Arriving to the Groove Lounge in Oshawa, ON early it was surprising to see all of the eager fans waiting for the show to start. It really proved that there is still a good hardcore base in Oshawa, where several successful acts performance roots were laid many years ago.
My first inclination upon walking up to the doors of the Groove Lounge were a bit uneasy, but once I got inside I was impressed- it looked like a great venue for a hardcore show; a nice long, dark venue, with a perfect stage set-up.
The opening band by the name of Altona was a young band out of Stouffville whose bursts of energy and talent made for a perfect for an opener for this bill. The band’s songs were packed with; master chordy riffs, a great use of feedback, a drummer who’s groove kept the music moving, lots of rolling toms, fast snares and even some Lars Ulrich style symbol grabs that made me a sonically pleased “wanna-be” drummer.
Altona’s vocalist was a formidable front man who held his own. He had good stage banter and a great punk-rock-like scream. These guys kept fans wanting more.
The Second band to perform was Constellations, out of Pickering, ON. These guys had great stage antics, and extremely high energy that made for a performance to be remembered.
Musically they were extremely tight with overlaying guitar parts that meshed incredibly well and drum and bass that sat right where it needed to be.
Constellations vocalist Dylan Cooper was a Wildman which made for a great front man to watch; he went from hanging from the rafters and running around the stage jumping off walls to even hanging off the ceiling, all while putting out some outstanding vocals.
Constellations had the whole package; an air tight drummer, strong vocals, awesome energy, good between song “banter”, well put together breakdowns, good crowd involvement and they were even extremely appreciative of the other bands.
Their songs showcased melodic heavy choruses with kick drums like a heartbeat- steady and true. To top it all off they even played an awesome Papa Roach cover of “Last Resort” with an added “heavy as balls” breakdown that got everybody moving in a hurry!
At the end of their set, Constellations thanked their fill in drummer Alex before playing their last song that hit the crowd as hard as a freight train, with lots of melodic chugging and a bigger than life chorus that was accompanied by on stage summersaults and hand springs. Pretty sure their front man could be onto something, Metal Gymnastics?
The third band up was Hamilton’s Prophets. The band who seemed to have quite a strong following opened up their set with extreme drowning riffs, aggressive screams and plenty of monitor standing swagger.
A lot of the audience seemed to know most songs word for word, keeping up with vocalist Ian Flynn. Drummer Jordan Trask brought plenty of brutalizing snare rolls and gut busting kick drums. These guys had almost Dillinger Escape Plan-like open ended breakdowns, both crushing and swaying back-and-forth- this characteristic of their music obviously lead to a whole lot of moshing.
The band had lyrics that just constantly begged for gang vocals throughout their set along with chugging riffs that seemed to jump out of the speakers and were deceivingly big sounding for a single guitar and single bass.
Prophets had great comical stage “banter” between songs which kept the audience’s attention locked and bassist Chris Paterson laid down great bass groove’s that sat right in to guitar part harmonies and overlaying overdriven sounds.
At one point their voclaist fell off the monitors he was standing on with the grace of a cinder block, but laughed it off and kept the vibes good and the music brutal (in the best way possible).
Cascading guitar riffs leading into driving heavy breakdowns definitely kept all ears perked. If you enjoy bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Comeback Kid then you will love these guys. Summing them up is hard, but if I could; punky raw edge with a large dose of hardcore, and at times converge like vocal chord shredding.
Prophets exited with ambient guitar notes and a very sincere thank you to bands and people for coming out from their vocalist. There really needs to be more bands this open and sincere, it was refreshing to hear a young band with so much drive and sincerity.
Their vocalist finished their last song of the set without a microphone, screaming blood curdling lyrics at fully audible volume as he walked around the crowd, straight from the gut/heart you could say. This was probably one of the best endings to a set I have ever seen.
The fourth band up was Alpine, California’s Being As An Ocean. The band kicked off the set with singer Joel Quartuccio immediately plunging into the center of the crowd as the people seemed to pile in like moths to flames, no reference intended, at all, seriously.
These guys had some awesome drowning high bass tones that just seemed to bleed out of bassist Ralph Sica’s Jazz bass, paired with great chording melodic riffs which almost shot out of the twin telecasters of guitarists Tyler Ross and Jacob Prest.
