WORDS BY: ALISON SEROUDE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: JASON HODGINS
Being a metalhead in Canada, there’s no way you’ve never heard of Cancer Bats, and unless you’re one of the crazy few who don’t keep tabs on this metal/hardcore/punk band, you know they just had their record release show for ‘Searching For Zero’ at The Phoenix Concert Theatre on March 12th (presented by 102.1 The Edge). Bringing their dirtiest, wildest show to date, Toronto’s very own Cancer Bats did more than deliver an amazing performance with fellow local bands Exalt, Dead Tired (with George Pettit of Alexisonfire), and Indian Handcrafts.
The opening bands for the night were a perfect mixture of the many genres that Cancer Bats may fall under. The night started with Exalt bringing a more theatrical metal performance, followed by Dead Tired with a hardcore/punk influence and the two-man band, Indian Handcrafts, getting the crowd warmed up with their southern metal/hardcore songs (think of a Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die hybrid). Throughout the entire night before Cancer Bats, the crowd was just as crazy and rowdy as they would be for the headliner. With no security to bring down crowd surfing fans, the stage was littered with female crowd surfers and stage divers with a few male fans thrown in between.
By the time Cancer Bats got to the stage, the crowd was so excited to go crazy for their favorite Toronto based band that the amount of crowd surfers doubled the moment they began to play. It didn’t seem like the crowd could be any rowdier than when they heard the opening riff to ‘Hail Destroyer’. Nothing put a bigger smile on these 10-year metal veterans than seeing their hometown go insane for them as they crowd surfed up to the stage and kept the mosh pit breathing.
Taking breaks between songs, frontman Liam Cormier let the fans in on how Cancer Bats came to be and who was to blame for their success. The culprit to blame for their triumph was none other than Alexisonfire. After giving them their EP, Cancer Bats quickly got signed onto their record label and toured the world, all while gaining even more fans whenever Alexisonfire mentioned them in interviews along the way. In honor of how far they made it in 10 years, Cancer Bats played the first song they had ever played live, ‘Shillelagh’, (which Alexisonfire made them play in the middle of another bands set). After joking that Alexisonfire were to blame for “… ruining our lives”, they instantly went into ‘Shillelagh’ causing the crowd to react even more rambunctious than before.
Cancer Bats played an array of different songs, most of which being fan favorites like ‘Rats’ and ‘Road Sick’, but they played a sample of new songs as well like ‘Satellites’ and ‘True Zero’. The show was clearly made for with the fans in mind when it came to the setlist, and that came through crystal clear throughout Cancer Bats performance whether it was your first time seeing them live or your tenth. Having such a perfect crowd and venue, Cancer Bats were able to deliver so much more than their infamous spit-covered stage performance. With such a humble, fan appreciative band like Cancer Bats, you don’t have to worry about a lackluster show, because they always bring their 110%, yet Cancer Bats delivered such an unforgettable performance that it would put their past performances to shame. Being such a fan dedicated band, you won’t ever see their loyal fan base dwindle, only grow, and with that in mind you can’t help but wonder what future crazy shows and albums Cancer Bats will come up with in the next 10 years.