Words & Photography by Sabrina Città

On January 31 and February 1st 2020 Hot Water Music along with their pals Cancer Bats and The Fullblast played to a packed house at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto.

Up first was The Fullblast, the progressive melodic punk band from Oakville Ontario. Originated in 2000, they broke up in 2006 but reunited in 2017 to release their EP Attack Sustain Decay. They were ecstatic to be on the bill with Hot Water Music and Cancer Bats. Liam from Cancer Bats had mentioned that they opened up for The Fullblast back in 2005. They put on an energetic performance both nights which did not disappoint the audience.

Next up were the hardcore punk band from Toronto, Cancer Bats. The crowd was super amped up to see them and as soon as lead singer Liam jumped on stage the building went nuts. It was nice to see guitarist Scott Middleton back with the band as he had taken some time off to spend with his new baby. His good friend and Alexisonfire guitarist Wade MacNeil had filled in for Scott, but in a recent Instagram post he had said how happy he was to be back on tour with his Cancer Bats brothers, as he had not played with them since August. They started rocking out with their hit “Gatekeeper” and tore down the house with other hits “Pneumonia Hawk” and their insane Beatie Boys cover of “Sabotage”. On night two their friend Andrew Neufeld from the band Comeback Kid made a surprise appearance and jumped on stage to join them in singing “Sabotage” and the crowd went wild. They finished off the first night with “Bricks and Mortar” and the second night with “Hail Destroyer”, and boy did they not disappoint.

And finally the time came for the main event, headlining punk rock band from Gainesville, Florida who formed in 1993, Hot Water Music came on to the stage. This tour was in celebration of their 25th anniversary of being together as a band. Chris Cresswell from the band The Flatliners had joined them on this tour and has been filling in for Chris Wollard from about 2017 while he’s been taking time off for health reasons. They played their 1999 album No Division in full on night one and on night two they played their 2002 album Caution. It was nice to see such a mix of fans in the audience all enjoying the offerings of Hot Water Music as they had an influence on the two opening bands as well as a lot of other punk bands that many of us listen to today. Everyone was singing along and having such a great time as Hot Water Music brought back a sense of nostalgia. 

Hot Water Music Set List (Night 1)

  1. Southeast First
  2. Free Radio Gainesville
  3. Our Own Way
  4. It’s Hard To Know
  5. At the End of a Gun
  6. No Division
  7. Jet Set Ready
  8. Rooftops
  9. Hit and Miss
  10. Driving Home
  11. In Song
  12. State of Grace
  13. Drag My Body
  14. A Flight and a Crash
  15. Jack of All Trades
  16. The End of the Line
  17. Alachua
  18. Complicated
  19. Remedy
  20. Trusty Chords

Cancer Bats Set List (Night 1)

  1. Gatekeeper
  2. Lucifer’s Rocking Chair
  3. Pneumonia Hawk
  4. Black Metal Bicycle
  5. Road Sick
  6. Headwound
  7. Raised Right
  8. Winterpeg
  9. Sabotage (Beastie Boys cover)
  10. Bricks & Mortar

The Fullblast

Cancer Bats

Hot Water Music

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