The Darkness’ hit, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” didn’t stop playing as Falling Through April stepped out onto the stage. The combination of this utterly romantic song combined with the very cordial words of FTA about how much of a fun time we were all going to have on Tuesday night was the introduction of friendly Canadianism.
Having to contend with the other bands’ equipment, the five-piece band filled the space on stage. Though this space was limited, they nevertheless managed to demonstrate some mobility and energy by walking around and bopping up and down. It was clear, however, that vocalist Mikaela Salazar is the firework in the band. This very energetic, spunky yet bubbly dame projected much exuberance as she jumped and twirled while singing her heart out. Unfortunately, the vocals only got sharper and clearer after their set; the lyrics were a tad muffled and overpowered by the instruments, but the performances themselves of such songs of theirs as “Coast to Coast” and “Nothing More” were quite tight.
I always find it curious when opening bands do a soundcheck between band sets. Shouldn’t the venue be on top of that?
Attica Riots’ performance should have caused a riot, or at least even more of an uproar from the crowd, who were definitely already digging their set hard. As our photographer Danny, and I both agreed, it’s a good thing Theory put on a solid set, because otherwise, we could very well have witnessed a case of the headliners being headlined by the opening act. Attica Riots was marvellous. This three-piece band with no bass player had the heaviest bass beats of the entire night, a bass impact that resonated throughout the whole venue and hit you hard in the chest. With his funky jazz hand dance moves, motivational words/messages, and all-around positive aura, frontman Bobby Desjarlais lifted my spirit and many others’ as he fired out bangers such as “Take Some, Leave Some” and “I’m Not the Only One,” a song about moving out into the world on your own.
If Desjarlais’ performance combined with guitarist Kyle Erikson’s solid riffs and high, running-around-stage-energy wasn’t entertaining as fuck enough, drummer Anders Erikson put the holy F’n heavens back in holy F’n heavens. Now, that’s a kick-ass drummer. There was one time when he was drumming while shaking a maraca, then started drumming with the maraca, THEN ditched the maraca mid-beat, grabbed another stick and did a sweet drum fill. I was bologna-way by Attica Riots. Surely, these guys are racking up the fans and followers. Every show they play and every move they make, they’ll be watching them.
A dramatic intro consisting of heavy synths and pretty lights followed Attica Riots’ stellar performance. Was the now simply known as Theory upscaling their openers? Theoretically, they could have been; however, every band that performed on Tuesday night at MTelus was Canadian, so there was no animosity or competitiveness present that evening. With a fat sound, blinding stage lights, and several long and narrow LED screens, Theory succeeded at ignited the venue. These guys were alive and kicking, and clearly no longer dead people, hence the name change.
Opening with “Lowlife” and then right into “Bitch Came Back,” followed by a pleasant greeting, a short story about visiting insane asylums for artistic purposes, and then straight into “Straight Jacket,” frontman Tyler Connolly was quite anecdotal during their set. Although Theory’s energy wasn’t as full and entertaining as Attica Riots’, it was nice to see that they had elaborate visual effects and smoke machine antics to go along with their set rather than trying to get away by just playing their songs as so many artists tend to do. They put effort into their performances, and that’s appreciated. The crowds’ applause and singing along demonstrated their appreciation for Theory. Having story time with the audience, taking a crowd member’s camera to take a picture with it, and getting sentimental with them was a pretty clear indication of how much Connolly appreciates his fans.
Theory pulled out all the stops with their new, super poppy track “Echoes,” the beloved “Santa Monica” preceded by an instrumental prelude, and a cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” They even played a Nickelback song which Theory wrote and Nickelback never performed… (they sound same). The night ended with a two song-encore: “Rx (Medicate)” and “Bad Girlfriend” with Guns N Roses’ “Paradise City” intro. Theory just loves covering bands, don’t they?
Written by Keenan Kerr
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Danielle Kenedy