The best thing about being in a band that goes on tour is seeing new, exciting places. Usually these places contain my favorite things – bands, food, and records – which are huge perks, especially if I’m not too broke to enjoy them. Since I’m on tour with my band Boilerman right this very second (seriously, I’m at a coffee show in New Hampshire right now), I figured I’d report back on some of the highlights so far. Consider me something between your man-on-the-scene reporter and a fly on the wall that’s here for your enrichment.
Our first show of tour was in Toronto. We’d never been to Canada before, so this was going to be something totally new. I wasn’t sure what to expect from my closest big city Canadian neighbors, but I was thrilled with the result. The show was in a small basement, and it was packed just to the point before it got uncomfortable. The first band, Stairs, was a great two piece band, just made up of guitar and drums, by which I was pleasantly surprised. Their mix of American Football style emo with some minor nods to post-punk, post-rock, and bits of melodic punk here and there was something that normally leaves me yawning. But this band pulled it off flawlessly, managed to sound full despite the single guitar, and didn’t overstay their welcome. My Man followed with their poppy, folky, jangly amalgam of subgenres. I’d heard this band recorded before, but their live set was much more entertaining. Off-kilter and endearingly sloppy at times without tipping into bad territory, My Man won my heart with their well-crafted pop songs. The band that played after us, closing out the show, was called Brutal Youth. They manage to throw Superchunk, Lifetime, Gorilla Biscuits (whom they covered), and The Humanoids in a blender to create something as good as the sum of its parts. After blasting through several sub-minute long jammers, the singer tore his ACL. He announced this to the crowd and said he would certainly need to go to the hospital after the show. After the show. When most bands would have called it a night, Brutal Youth proceeded to play another 5 or 6 songs with the singer writhing on the floor, belting out his fierce yet melodic vocals through a few more tunes, including a 7 Seconds cover. Brutal Youth made my night.
We spent the next day wandering Toronto on Canadian Thanksgiving, something which I did not even know was a thing, with our friend Matt. We looked at records, bought 3D posters of holographic Jesus, and went to a great vegetarian Thanksgiving feast. The next morning we bid Toronto adieu to head towards Montreal. We met up with our host and promoter, Phil of Addington Lennox. We met his adorable dog and got to the venue in time to eat some insanely good Lebanese food down the block.
Night fell and the show began with a bang as locals Boids launched into their set. I was perplexed by this band. At the beginning of their set, I thought they were a group who couldn’t decide what they wanted to do. They started off with a song that sounded like the style of gruff pop punk that wouldn’t be out of place on No Idea Records. The next tune was a Ramones-core number, followed by a rollicking street punk style anthem that reminded me of the GC5. I couldn’t wrap my head around what they were trying for until they got part way through their set and started introducing Fugazi style breaks into the aforementioned genres, beginning to meld them all together a bit more while more blatantly ripping off the mighty Nomeansno. By the end of their set, I was sold. Boids rule. We played next and were followed by Addington Lennox. This Montreal four piece plays a style of pop punk that’s somewhat varied, but cohesive. They clearly draw from influences like Banner Pilot, Lagwagon, and some early Drive-Thru Records bands while not sounding dated or boring. The crowd was pleased and clearly like this band a lot.
We unloaded from the show and talked to several of the slightly-to-moderately insane people populating the surrounding area. One man told us that he uses the word “boogie” to describe living in a way such that one is out of step with mainstream society and invited us to his tent. Another sang us a song about how love is the only thing that the world needs and is, indeed, the strongest force moving the universe along. The same man had just done an impromptu reggae jam to a CD after Addington Lennox had finished. All in all, a rock solid show that kept up our track record of only playing with good bands on this tour. After a visit to the excellent Sound Central Records the next day, we hit the road for New Hampshire. And here I am, in a coffee shop, preparing for what’s next. Until next week, stay tuned and stay boogie.