I’ll be real with you guys; I had this whole spiel about The Silver Dollar Room and about what it meant for music in the city of Toronto that so many venues were closing down. It was a real tear-jerker up until I found out that the Silver Dollar is just going to reopen after some renovations. So, we did it! Local music is saved forever! Specifics aside, let’s focus on what’s important because it’s worth mentioning that on February 4th Pantomime played an impressive EP release show to a surprisingly active audience. With the help of some equally talented bands like Colony, Denim Skeletons, and Fuzz Monkey Reunion, it was a night full of great entertainment.
Colony was the first group to take the stage. The progressive rock band from Barrie had to work extra hard to wow the audience since they were short a member. Although the lack of a second guitarist was apparent in their set, it didn’t stop me from being amazed at their performance. Colony’s music had all the elements that make the prog genre so great: interestingly timed breakdowns, an incredibly diverse vocalist, and songs boasting multiple sections that could work as stand-alone tunes. As much as the music blew me away, these guys did struggle with the transitions from section to section. The choppiness and absence of sound made the lack of a second guitarist more apparent. The rhythm section wasn’t nearly as tight as they had to be because of it. Each band member was incredibly talented, though, especially the vocalist and the drummer, who I couldn’t stop watching the majority of the time. The vocalist, even with a weird stage presence, had a great voice and used a combination high screams, low growls, and great cleans. Add some dinosaur moves into the mix, some unnecessary “fuck you”s to Kathleen Wynne, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a frontman.
Denim Skeletons were next, and before starting their set, the group’s frontman (who looked eerily similar to a younger Fat Mike) addressed the relatively large crowd and made sure they were having a great night. The four-piece had a pretty unique sound and resulted in them being a bit of an acquired taste, but after a few songs, I started getting into their sound. Their music was full of vocal hooks that only got more infectious with excessive repetition, and their lead guitarist was always making use of effects and noises from his instrument to fill up the sound. In my opinion, he was the most underrated member, casually playing the guitar with his teeth and stomping on his instrument during the end of his set in a surprisingly subtle way. Although most of their music was forgettable, I’m interested to see how their experimental sound translates to a recorded format.
After another quick changeover, and the night’s headliners took the stage. Right off the bat, Pantomime introduced their impressive high-energy sound that blended hard rock, metal, and a touch of punk and prog into the mix. On top of an impressive musical mix of genres, they had the right amount of personality to them too. Frontman Brody Post sported a great voice and an appreciation for the crowd. The audience was one of the best I had seen for a local show with a surprising amount of people headbanging and singing along to songs off an EP that had only been released for a day. The band had a few standout moments in their set namely having hilariously transitioned from one of their faster songs to the solo and verse of Hotel California, and back to the original song again. It was all good fun, but the only thing lacking in their set were the band’s backup vocals, which, although not always present, sounded flat a lot of the time. Despite that slight imperfection, they put on a killer show and made me wish I didn’t heave to leave early to catch the last train home.
Fuzz Monkey Reunion closed the show after the night’s headliners, and I couldn’t stay late enough to catch their set. After going home and listening to their newest EP, I’m pretty bummed that I missed out. Their guitar-driven rock sound ranges from blues to hard rock full of warm tones and a great sounding vocalist. Hopefully, I can catch them in Toronto sometime soon.
All in all, there was a surprising turnout for the guys in Pantomime. I’m hoping it’s because of they’re gaining a following and not because the Silver Dollar announced it is (temporarily) closing its doors that everyone went to the venue. If there were that much passion and sense of community for every local band that played the silver dollar, I guarantee the venue wouldn’t be “doing renovations” anytime soon.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy