Mini Show Reviews: October 2016

Bastille – October 5


I’ve seen Bastille twice before this (and have tickets to see them next March) and they never fail to put on a fun show. While their most recent album Wild World is fairly mellow, they’re so full of energy on stage. Singer Dan Smith was especially impressive this time – they’d cancelled their New York show the night before ours because he strained his voice, but he was still able to perform for us, hitting all the high notes with minimal effort. The first 3/4’s of the show was basically their album (minus a handful of songs), including “Send Them Off!” and “The Currents” (both of which I really like) and it was cool to hear because it gave me a better appreciation for their new material. Of course, my favourite part was when they broke into their last three songs,pulled from their debut album, Bad Blood, including my fave “Pompeii“.

This Wild Life – October 8


I’ve seen This Wild Life before (briefly at Warped 2015 and then opening for Mayday Parade), and, while their songs (which are mostly acoustic) can be very mellow, they put on a really fun show. Lots of energy and sing-a-longs, and the band members seem like genuinely nice dudes (we saw them hanging out outside the venue before their set). Opening bands Movements and Have Mercy were pop punk-y fun (I realized belatedly that I actually know a Have Mercy song, “Two Years“). This Wild Life’s set was just over an hour long, during which they performed some of the new songs from their recent album, Low Tides (such as “Hit the Reset“), as well as fan favourites from previous releases like “Pink Tie” and “Concrete” (which is really good live). My sister compared them to an acoustic version of twenty one pilots, which is accurate, and I hope more people start paying attention to them.

Sum 41 – October 18


Even though I JUST saw Sum 41 at Warped this summer, I was still pretty excited to see them headline. Opening band As It Is was as energetic as ever (I still can’t take Patty Walters and his constant tongue-sticking-out move seriously, but they were fun), and Senses Fail was also pretty good (their songs tend to blend together for me, but that’s just because I’m waiting impatiently for “Can’t Be Saved“). Sum 41 burst onto the stage and played for about an hour and forty minutes (longer than I expected), with a set that was a nice mix of new songs from their recent album, 13 Voices and “classics” from their 15+ years as a band (“Motivation“; the heart-breaking “Pieces“, which I forgot about but still love; opening with “The Hell Song“). Deryck Whibley has a surprising amount of stage presence which I didn’t really feel at Warped, probably because the stage was so far away, but in a sweaty venue, it was exactly what you want in a punk show. Obviously the highlight was “Fat Lip” (which they closed with) because MAN, that’s such a good song!

The Wonder Years – October 24


Our last show of the month was super pop-punk – just the way I like it. Seaway opened the show, and, even though I just saw them at the end of July, they were still very entertaining. I had been looking forward to Knuckle Puck’s set, but, unfortunately, they couldn’t make it across the border after getting into a fender bender (with a DEER)…instead, I put all my energy into jamming the heck out to Moose Blood (they played my two favourite songs – “Gum” and “Knuckles” – back-to-back, which means I almost died). I don’t know what it is about RealFriends, but I just can’t get into them (I’ve tried like 4 times), so I didn’t really pay attention to their set.

The Wonder Years is the type of band that I forget I enjoy until I randomly hear a song or catch them live. They have such great lyrics – my fave off their recent album, No Closer to Home, is “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then” – and, especially now that I’m 26, I love screaming along to “Passing Through a Screen Door”. They put on a solid performance (not every band can get away with starting a set with an acoustic song), and their encore of “Came Out Swinging” was everything a pop-punk fan could want.

So when you lose your mind, you’ll find it at the bottom of the mess that’s your life

I think I’ve said this before, but Sunday concerts are weird, man. They throw off my entire weekend. But at the end of the day (literally), I’m at a show, and that’s all that matters!

Yesterday, we saw Bayside on their 15th anniversary tour!


The opening band was Seaway; they’re from Oakville (Ontario), so they’re fairly local (and now I put the twenty one pilots song back in my head…). I quite enjoyed them; they’re like the Canadian Neck Deep- unabashedly pop-punk. There is something kinda funny about a dude in a button-down shirt and glasses calling for a circle pit, though.

Next up was Man Overboard. We saw them headline last May, and while we spent part of the time chuckling at Zac’s high pitched voice, I forgot how much I actually enjoy them. They’re the type of band where you either jump around practicing your scissor kicks or sit around feeling angsty about your life. It’s a broad spectrum, but they cover it really well.

The highlight for us was “Montrose”: DO YOU TAKE PICTURES OFF THE WALLS?

Senses Fail came on next; we thought this tour was odd because the last time we saw Bayside (October 2010), they had actually been opening for Sense Fail (what a role reversal!). Ro pointed out that they would have been the first really screamy band that I saw live (with the possible exception of Set Your Goals in November 2009, but since I griped through their whole set because I was bored, I don’t think they count).

Buddy, the singer, took the opportunity to have some heart-to-heart moments with the audience, mainly surrounding his own recent coming-out as queer (you can read/listen to his story here). You wouldn’t think so based on appearances, but the (pop)punk/metal community tends to be very tolerant of other people’s differences. Buddy’s point was that in a world full of fear, we should strive to see our neighbours with compassion, and his words were met with a roar of approval.

And, to punctuate his point, he segued into “Can’t Be Saved”, which is the song that introduced us to Sense Fail in the first place (because it was on Guitar Hero…).

Bayside came on to “Hedwig’s Theme” (you know you’re a Harry Potter fan when!) and kicked off their set with “Pigsty”, which I really like.

I have to admit: I haven’t listened to every Bayside song ever. If fact, I’ve really only heard a handful of them, and so has Ro. But how often do bands tour for anniversaries (and actually come to Toronto)? Of course we had to go to this show!

And, of course, it’s always nice to be surrounded by hardcore fans, though. You start to feed off their energy, even if you don’t recognize the song.

I also find that I often have a greater appreciation for a band after seeing them live, and that is definitely the case this time around. I’ll be looking up Bayside’s (extensive) discography in the next couple of weeks, because I genuinely enjoyed what I heard.