Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hardcore Homecoming Review!!

It's now about time for our review of last night's Hardcore Homecoming concert at The Rockstar Bar! If you missed out, you'll have missed a packed house, quite possibly the biggest I've seen at this venue this year, but crowd levels on the floor did fluctuate, especially early on. Also, in case you weren't as familiar with Random Killing going in, the banner of Mr. Magoo with a mohawk was theirs, and it's a logo they've used for some time, As a classic cartoon fan, I always get a kick out if it! Now, here's a recap of all 5 bands! (Updated on Monday at 11:51 AM)

Opening last night's concert with an abbreviated set was local funk/alternative quartet The Elements in their first local concert appearance in 4 months (Hempfest in Moonbeam notwithstanding), and they had a solid set after a quiet summer! Bookending covers of Volbeat and Metallica with ska and funk rock renditions, the guys do seem to be gaining more chemistry and confidence as a whole, with Jesse Cook impressing as usual on guitar, though Rob Speers' singing was sometimes hard to hear volume-wise over the band. Their "Master of Puppets" cover was a pleasant surprise, and while it did have some rough patches (Rob mentioned this was the second time they've played it), it was still very well done! It'd have been nice to see The Elements play longer, and honestly, I think the metal songs were a bit out of place given the setting, but it was nice to see them back, and hopefully they play again sooner or later!

Despite being one of two out of town bands, London hardcore punk rockers Gatgas played second last night, but friends of bassist Bob Bromley Jr. (ex-Harsh Heads) and Garry Ingram (ex-Fistmagnet) didn't mind, as they were able to welcome these former Saultites back home with a rousing reception to their hard hitting set! For reference sake, note that while Gatgas are listed as a quintet on their Facebook page, guitarist Corey Shipp was not at the show last night, though I'm not sure whether he couldn't make the trip or isn't in the band anymore. Regardless, Gatgas delivered a brutal set of covers and originals for fans in their local debut, with a solid aggression level coupled with an increased presence of people on the floor to take everything in! Jack Gibbons' vocals are actually improved in a live setting and have more force behind them, and his brother Brian laid down some entertaining punk riffs on songs like "Call In Drunk" & "Out of Time". Very fun set for the old school punk fans in attendance, and hopefully Bob & Garry bring Gatgas back home at some point!

Third at Hardcore Homecoming was local hardcore punk quintet Destroilet in their first local concert appearance in nine months, and despite the wait, they were up to their usual tricks with an explosive set of their own originals and covers! Though the guys did have some rough stretches and flubbed notes, the attitude and intensity of their 2012-2013 concert was back in full force on originals like Truly Infected" & "End Me" and on covers like "Let's Drink Some Beer", so long time fans were in good hands! Mike Hull could be hard to hear vocally, but his chaotic stage presence helped a lot, and everyone kept up well through their fast and furious set, including steady rhythm from drummer Matt Waples, so the vibe of an old school 1990s hardcore punk show was kept alive for sure! Backing that up, Mike handed over the mic to Gatgas' Garry Ingram mid-set so he could rejoin some of his old Fistmagnet bandmates for a rousing cover of "Evil God Hater", surely a highlight of the night, and encouraging some of the best moshing too!

Co-headlining was local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades in their first local concert set since their EP release show in May, though due to delays and time constraints, their set was limited to just the songs on said EP, plus "Frederick" & "Crossorads". Even still, fans were in for a good time, and guitarist Jesse Cook even got into the spirit of things by breaking out an old school prisoner costume!  Despite the rushed nature, everyone was on form from past gigs, with J.D. Pearce's singing as strong as ever, Justin Lam killing it on bass, and Johnny Belanger performing up to their breakneck speed on drums, so fans had nothing to worry about! Of course, seeing a longer set (and their SNFU and Misfits covers) would have been nice, but we'll get other chances to see them, and I'd say the stage was effectively jacked last night!

And of course, your headlining band was Toronto punk quartet Random Killing in their long awaited return to Sault Ste. Marie for the first time in at least a decade, and like with Gatgas, we had a homecoming here too, as frontman Andrew "Drool" Kiteley also returned home for this concert, but did they deliver? Yes! Of course, I can't speak for the good times and events of the 1990s (such as their Club Princess events), but Andrew and company knocked out classic songs like "Powerplay", "Thoughts of Aggression", and "Patios & Beer" with aggression and intensity, though I could argue that Andrew had more energy than the rest of the band, stage presence-wise. Bassist Jim "Mudd" Moore kept the low end in good form throughout though, and John "Robber" Moore kept the rhythm up too, amidst an intense set that had many fans flashing back to the good old days! Solid set, and I can definitely see what all the fuss was about, so hopefully Random Killing come back soon!

Excellent show, and kudos to J.D. for putting everything on once again! Of course, I can't compare to shows that took place when I was a kid, but from seeing Destroilet over the years, and from seeing last night's out of town bands, I definitely have more of a sense of some of the good times this scene saw in the 1990s, and hopefully things are built on from here on the punk end!  Check out our photos from the show at this link or via our Facebook page, and I hear SooToday/Local2 AND the Sault This Week were on hand, so we eagerly await their coverage too! And yes, I did get videos, so here's The Elements covering Sublime's "Same In The End", Gatgas playing "Back To The Asylum", Destroilet covering Fistmagnet's "Evil God Hater" (with Garry Ingram) and then playing "Over 'N Over", Jack Spades playing "Breakneck Speed", and Random Killing playing "Situation Normal"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post tomorrow, featuring at least one new concert to announce at The Rockstar Bar! Thanks everyone!

No comments: