WORDS BY: RAVEN BENWAIT
Punk rock fans crowded outside The Opera House waiting for one thing – a hectic night filled with mosh-pits, stage dives, crowd surfing, violence and of course, music. On Friday the 12th of December, The Flatliners were back in their hometown, Toronto, to headline their final tour of the year. On this 4-day-short Canadian tour they brought along PUP, Such Gold and The Dirty Nil.
The winter chills did not stop the hardcore Punk rock fans from being a part of the show, as there was a packed venue before the night had even begun!
First to step on the Opera House stage was Hamilton band, The Dirty Nil. The three-piece band plays rock and roll – “Loud, distorted and out of control, they play like it’s a fever they’re trying to sweat out.” They released their 7″, Cinnamon b/w Guided by Vices with Fat Wreck Chords, after catching the attention of Fat Mike, front-man of NOFX.
The crowd at the time was a decent size as they were sipping on some beer and enjoying the tunes to their ears, but there were two guys in particular that stood out. During “Cinnamon,” they were screaming lyrics and continued throughout the set, forming a quite entertaining two-man moshpit at the side of the floor, later joined by a couple of others.
From Needle Drop Records, next on the lineup was Such Gold. The New York band is a mix of Punk and Melodic Hardcore. Such Gold released a new album this year called The New Sidewalk. They formed in 2009 and have always been determined to make music as a band ever since, as they also released Misadventures and two EPs, Stand Tall and Pedestals.
The 4-piece band began their set with “Two Year Plan,” with lyrics and vocals to stand out, as they turned heads and got fans to join the floor. Young vocalist, Ben Kotin sang the line “I always thought we were escaping from it… from a culture that’s come to hate us.” Sounds like a line we can all relate to at one point or another. They also played some of their newer songs like “Nauseating” and “Engulfed in Flames.” Such Gold closed their 10-song set with “Locked Out of the Magic Theater,” a very fast-paced instrumental which was a great choice of songs to close the set.
Conclusion of their set: An underrated band? – Possibly.
The last band on stage before the headliners was PUP, a Toronto Punk band. Since 2011, PUP carries a reputation of their sweaty, intense, loud… extremely loud music. They were recently called one of Toronto’s best live bands by AUX. Although they’ve only been a band for three years, they still continuously tour and make music to represent the Toronto Punk music scene.
A song they played during their set, “Reservoir” is one of the popular ones, with a bit of an Indie flare to it and some Punk which is quite an original mix. During their set, the stage-divers were continuously diving into the same spot everyone else was diving into, falling straight to the ground. It was quite funny, especially when guitarist, Steve called them out.
“Why does everyone keep diving into the same spots that the last person just dived into,” said Steve, “You’re obviously going to fall!”
A minor issue during PUP’s set was when the guitar amp was too loud, overpowering all the other instruments. It could have been a more enjoyable set if we could hear more vocals with rhythm guitar and bass, rather than the overpowering lead guitar.
Despite the incident, this was a big show for teenagers because some of them were stage diving for the first time in their lives! PUP says you can either like the music or love it or you can hate it, but lucky for them the Toronto crowd loved it.
During each set, the lighting was top notch at The Opera House. Each song was filled with a creative lighting effect, making the stage presence even more exciting.
While waiting for headliners, the venue was jam packed, almost exploding with people. All areas of the venue were filled up, from the balcony to the floor, backstage, the front doors and even the stairs.
Headliners, The Flatliners finally hopped on The Opera House stage, ready to rock the night! These boys spent every minute and every penny, plus a lot of time on the road to make their music, which is an accomplishment seeing how far they’ve come as a band. The group of four has been making music for ten years, with their first album, Destroy to Create in 2005, followed by The Great Awake two years later. Their most famous album up to date was Cavalcade released in 2010 and the most recent, Dead Language.
The band opened up their 18-song set with “Caskets” from Dead Language, followed by “Carry the Banner” and “Count Your Bruises” from their most famous album. A song that brought back some 2007 memories was “Eulogy.” One of their older songs, “Freds Got Slacks” was an entertaining one, with a focus on vocals by Chris Cresswell. The audience was going out of breath trying to keep up the pace of their voice at Chris’s speed. This song is one to stand out, as The Flatliners wrote it when they were only in highschool.
The Flatliners had a big Toronto show last year on December 20th at The Opera House and it was hectic, but this one… it was wilder than ever, with an even higher attendance. The Flatliners delivered break-neck guitar rhythms, complimentary solos, lyrics to sing along to (almost always) and awesome back-up vocals, making their act the best to end the night.
A huge Punk music fan, Enzo Gimenez has traveled around Canada, the U.S. and Europe to see The Flatliners.
“A punk show to me is a place where kids of all walks of life can come together and enjoy punk rock. A place they can go and forget about all the struggles and things that bind them in life. This in fact gives the band they go to see a huge responsibility one that many never realize. The responsibility of allowing these kids to escape whatever they’re trying to escape from and enjoy life and live the way it is intended to be lived. So a punk rock show is more than just a rock show, more than just a gathering of sweaty kids with funky hair and busted clothes. It’s a pursuit of happiness.”