Did you used to listen to Hawthorne Heights and Silverstein in high school? Well, you’re not alone, and both bands are grateful to you. So much so that Silverstein are currently touring Canada, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the release of their first full-length record When Broken is Easily Fixed (and playing that record from start to finish), and they’ve got Hawthorne Heights along for the ride selling a shirt that says “I used to listen to Hawthorne Heights in high school.”
They also brought Capstan and As Cities Burn with them, but neither band was really on stage long enough to make all that much of an impression. Which is a shame, because both bands are actually really worth checking out. Capstan does this thing where they’re like really melancholy-sounding pop-punk, but also with sometimes proggy death breakdowns, and As Cities Burn do that thing where they sound like angry white guys but also the guitars are really serene and melodic because of whatever the fuck in 2018. But seriously, you should check them out.
Hawthorne Heights sounded pretty much the same as you remember them sounding, and they brought exactly the kind of performance you’d expect. In between radio hits like “Saying Sorry” and a few newer songs thrown in for good measure, they paid tribute to their own late band member as well as lost brothers in arms from contemporaries like The Rev, and they also made dedications to anyone suffering from addiction, anxiety and other ills. The crowd was surprisingly young on average, but the kids seemed to know the words to the songs. The show was sold out, but no one really seemed to be moving all that much. That is, until the boys launched into their closing number which was – you guessed it – “Ohio is for Lovers.” Then everyone was jumping.
Silverstein could easily have toured alone and still made the show well worth the price of admission – they played almost two albums worth of material. There were no fancy pyrotechnics, no show-stopping costumes or skits; this was merely a celebration of a beloved heavy band a decade and a half into their impressive career. To their credit, they did bring a multi-talented violinist-keyboardist-guitarist-everythingist (merci Mike!) along with them to make sure the songs sounded about as close as they could to the recorded versions, but aside from that they simply rocked out in everyday clothes in front of a cloth banner featuring the aforementioned album’s cover art.
But boy, can they play. From the opening notes of “Smashed Into Pieces” they made the stage their bitch. The crowd surfers started flying and didn’t stop for pretty much the entire run. Guitarists Paul Marc Rousseau and Josh Bradford looked awesome rocking twin harmonies on top of their respective risers (and spazzing out like maniacs over heavy hardcore riffs) and frontman Shane Told’s scream was so powerful that there were moments where he didn’t even need a microphone to be heard throughout Le National. They even had Capstan’s singer come and help them out on a track.
After they finished the record, they went backstage for a few minutes and before coming back out and doing it all over again with a totally lit greatest hits set that included the likes of “Smile in Your Sleep” and the heavy as hell new track “Retrograde.” For this second set, they even changed clothes. Evidently, they’re no longer kids, and rocking out as hard as they did caused them to perspire beyond an acceptable level of freshness. By the end of the show, everyone else was also sweating from the singing, dancing, and moshing, but it was raining outside anyway so no one had any reason to complain.
Written by Syd Ghan
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Kate Erickson