively, and here's hoping we see more from them soon!
Overall, this was a fun concert for both music fans and skateboarders alike, and while I wish more of the former had turned out, it was a good time! Despite what the bright sunny day and my mildly sunburnt face would tell you, the weather was fine and not hot at all, and against fears of the sun + tented stage causing my pictures and videos to be too dark, they turned out fine once I saw them without sun glare. You can check out our photos at this link or at our Facebook page, and as for videos, here's K.I.C.K. playing "Drift", The Din playing "Alleyways & Apartments", 4 early minutes of DJ Seith's set, and Gnaeus playing "Electricity"!
I hope you guys liked this concert review, and if all goes well, our next one will be for THIS WEDNESDAY'S Castle concert, a preview of which will likely be in our next news post! That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's YouTube Channel Profile tomorrow! Thanks everyone!