At last, here's our review of Friday night's Vaultry concert at The Canadian Nightclub, so what should you know about this stacked punk/rap hybrid event? Unfortunately, one thing that persisted throughout the night was low attendance, despite this being a Friday night all ages concert in the summer, but the crowd was still lively and into the music, and for Vaultry's set, there was even some moshing! Lots of the night's performers had merchandise for sale, and the usual tropes of an all ages show at The Canadian were present, including the "do not enter" tape by the bar proper, though the road signs taken down for the Speaker show were all back on the stage wall.
Mikey Thomas (or Mikey T, depending on your source), who I hadn't seen live since last spring, so how'd he do? Aside from the return of his long hair in the ensuing year, his set was fairly consistent for the times that I've seen him live, exhibiting good flow and rhymes, and a casual ease on stage that helped everything fit together well! I'm not a rap scholar, but for what I know of the genre, Mikey handled himself just fine, and it's just a shame that there wasn't more people at The Canadian for his set at that early stage. Hopefully Mikey keeps at it, he's a solid lyricist and worth checking out for rap lovers!
Second on Friday were new local trio Handsome Sandwich, who allege themselves to have "no genre", but having never seen them live before, what exactly do they play? Alternative hard rock with punk tinges and some out-of-left-field cover choices. Alongside no less than three Biffy Clyro covers, the guys also covered The Replacements, The Commodores, and Abba (no typo there, I'm serious!) as well as two originals that weren't titled on their setlist. The former original was very Foo Fighters-esque, but the latter original was more of a downbeat and casual number, so take that for what you will. A full band extension of singer/drummer Johnny Belanger's old solo concert sets more than anything, Johnny used his deep but melodic singing voice to good use while drumming, and with Jesse Cook & James White on guitar and drums, you know they have the talent and chemistry to match, even on an alt-rock version of "Dancing Queen"! I am definitely curious for another Handsome Sandwich!
The third band was Toronto pop punk quartet Coach Bombay (switching places with Bizotic), and despite being a relatively short notice addition to the concert, they impressed fans with their upbeat, melodic originals and sense of humour! Named after Emilio Estevez's character from The Mighty Ducks, their songs included tracks like "Madden Speed", "Real Fruit", and "Two Stupid Dogs", and when a band all wears matching summertime t-shirts, ball caps, and jean shorts, you know they're not ones to take themselves all too seriously! The guys largely keep their full names off of their social media pages, but frontman Jacob (I believe) has a unique raspy voice that reminded me of Tom Waits or Renderware's Jordan Foisy, though their other guitarist Sean was almost inaudible during their set. Coach Bombay could have bantered a little more between songs, but their punk originals made many new fans on Friday, and hopefully they come back north!
Bizotic, who maintained their recent sound and style with another fun and creative set! The guys played 6 songs on Friday, including such songs as "Record Light", "Echoes In Your Head", and two instrumental jams, with the latter "Time Machine" jam arguably being their heaviest song yet. Compared to the last time I saw Bizotic at Soo Art Rocks! in May, their overall set didn't change all that much, but they continued to showcase their original sound with verve and zest! Brad Griffith's melodic singing continues to get confident, B.J. Swire rocked the keytar in quite the baggy jeans, Louise Lamothe's trumpet playing was audible and fit the material, and Travis St. Amout kept up well on drums! Here's to more from Bizotic in the coming months, and hopefully their reportedly unplugged set at LopLops went well yesterday!
The biggest lineup change of all on Friday saw the advertised headliners, Victoria, British Columbia alternative/punk quintet Vaultry, play fifth on the 8 band bill, as they had a long drive to Regina for their next show and couldn't stay long in the Soo as a result. That said, they got a headliner's timeslot, rocking out for a full hour with their original attack, including a number of selections from their new CD "Eulogy", and I'd say they had the biggest and most active crowd of the night on the floor! One could argue that Vaultry's outward appearance screamed metal over punk, but they definitely fit the punk half of this show, even when ending their set with a surprise cover of Paramore's "Misery Business". Though his attempt to perform the set in a hat and sweater didn't last long, Leith Hynds had a soaring voice that even had some screamo touches, and guitarists Bradford Davis and Damian Anthony had solid riffs and melodies to match! Vaultry seemed to have a good time here, and fans definitely agreed, so hopefully they return down the road!
"Garbageface" Orzechowski returned to the Soo for his second show here as the next act, and while I'd heard very positive word of mouth from his New A set earlier this year, what did I think of Garbageface in person? Very cool and unique set that rap fans definitely took to openly! Choosing to perform on the floor with fans more or less in the round, this gave a more intimate atmosphere as Garbageface aggressively rapped with ease and impact, even opting to not use his microphone and/or backing tracks at times. Using techno & industrial backing tracks and an often aggressive stream, I do wonder how garbageface would sound with full rock band backing, but he doesn't need a band, as we saw on Friday, even when covering The Tragically Hip's "New Orleans Is Sinking" (you read that right.) Garbageface left a huge impression on Friday, and look for him locally again in October, details forthcoming on the SMS this week!
A Dire Setback played second to last on Friday shortly before they headed off to Timmins with Coach Bombay and Garbageface, and they had a solid set to close the punk half of the night! There were no surprises to their set, with established originals like "Catastrophe", "Wasting Away", and "Everlasting Despair" populating their time, though "Faded" and "Nightmares" were not played from their setlist. A.D.S. sounded good as usual, with Matt Quinn's bass work and Nick Kainula's drumming both shining, and Chris Nielsen was his usual sparkplug self on guitar, but I will admit that Larry Babic wasn't hitting as many high notes as I'm used to from them live. Overall, A Dire Setback had a solid set that fans surely appreciated, and it's just a shame that the crowd totals weren't as high as they were earlier in the night!
Soo York City performer who you may recognize from the Soo Art Rocks! concert in May as part of that night's SYC joint set. Rick was joined by Kodex as a backing rapper and hype man on stage, meaning that half of the SYC lineup from May performed to close on Friday. No DJ Seith or St. James, but Rick and Kodex handled themselves fine! Rick E had a fun, freewheeling style (when you wear a fancy purple hat on stage, you sort of expect that), and he had some solid rapid fire rhymes, while Kodex was a good compliment, even if his rap stle was a little more reserved and laid back. There was a technical snafu when one song (the "send it back for more" one) had to be restarted, and Rick's acapella song wasn't as long and involved as prior rappers on Friday, but the guys had a solid hip hop set to close the night, and again, it's a shame there wasn't more people to see the last act!
Overall, this was a fun concert to help kick off our second decade with (thanks to everyone who congratulated me on our 10th anniversary), and whether you're a punk or rap fan, I'm sure you left happy! Our photos and videos can be seen at our Facebook page or at this link, and as for videos, here's Mikey Thomas playing an unnamed original song, Handsome Sandwich covering The Replacements' "Bastards of Young", Coach Bombay playing "Dalmatians", Bizotic playing "Subway Delay", Vaultry playing "Cold Tea", Garbageface playing "Mental Alchemy", A Dire Setback playing their self-titled song, and Rick E & Kodex playing "The Pied Eyed Piper"!
That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's Defunct Local Band Profile next! Thanks everyone!