The first band to hit the stage for a cornucopia of hardcore was local act Damage Done. There was barely anyone in attendance, but those who were clearly came to catch the opening act and ninja’d their way across the floor with the enthusiasm of a thousand people. Damage Done opened their set with wailing feedback (something that would become a theme for the evening), then tried their best to kick the doors off the place. Speaking of kicks, the technique of the bass drum during “Human Nature” was on solid display by Chris; that attack was heart attack inducing. Sadly, the tone of guitarist Will was lacking. It got lost within all the other sounds in the room. When he soloed, it was hard to make out what he was playing. I think a little more treble would have gone a long way.
Next up, travelling all the way from Rimouski, was JUST ICE band. These cats are what well done hardcore should sound like. They started their set with blazing feedback before pounding out perfectly played tunes that sent the crowd into a deep high-kicking, wild-fist-throwing frenzy. Jonathan B did his best crab impersonation as he hopped around the stage, belching out beastly vocals into the mic. Once again, as with most hardcore bands, I was mesmerized by drummer Marc Gardens. Gardens plowed through the toms like a one man tilling crew. Each hit had purpose, each hit was precise. There was never a wasted movement or moment from him. As for their songs, well they were fast and filled with breakdowns that KO’d the audience. They’ve got a new record coming out in 2018, so be on the lookout for it.
The third band of the night was Colonel Sun. They had the best faces while playing and looked like they were having the most fun out of all the bands; it’s a shame that many people were outside, and thus missed much of their set. Worse, they missed drummer Robbie looking like he was shouting his joy from behind the kit to everyone in the audience, at all times. My gold star would go to bassist Mishka, however. He rocked his five string bass like he had five hands. I also enjoyed his employment of the little used phaser pedal in his spastic and note heavy intro to “Suburban Invasion.” That dude can rip. In fact, the whole song from top to bottom was bombass, especially the dueling guitar melodies at the end by Scott and Simon.
And then there was Harley Flanagan. “Ladies and Gentlemen. It’s been a long time since I’ve been here,” he said before launching into the fast and furious catalog of the Cro-Mags songs he’d written, which was something he wasn’t shy about telling the audience. He stated that they hadn’t written a good song since he’d left and blasted the audience with his hits such as “Show No Mercy,” “World Peace,” and “Down But Not Out.”
Between each song, he’d tell us stories about why he hadn’t been to Canada in ages. Spoiler: it’s because he had kids, and told a tale of how he lost his voice in Toronto the evening before. Having a less than 100% voice didn’t stop him from screaming hard enough during all the songs to pop all his veins simultaneously. I was also impressed with how energetic the 50 year old was, and how passionate he was about playing. He shredded through picks and fingers alike, dosing his bass with blood by the second song. Obviously, the crowd ate it all up. There was not a single person in attendance that did not have a sore neck by show’s end.
All in all, it was an energy-infused night that everyone present enjoyed. What was your favourite song of the night? Drop it in the comments below and we can converse on it.
Written by Aaron Deck
Photography by Thomas Gentil
*edited by Kate Erickson