PHOTOGRAPHY BY: JEANETTE LEBLANC
WORDS BY: SCOTT CRUICKSHANK
It has been a great couple of months for Friday the 13ths, whether you partake in the superstition optimistically or not, great things always seem to happen on these fateful days. And this past Friday the 13th of March, the second Friday the 13th of 2015, was no exception with a great show encompassing a big lineup of acts and a spectacular venue with Letlive, The Menzingers and Taking Back Sunday at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto.
First to grace the stage was none other than Los Angeles, California’s Letlive. The boys emerged from the dark to a dimly lit stage, illuminated only by several small shaded lamps. To a gradual feedback, Letlive exploded from the stage in a flurry of limbs and flash lightning, with singer Jason Butler soaring across the stage of the Danforth Music Hall like a bat out of hell. Letlive’s energy is utterly contagious, instantly commanding the venue into a hurricane of moshing and screaming along.
The band’s infectious grooves are perpetuated by the absolutely crushing heavy hand and footed drumming of Loniel Robinson, a total percussive monster. Butler’s stage performance is a remarkable one, at times almost Shakespearian in interludes with heartfelt speeches regarding life lessons and love, before climbing back into the role of dramatic wild man; climbing the loudspeakers, knocking over any mic stand in his path and tearing his clothing to mere shreds. Letlive put on an amazing show, both sonically and visually, taking the audience on a cinematic journey that is extremely raw and edgy in performance, never fearing showing off its flaws.
Next up on the bill was The Menzingers of Scranton, Pennsylvania. These guys took to the stage with a strong pulse and kept things moving for their whole set. With a seemingly strong draw from the audience there was no shortage of sing/yell/scream-a-longs and pop punk jump moshing. Vocalists Tom May and Greg Barnett had great dueling vocals and good stage energy as they belted out the indie-jock ruckus that their fans all loved. The Menzingers played a great set, including their most highly circulated radio song, “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore”.
The grand finale of the evenings performances was none other than Long Island, New York’s own heroes and (don’t quote me) founders of emo punk rock Taking Back Sunday. Appearing out of the shadows with a deafening roar of the sold out crowd at the Danforth, the shimmering opening track ‘Preface’ off their latest release Happiness Is sucked the audience in as TBS kicked it into high gear with “Flicker Fade”. The boys came strapped with a great background production composed of brightly lit wall projections that really played a great role in their performances atmosphere and vibe.
Taking Back Sunday has yet to come to Toronto without putting on an absolutely stellar performance for the last few years, and this show was no exception. With singer Adam Lazzara’s signature stage antics; swinging his microphone around whilst wrapping it around his neck and belting out the high pitched fan favourites of albums current and past, and the air tight performance of the once again original TBS line up (since 2010) live energy was not lacking in the slightest. Fans screamed and sang along at the top of their lungs endlessly as the band played yet another excellent set with songs old and new including the likes of; “Liar”, “Timberwolves at New Jersey”, “A Decade Under The Influence”, “Faith When I Let You Down”, and a much anticipated encore consisting of “Call Me in The Morning”, “Cute Without the E”, and “MakeDamnSure”.
Overall the show was a booming success and a great experience for all, and we look forward to seeing these bands in Toronto again soon, as well as what the future has in store from them.