PHOTOGRAPHY BY: JEANETTE LEBLANC
WORDS BY: SCOTT CRUICKSHANK
On Friday September 19th, 2014, the Sound Academy in Toronto may have been one of the coldest nights we have had so far this “fall” (technically still summer), but inside the venue was packed with enthusiastic fans ready to rock out to the likes of Northcote, Against Me! and headliners The Gaslight Anthem.
Arriving to the venue to the sound of one man and his guitar on stage at Toronto’s own Sound Academy was quite a surprise for this attendee, as the majority of heavy or even more rock n roll concerts are in your face and ear piercingly loud. But the opening act of the night, Northcote hailing originally from Saskatchewan, was an extremely pleasant surprise to an already sensational line up.
Matt Goud (no not that Matt Good, Goud) is the sole member of Northcote belting out his original acoustic oriented songs with a powerful prairie-esque voice which you cannot help but be instantly drawn into, foot stomping and head bobbing. Northcote had great on stage banter and really amped up the crowd for the following bands. If you haven’t previously heard Northcote, checking out his debut self-titled 2013 album Northcote would be a an understated recommendation.
Up next on the bill was the punk-rock-n-roll hammers, none other than Against Me! Having previously witnessed the band in Toronto last year at The Opera House pre-Laura Jane Grace, this reviewer was excited and very curious to see how the bands dynamic may have withheld or even changed.
Against Me! has always been a band who has written countless songs about striving to be yourself, and push through your own difficulties, and environmental frictions, so Laura’s choice to make a change to really express who she feels she is, although shocking to some fans, is really inspirational and a strong message to the world in regards to peoples lives being their own choice, and based on their own happiness. A personal opinion is that Laura has sparked flame to a topic that has been off radar for too long with the media and general society as a whole regarding her experience of being transgender, and with her singing her heart out on stage, and sitting in George Stroumboulopoulous’ red chair being interviewed for all of Canada to hear about her journey, this is definitely a light of hope for those going through similar transitions or who can relate to feeling trapped in the wrong body.
But enough of that, back to the show! Against Me! lit a fire under fans feets instantly when they emerged onstage to a driving rhythm of intro music, immediately turning things up to 11 with “Pints of Guiness Make You Strong” as the crowd erupted. With a new rhythm section consisting of bassist Inge Johansson (Noise Conspiracy) and drummer Atom Willard (Danko Jones, Angels and Airwaves) the band seemed to be running like a well oiled machine, plowing through such fan favourites as; “New Wave”, “Don’t Lose Touch”, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues”, and “Black Me Out”.
Toronto had a special guest vocal appearance by motivational speaker, and accomplished musician Talli Osbourne who was born without arms and missing bones from her legs, and obviously a fan of the band and the band a fan of hers! If you hvent yet, go and check out Against Me!’s latest album Transgender Dysphoria Blues.
To wrap up the night was of course headliners The Gaslight Anthem out of New Jersey. The boys of Gaslight took to the stage to an immense light show of lasers and strobes before tearing into their song “Stay Vicious”. If the venue wasn’t already backed to nearly airtight conditions it surely was once these guys really got into their set.
With body to body friction reeling off the charts fans really got moving jumping and singing along to all their favourite songs. The band was extremely tight and their driving Springsteen-esque sound kept the energy of the night rolling on and on. The Gaslight Anthem’s most recent album, 2014’s Get Hurt hit number 4 on the US charts, and these guys are definitely well on their way to even greater things than they have already achieved. The band played an array of songs off of all their releases including such songs as; “High Lonesome”, “Get Hurt”, “Rollin and Tumblin”, “45“, and “the 59’ Sound“.
Another great lineup, and another great show for Toronto’s Sound Academy. Overall a great experience from this reviewer, and we cannot wait to see what comes next for all the bands!