Boundless ambient interludes kept ears and eyes over the waves of spine tingling notes that lead into heavy, heart pounding choruses as the crowd hung onto every word. You can really tell these guys stand behind every word and every note they play. Their energy reverberated throughout the venue, back to front, side to side, this band kills it on a cerebral level.
The relentless contrast of their music is phenomenal, jumping from melodic bliss to face crushing heaviness in the blink of an eye, their vocalist has astounding unique clean vocals and a punishing growl. I am biased to the bright crackle of a fender telecaster, but come on; there were two of them in unison!
There isn’t much better crowd involvement than your front man moshing harder than the audience, as well as screaming and singing in their faces for your entire set, connected like a loose light socket giving them a shock every couple bars.
The entire band has energy that could feed a much larger venue than this. Being As An Ocean’s vocalist had an extremely touching interlude before playing “This Loneliness Won’t Be The Death of You”, speaking of how we are all worthy of love, and those who do not feel deserving have it all wrong, a very sincere message. A pulsating intro and telecaster notes dripping in mellow overtones that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.
Driving kick drums and a great sing along ensued, you could definitely tell there were some devoted fans at the show for these guys. The utter ambience and melody throughout the entire set was touching in a very metal way.
The music had a real message, you could really tell it reached out to people; everything about this band was heartfelt in a true heavy way. A good analogy that came to mind for me listening to this band play is someone leaving the tap on in an upstairs bathroom and slowly overflowing the sink until the water comes above the sink and floods the bathroom floor, then comes down the stairs and floods the main floor, and somehow fills up the whole house (in my imaginary world this is possible) and then you’re just standing outside watching like what the fuck just happened. Probably didn’t make any sense to anybody but believe me, if you were there, you would know. I can’t say enough good about these guys, and I really can’t wait to see them grow and do great things.
Everyone was stoked just listening to vocalist Jonny OC and the boys warm up, oddly enough with Jonny playing some drums. After a brief rip through pop punk history (mostly blink 182) commenced the noise.
Opening with Vacant, which is their newest single and most recently released video. Vacant really show cases the continuation of Liferuiner writing great hardcore music that’s melody hooks just as bad (good) as it’s gang vocals of past, and is just as dare I say delicate as it is brutal.
On the spectrum, they basically cover all their bases. Jonny’s vocals are so in your face and consistently brutal, yet perfectly on point, I’d almost like to call it gut wrenchingly beautiful. Much praise was given out to the bands that’d played up until their set, definitely a band of humble beings and very heavy sounds.
Liferuiner’s drummer’s kicks sounded as though he had two feet made of cement, heavy as hell- a double kick that hits you right in the chest. Although moshing levels were down, a true oddity for a Liferuiner set, crowd engagement was off the charts. I don’t know if the band could feel it, but I could see the eyes of people burning up that stage, or it could have been the mass dose of heavy coming from that same stage, as if ready to burn the venue down once they were done with it.
S.O.S.E. off the same titled EP, brought down the house- I can’t rave enough about how much brutality this band brings to the stage in its performances, sincere brutality that is. The steadiness of every instrument of Liferuiner including their vocals is relentless, just adding to the pure live weight of their riffing that I’m sure everyone at the venue tonight could feel bearing down on their shoulders. I believe what I’m “realistically” referring to is the force of gravity, but this isn’t science we’re talking about, it’s music. So what I’m saying is, Liferuiner shows up, and wherever they’re playing they bring the gravity down on you- melodic-hardcore straight edge gravity.
With vocals that shake the ground beneath your feet, drowning guitars paired with booming bass and air tight drums, these guys have always been an essential ingredient to the GTA’s hardcore scene.
Liferuiner has done nothing but grow in the best way possible musically. Finishing of the set with 1990 off the S.O.S.E. EP made for an excellent ending. The gang vocals were amazingly out of hand and the energy was almost as strong as the smell of sweaty hardcore fans putting in work all night. 1990 is definitely one of the most impressive Liferuiner songs to date. Always remaining excited for what the freight train of hardcore that is Liferuiner is going to do next.
Review By: Scott Cruickshank