There was one night I was looking forward to for a long time: Friday, December 16th. Why do you ask? Well, weeks of anticipation since the announcement of Mad Caddies’ Toronto tour date brought me so much excitement that when the day finally arrived, I was beside myself.
Well, as pumped as I was for the Californian ska-punk group to be playing this one-off Toronto show at Lee’s Palace in the midst of the most beautiful snowfall we’ve had so far this winter, my night was off to a rough start pretty quickly. Due to some miscommunication regarding press passes and tripod entry (Come on guys, it’s the current year! I thought we lived in a world free of tripod-related discrimination!), I was delayed at the door and ended up missing Copper Crown’s set, which is a real bummer because I reviewed their EP a couple of months back and was stoked to see these guys on the bill. I walked into the venue as they played their last song, “The Messenger,” and all I can say is those guys sounded exactly like they did on record, at least for those forty-five seconds. I hope I can catch them again soon.
The first band I saw that night was Piffbreak Arcade; a fast, energetic group that is influenced by too many 90s punk bands to name. They were nothing I hadn’t heard before, but they had great energy. They captured the fun spirit of the genre almost perfectly in their music and even prompted a few people to do that thing where they run around and shove each other into other people. Inspiring stuff. Those who weren’t convinced by the halfway point of their set were treated to a pretty spot-on cover of Rancid’s “Journey To The End Of The East Bay,” and it’s at that point that I was sold on these guys. Their original music fit well amongst a Rancid cover and helped show the influence that Tim Armstrong and Co. have on the guys in Piffbreak Arcade.
Despite my somewhat shitty mood, I couldn’t deny lighting up when the Mad Caddies stepped on stage. Their laid back ska style brought a very feel-good vibe to the packed floor. Of their first ten songs or so, nine were off their two most recent, more laid-back albums (Not that I’m complaining, they’re the records I’m most familiar with). The crowd was surprisingly active considering how relatively slow the tunes were, which made the floor all the more hectic when the band dipped into their older, faster catalogue. Bodies were diving off the stage, surfing the crowd, and taking full advantage of the lack of security guards to stop them. A few of them felt the need to film themselves doing shit onstage, which made the sadistic side of me happy when they almost immediately fell to the floor with their phone in hand. I’m an asshole, what can I say? At least no one got hurt.
The band’s performance was spot on, with a special mention needing to go to Chuck Robertson’s vocals, which sounded exactly like they do on their records. I couldn’t help but dance along with everyone else in the pit, even with my winter jacket. Sweat and beer-soaked as it was, I had a fantastic time.
Despite all the pre-show mishaps, and the three-hour trek back home (Gotta love late-night public transit to the suburbs), I had a good time at Lee’s Palace. I think we’ve proved that Toronto is a more than a welcoming audience. Let’s hope the Mad Caddies get those extra Air Miles again next year. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, I’m glad you asked. I had the chance to sit down with Chuck Robertson before the show. Read up here.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy