Wowza! Other than maybe holding off from shotgunning too many king cans at this middle-of-the-week show, I don’t think anybody felt that they were missing out on a good time being at Club Soda this Tuesday night in February. The sold out pop-punk party had pretty much everyone on their toes- and at times in the air – for roughly four and a half hours.
Speak Low If You Speak Love was the foreplay of the night. The sensual vibes and sounds definitely contrasted with the rest of the night, but it made for a nice calm before the massive eruption that the following acts brought to the venue and crowd. Ryan Scott Graham has a sweet, soothing approach that has the power to make listeners feel emotional and purified, healthy feelings that are sometimes needed when debauchery is on the rise! Songs such as “Knots” and “Enough” are sure to reinforce the body and mind with naturally calming vibes and a healthy release of endorphins.
Creeper wasn’t too much of a bad influence on the crowd, but they definitely started mixing things up and getting the water boiling. It was their first time playing in Canada, and they were either simply friendly chaps by nature, or they were impacted by the usual wholesome air of this generally neighborly nation. What a bunch of sweethearts! The bright pastel lights were visually pleasing and the music was most definitely audibly pleasing. Contrary to these pleasurable senses, there was a funky smell in the air and people seemed pretty squished and perhaps uncomfortable, but the beer tasted good! Busting out solid tracks like “Black Mass” and “Suzanne,” these guys were uplifting, positive, and gave off great, loving vibes.They connected with the audience and really gave off a genuine feeling of appreciation for their fans, who cleared out Creeper’s CD stock that night. Way to go, Creeper dudes!! They had heavy energy on stage and really boosted the energy in the room that night, setting up a hyped-up mood for the night’s main events.
Make way for Seaway… not that anybody had to make way for these ballers. They pretty much blazed their own trail, and I’m sure that trail will continue to blaze (like my grandfather’s giant doobies). High energy from the start, Ryan Locke hopped onto center-stage in his jealousy-inducing flowered blazer (blazing once again), yelled to the crowd to “Get to the front!”, and proceeded to slam dunk that mother with “Slam.” The mics were a bit low at first, but the crowdsurfers were up high. Once all the volumes equalized, the experience just got better and better. Super stoked to be back in Canada after being away for months, these guys were in high spirits, jumping and dancing around on a stage not fit for so much movement and energy, but they pulled it off in the best possible way. Bass player Adam Shoji produced a few solid kick jumps, but I always want more, more, more! More kick jumps, everybody! Playing sweet hits like “Something Wonderful,” “Stubborn Love,” and “Car Seat Magazine,” it was non-stop good vibes. It was especially non-stop when Locke ensured that there were “No breaks” and that the band “Keep it up!!” Closing with “Lula On The Beach,” Seaway really made for a tough act to follow, but Neck Deep was definitely on top of their shit.
The red, white, and blue lights were lit, the smoke machines were smoky, and the crowdsurfers were surfy. All great elements for a great show – and it was. When Neck Deep frontman Ben Barlow started singing, everyone else in the crowd started singing, too. The true fans were present at this one, and they knew all the words. With a sweet setlist including “Lime Street,” “Rock Bottom,” and the beloved “December,” no one could have possibly felt ripped off by this performance. These guys did not stop. They followed Ryan Locke’s demands and kept it up, keeping up all the boners in the room, too, I’m sure. Oh, yes. The crowd was most certainly balls deep in Neck Deep, and everyone rushed up as close to the stage as possible. They were super tight. Barlow was wearing what appeared to be pyjama bottoms, and the drummer of Seaway, Ken Taylor, even ran up to briefly join Barlow on vocals. The usual pretend-to-end and then come back with two solid encores was of course manifested, ending the night with “Roots” and “Where Do We Go.” Where do we go? Well, we couldn’t stay there, so I went home. I was pretty hammered by the end, so that was probably for the best, for the whole night was truly a killer pop-punk party.
Written by Keenan Kerr
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Kate Erickson