Photography by: Jerome Joyce
Words by: Alison Seroude
After 11PM on the night of 4/20, Lee’s Palace was booming with local Cancer Bats tunes to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of ‘Hail Destroyer’. That wasn’t the only celebration Cancer Bats had in store for their hometown however, because they released a brand new album, ‘The Spark That Moves’, that very morning.
‘Hail Destroyer’ is the record that put Cancer Bats on the map, so it only made sense for the band to celebrate their largest milestone over the course of two nights in their hometown. Opening with tracks such as ‘Shillelagh’, ‘French Immersion’ and ‘Pneumonia Hawk’, it really brought the crowd together, which was further highlighted by Liam Cormier when he exclaimed with excitement and humbleness that fans had traveled as far as Chicago and the Canadian east coast to see the show.
As overzealous as Toronto shows can be, Cancer Bats seems to be the cities proudest achievement in metal, so their crowds know how to take things up a notch. ‘Hail Destroyer’ bangers such as ‘Lucifer’s Rocking Chair’, really bring the hidden energy out of the crowd. No song more so than ‘Hail Destroyer’ itself, with the fans chanting together “children of nothing, this is our song!” like the first time they had when they picked up the album in their teens.
The entire album was a nostalgia trip for the crowd, even Cormier acknowledging that everyone in the crowd had likely picked up the album when they were 16. That created a much more sentimental crowd, because it was like everyone was a teenager again just trying to find a place to fit in. ‘Hail Destroyer’ was that album for many of those fans in the crowd that night, one of those fans was even pulled up on stage to sing along to ‘Sorceress’ since that had been his 48th Cancer Bats show.
After finishing off the album with ‘PMA ‘til I’m DOA’ and ‘Zed’s Dead Baby’, Cancer Bats brought the focus back to their brand new album ‘The Spark That Moves’ for the encore. “The album dropped 12 hours ago”, Cormier joked, before talking about how important it is to the band to stay connected to the fans and to make them feel involved. With that, everyone at the show on Friday night can sleep comfortably knowing they were the first crowd to hear ‘Gatekeeper’ and ‘Space and Time’ performed live. It wouldn’t have been a proper encore without their cover of the Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ though, which seemed to bring the energy back into the crowd for a moment before having to say a final goodbye to the band.
Unfortunately, the night had to come to an end, and to give a proper thank you and good night to their hometown, Cancer Bats performed their hit ‘Bricks and Mortar’, whose music video highlighted several Toronto hot spots that the band, and fans, holds dear.
Harem of Scorpions
Lucifer’s Rocking Chair
Let It Pour
Pray for Darkness
PMA til I’m DOA
Zed’s Dead, Baby
Space and Time
Arsenic in the Year of the Snake
Bricks & Mortar