Hey, remember high school? Anyway, Taking Back Sunday turned 20 years old this year and they stopped in at Montreal’s Corona theater this past Tuesday as part of a tour celebrating that very impressive fact. That’s right, it turns out that they actually weren’t just a phase. You hear that mom?
The Corona Theatre has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s the perfect shape, the floor slants at just the right angle and hugs the oval curves of the stage so perfectly that it’s almost impossible not to find the perfect vantage point, no matter how short or tall you are. Also, the sound is always incredible. This really helped Red City Radio, who also have a lot going for them, stand out even more.
They’ve got rock star moves; all three string players hit the power chord arm spin in perfect unison. They’ve got melody; all four members provide vocals, bolstering the the already hook-filled songs to new heights. They’ve got a sense of humor; singer Garrett Dale wore a “Fuck Journey” shirt, which is funnier than anything else anyone said or did that night. Except maybe for when drummer Dallas Tidwell failed spectacularly at catching his stick after throwing it up in the air, but he later flawlessly executed a series of stick twirls, so I think he was faking that first fuck-up* based on absolutely no evidence.
The thing they’ve also got is that punk-rock-as-fuck need to drink a lot. This was especially obvious in the slurring of words by singer Garrett Dale (whose voice is otherwise very powerful) as well as their constant not-so-subtle hints toward the crowd that they’d be looking for weed after the show. (Is this what our country is reduced to now? A place where foreign bands will always stop through just to get legal marijuana? …Is this what Amsterdam feels like all the time?)
The Corona was packed** by the time everyone’s favourite screamo band took the stage. After joking that they had written and recorded their first album, Tell All Your Friends, at the tender age of six (“Don’t Google that”) they let the ecstatic crowd know that they would play that record in its entirety, and then continue to play until they were kicked off the stage. This only turned out to be partially true; since TAYF is roughly thirty minutes long from front to back, they had enough time to play a plethora of additional hits and still be finished just after 11PM.
While most of the crowd looked like they can’t actually have been more than two years old when that record was initially released, they still managed to sing along to every word of huge anthems like “Cute Without The ‘E’,” “Great Romances of the 20th Century,” and “You’re So Last Summer,” sometimes louder than Adam Lazzara himself. (And he had a microphone.)
They didn’t let the momentum die with the end of the record either, as they kept moving right along with “A Decade Under the Influence.” (“To hell with you and all your friends” is still the most quotable line from any early-2000s emo song. I’ll fight anyone who disagrees.) There was the obligatory acoustic rockstar moment with “Divine Intervention” as well as my personal highlight: a downtuned but otherwise note-perfect rendition of Weezer’s classic “My Name is Jonas.”
And of course, they made damn sure to finish the night off with “MakeDamnSure.” Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week.
*I think I deserve a literary alliteration prize.
**The balcony was not open, so take that with a grain of salt.
Written by Syd Ghan
Photography by Marc-Antoine Morin
*edited by Danielle Kenedy