Words/Photography by: Jeanette LeBlanc
On December 1st, 2015; August Burns Red’s headlining tour made it’s way to the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto with support from Every Time I Die, Stick To Your Guns, Polyphia & Wage War. With a hefty and diverse line-up like this one, it came as no surprise that it was a banger.
The first band to hit the stage was Ocala, Florida’s Wage War. Having just released their debut album Blueprints a week prior to this show, it was evident that these guys are on the rise, and we can’t wait to see more of them in the near future.
The band hit the studio to record Blueprints with American producer Andrew Wade (A Day to Remember, Our Last Night, The Word Alive, Motionless In White, The Ghost Inside) and co-producer Jeremy McKinnon (A Day To Remember, vocals), resulting in an extremely powerful sound to the release. If you’ve never heard of them, do yourself a favor and get your hands on that damn album before your friends say they heard it first.
Wage War’s live performance definitely did not fall short of what you would expect from their heavy hitting sound. Their energy was felt throughout the room and it was clear that a large amount of fans were there to catch the performance as they sang along to their single “Twenty-One”.
Up next, the crowd grew but the energy calmed down as Dallas, Texas’ Polyphia hit the stage. There was no denying the talent behind the band, but the instrumental vibe made it harder for the crowd to chant along.
Polyphia were definitely an odd fit for this tour with the lack of a hype-man and heavy hitting vocals, but of course that’s what helped keep the contrast of the bands. We personally would love to see these guys open up for a more prog style band such as Periphery or Between The Buried and Me.
After the crowd grew, the time came for the energy to get back on top. Orange County’s Stick To Your Guns took all prisoners as they powered through their loud and strong set.
They kicked off the first circle pit of the night during their performance of “What Goes Around”. STYG’s undeniably hold a high seat in the post-hardcore scene, and they made the whole room feel like they were a part of it. The crowd were especially ecstatic during “We Still Believe”, “Diamond” and their closer with “Amber”.
Up next, the time came for Buffalo New York’s Every Time I Die to take over. Sadly, this set would be the first on this tour that the band would have to perform without their vocalist Keith Buckley. The night prior to this show, Keith had to cancel his book signing in Toronto a few short hours before the event when he was given the news that his wife who was 7 months pregnant had to undergo immediate life threatening surgery to remove the baby due to complications. Fortunately in the last update the band provided, both are stable and on the road to recovery, where of course- Keith needs to be.
Every Time I Die decided at the last minute that the show must go on, and fortunately for them their buddy Tyler who is also the vocalist of Toronto’s Exalt was able to step up to the plate.
With minimal time for preparation, there were definitely moments where Tyler slipped up and forgot the lyrics, but he definitely still gave the crowd what they wanted through his confidence and stage dives.
Near the end of ETID’s set, guitarist Andrew Williams asked the crowd if anyone wanted to come sing “Werewolf”, where he was met with a handful of confident waving arms and jumping bodies. Keith’s brother and lead guitar played Jordan Buckley then helped two lucky dudes on stage while the band jumped right into it. As for the two random dudes? They nailed it and made us proud enough to beg for an encore- which sadly never came…
Finally as the crowd huddled in the crowded venue, chanting “ABR, ABR!”, the stage set up revealed it was time for Pennsylvania’s August Burns Red to finish the deed.
Opening up with “Martyr”, the fans were crowd surfing and moshing within seconds. ABR played exactly what fans wanted to hear, it was the perfect medley of their decade of releases. Fans were also stoked to hear songs off of their Christmas album Sleddin Hill.
All in all, the tour stop was a massive success. We are proud of Every Time I Die for showing Toronto some love and still giving it their all in a tough situation, and its safe to say bodies all throughout the GTA will be hurting for a couple of days…
ABR Set List:
Salt & Light
Beauty in Tragedy
Carol of the Bells
Majoring in the Minors
Frosty the Snowman
Also check out a video we snagged of the lucky ETID fans: