Words by: Tyson Clarke
Photography by: Jerome Joyce
It was a wet and dreary night in Toronto, but that didn’t stop the hundreds of fans waiting long before the doors were open to see SWMRS bring their Berkeley’s on Fire Tour to the Phoenix Concert Theatre on April 14th. Kicking off the show were Destroy Boys, Goodbye Honolulu, and Beach Goons.
As the lights went down, the closing track to SWMRS latest record, “Steve Got Robbed” played as the band made their way to the stage. The California Punk Rockers opened their fast paced 70 minute set with their latest single “Trashbag Baby”, followed by the crowd pleasing “D’you Got a Car?”.
“It feels so good to be back here Toronto. Hey, we have a lot of rock and roll explosion coming. I just wanted to welcome you to the show. When you walked into the show you joined a community. You may not know most of the people here but we need to work together to make this a safe place. Hopefully we can take this community mentality here and try to make our society better” singer, Cole Becker said as he greeted the crowd before jumping into “Berkeley’s on Fire”, “Too Much Coffee” and “Lose Lose Lose”.
“This is like the only cold place that people from California actually like.” Said Becker. “You guys are so nice, the food is good. Why would anyone want to leave here? Also you guys are all so good looking, I don’t know what’s in the water” he said before playing “Hannah”. The band closed out their set with fan favourite’s off of their debut album, Drive North “Figuring it Out”, “Palm Trees”, “Lose It” and “Harry Dean”. “You guys were absolutely perfect. We’re a long way from home right now. Thank you so much for coming. Get home safe, be good to each other, stay hydrated. We are SWMRS. Don’t forget to just keep swimming” Becker said, referencing Finding Nemo before sending the crowd home.
You know the saying “dance like nobody’s watching”? SWMRS frontman Cole Becker gave new meaning to that phrase as he pranced around the stage doing some of the most eclectic and out of control dance moves. He came on stage in a baggy green suit, looking like a homeless man, moving around like he had been drinking for multiple days straight, but he had the crowd in the palm of his hands all night. It was nearly impossible to keep your eyes off of him. Backed by an extremely tight band, featuring Cole’s brother Max Becker, as well as Green Day frontman’s son Joey Armstrong.
The show was all jumping and smiling. The band on multiple occasions touched on some serious subjects throughout the night. A big theme of the night was the sense of community, and Becker used theme to preach about Sexual Violence, Racism, Sexism, to accept people for whatever differences there may be. We as an audience were encouraged to take the feeling of community and safety in the venue and bring that into the world to try to make society better.
SWMRS are only two albums deep into their career, but when they’re on stage it feels like they’ve been around for decades. They are veterans and genuine class acts.
- Trashbag Baby
- D’you Got a Car?
- Berkeley’s on Fire
- Too Much Coffee
- Lose Lose Lose
- Lonely Ghosts
- Bad Allergies
- April in Houston
- Figuring it Out
- Palm Trees
- Lose It
- Harry Dean