I anxiously awaited my bus to head over to Toronto for the first time in 15 years to see Breached perform at their EP release party for Indie week. Having seen these guys last June play only a two song set, I was long overdue to finally get to see them play a full set. I’ve obsessively listened to them for months, being really drawn to their music as it reminds me of all the bands I listened to growing up like Incubus and Alice in Chains. But they also have their own unique sound, along with a humility that draws their fan base.
It was Indie Week’s 10th anniversary; a festival held in Toronto every October for five days. Basically,a bunch of bands are booked to play over the period and bars agree to remain open until 4am to give each band chance to shine. At the end of the event a contest is held to see which band was the “Best of the Fest” and they win an incredible prize. Judges are those involved in the music industry from all over the country whether they be songwriters or producers. This year’s prize for the top performer was a trip to Ireland to headline Indie Week Ireland. The winner of the event was Sumo Cyco. Congrats guys!
After a long uncomfortable ride due to some loud-talking cell phone users, the bus’ heat being cranked up, and sitting in front of a couple who seemed to have wanted some privacy, I met up with Brystal and we were on our way to The Rivoli. The rain finally stopped and we ran into a few of Brystal’s acquaintances who were in bands performing for Indie Week as well. Musical talentand excited people roamed Queen St. and the surrounding area. I loved the vibe.
I was originally supposed to be picked up by Neil Uppal of Breached, but received some texts letting me know that he was running late due to issues with the band’s new lighting set up.The typical things that could go wrong before a set. The Breached boys have not played since August and wanted things to go well for their EP release party. I have so much faith in these guys, I wasn’t worried at all.
Brystal and I arrived at the empty venue at 9 on the dot. We were wondering where everyone was. While we were chilling we met Anthony Dell’Orso, drummer of The Joy Arson, who was also celebrating his band’s EP release that night. Neil and his girlfriend Sarah finally arrived shortly after and we were flabbergasted with joy during our reuniting. We drank a few beers and waited for the first band to get on stage.
Mad June was first to perform. I saw six gorgeous women get up on stage speaking French and I immediately got intrigued. An all-girl band from Montreal who have been playing for about eight years; where have I been? They began with sound-checking “November” with a “nananana” chorus and it remained in my head ‘til the next morning. I loved their sound as they reminded me very much of Belly. The drummer was phenomenal and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a female drummer kick that much ass before.
As the night went on, more and more people arrived and filled up the place. It was a mixed aged crowd, with lots of different styles. I absolutely loved the mood of the place. When we initially walked in, it came off as a classy lounge. The stage was located in the back with an empty space in the middle and there were chairs all around. The bar was in the back and it was pretty small; drinks were quite expensive at $6.50! I watched The Breached boys walking back and forth from outside to backstage as they organized things. I saw the look in Bob Noakes’ (vocals) face as he finally stopped for a few minutes to say “hi” and breathe. Mike Diesel (guitarist) came by for hugs and high fives later on, and Ryan Alexander (bassist), who seemed to be the calmest of the bunch, passed by for a hug.
Lost Cause played next – an alternative rock band, followed by The Joy Arson who really caught my attention. Matt Moffit’s voice sounded perfect and strong, and the drums were really tight. They got the crowd pumping as they introduced their new EP release Playground to us. I particularly loved the performance of the song “Trust” with its catchy chorus, “…maybe I can trust myself sometimes/ if I could change it I would/ maybe I can keep myself in line…” which stuck in my head and I really enjoyed singing along to it.
Breached started the set with”All We Need,” a really lively catchy song from their new EP Left Behind and drew the crowd in quickly. Clearly there were tons of fans present and sang along to the songs. I caught the girls of Breached who doubled as Mike and Bob’s girlfriends singing along as well. Lights behind the band flashed different colours – and really made the band pop out from the rest. I can see why they wanted this set up, and it worked, but I do feel they would have still stood out if the light show wasn’t there. Bob’s vocals were a little rusty as he was recovering from being ill but he still sounded great along with Mike’s back-up vocals. Those two are the perfect vocal duo.
“I’d like to thank The Joy Arson for making this stage so hot!” Bob yelled when they brought in “Let Go”. Neil’s drums were super tight as the song has some really fast hits. There was not one moment he was off beat. Mike’s guitar sounded perfect – there was no distortion and it was crisp and totally in tune, sounding close to the produced album.
My personal fav “Control” kicked in and despite Bob’s recent illness, he killed it, carrying each long note as it should be. There were members of The Joy Arson, singing along to this song in the crowd which I thought was super cool. The band is very well respected and I can see why. Ryan, being the quiet, shy type also amazed me; it seems as though he brings out his real self when he is performing, as he moves around a lot as he feels the music and plays bass riffs.
The EP’s first single “Left Behind” began, which was also chosen to be featured in a CFL commercial. Breached were so mysterious with this single and they put out a hilarious YouTube infomercial which got over 15, 000 views to keep their fans intrigued and curious. They finally released the single in mid-September and it got so much hype.
“Brighter days” and “Here with Me” were introduced to the crowd from the new EP as well, and got a really awesome reaction. The band rocked it again with their magnificent riffs and beautiful melodic duets. Their energy was strong and the crowd fed off of it; there was a strong energy going around, people seemed really proud of these dudes while they killed it on stage. I normally sit back and observe from a distance, but I was up there in the front and cheered these guys on as they performed.
Breached played a few covers as well like Papa Roach’s “Where Did the Angels Go?” and Incubus’ “Pardon Me.” “Let’s hope I don’t mess the words up on this one,” Bob confessed before Pardon Me started. Being a huge Incubus fan myself, I was completely impressed by how well they played it. There was no screwing up of the words at all and the band was completely in key and beat.
“Ryan smells really good tonight,” Bob said as the band started “Time” close to theending of the set. Mike played some insane guitar solos all the while wearing his serious face. The only concern I had with the tune was that it sounded like they played it off key causing Bob to sing off key as well. During the breakdowns of this song I had a hard time hearing Mike’s back-up vocals. Neil continued to keep things tight and had no off beats whatsoever throughout the set.
“This is where I get to scream my ass off,” Bob raged, finishing thelast song of the set, “Happy.” “LOOK IN MY EYYYYESSSSS, EVERYTHING’S OKAY!” he roared. This being one of their heaviest songs, there was some headbanging in the crowd as I spotted some metal heads. Another fast one, Neil bashed on his drums perfectly. The lights were bright and gave a beautiful glare off the band that caused the band to look like they were glowing. Between Mike’s impeccable solos and Ryan’s amazing bass playing, it was a great end to the set.
I really see a future for these guys and definitely wish them the best in their musical career.
For full photo set click here.