Photos and Words by Shakil Hossain
The co-headlining Never Ending Summer tour led by the Offspring and 311 hit the Budweiser Stage in Toronto. The band rocked the audience with a mixture of both older hits from their album Smash and Americana along with songs from their anticipated upcoming album - expected to be released this year. Their music matured over the last 20 years and Offspring’s live performance showed the band has perfected live music performance with their experience and love for music.
311 closed the show with songs from their latest album Mosaic and their previous hits, upholding their reputation for one of the most entertaining and dynamic live bands around. Guitarist Tim Mahoney and bassist P-Nut head banged, danced through almost every song, and the band kept the audience on their toes throughout. Martinez’s freestyle complemented Nick Hexum’s vocal perfectly as they both took the role of the front man in almost every song.
Throughout the night, the audience was taken up and down with heavier music from Offspring and lighter, harmonious music from 311. The audience responded with dancing and singing as one more perfect, Toronto summer concert ended leaving everyone on a high note.
Words and photos by Phil Araujo
Alice Phoebe Lou came from South Africa to rock the Great Hall in Toronto on August 22nd. She brought her amazing energy and beautiful, powerful voice to make a show worth attending and remembering.
Opener Emma Beckett is a Toronto based artist with amazing potential and an incredible voice. She had the crowd going from the very beginning and warmed them up for the main act - it's amazing to see what our own city has to offer.
Photos and words by Codey Tanner
About an hour before Dean Brody's concert at theBudweiser Stage in Toronto, it was raining so much that streets of the city were flooding, and transit routes were being temporarily shut down. Getting anywhere within the downtown core of Toronto became extra difficult. Despite this, the venue was entirely packed. Seats filled to the brim and barely any spots were available in the standing section in front of the stage.
Alan Doyle (of Great Big Sea fame) was the chosen support act for the evening. Great Big Sea has been retired since 2013 after the band’s 20th Anniversary tour, but Alan is still going strong with continued solo touring. With a mix of Great Big Sea favourites and newer material from his 2017 solo album “A Week at the Warehouse”, Alan had the crowd absolutely roaring, singing along with every word.
There was a brief break between the end of Alan’s set and the start of Dean’s, however there was no break in the excitement for fans. It was hinted that Dean will have a big announcement coming sometime next week (Aug 20-24) and that fans should stay tuned to his social media for more details.
As expected, Dean took the stage with explosive energy - the only Canadian country artist to ever sell out the Budweiser Stage in Toronto. With fan favourites spanning his six studio album career, including “Canadian Girls” and his new single “Good Goodbye” from earlier this year, Dean followed up his sold out 2017 appearance at the Budweiser Stage with another fantastic show.
Photos and words by Anthony Smith.
Fresh into their Forever On Your Side tour, Needtobreathe reached one of the most scenic stages in Toronto, the RBC Echo Beach. Its easy to see why they have cemented a position as one of South Carolinas greatest rock exports. Bear with his snarly vocals and his brother Bo running around exploring the edges of the stage - the whole stage immediately screams confidence. Bear made sure everyone was having a Great Night by climbing into the audience and running a lap without losing his iconic hat.
The stage was set up with thin pillars of lights like a neon forest the band could run up and through for their more upbeat numbers – which was a generous chunk of the set! Covering the Elvis Presley hit Bossa Nova Baby the stage suddenly transformed into a psychedelic wonderland. Magically rising from the rear of the stage on a platform, Bear serenaded Toronto in a disco ball jacket with Difference Maker, while mimicking the CN Tower off in the distance behind him.
A short Sigur Ros interval and the forest stage became a campfire sitting under the stars for a few acoustic numbers. Joining them on stage for Forever On Your Side was the excellent tour support Johnnyswim who were greeted with a very warm welcome after winning over the crowd with their spectacular opening set.
Needtobreathe provided Toronto with a very memorable night and its clear they are always welcome to visit again.
Photos and words by Shakil Hossain.
Lovelytheband - known for their edgy pop-rock music style and stage presence - kicked off their “Broken like me tour” last night at the Velvet underground in Toronto. Their first studio album “Finding it hard to smile” was just released on August 3rd with a combination of alternative rock/pop, which when added to the band’s edgy presence, made for a wildly appealing show.
The simplicity of the band’s lyrics can fool people at first but the music gives a way to the depth of the band’s character. In the age of short attention span and social media’s hype about how happy and cool everyone is – the band’s music is a fresh reminder of life outside of social media.
The opener Rad Horror showed equal California style explosive energy on stage with their grungy 90s style rock music. Their music can easily bring nostalgia to anybody who grew up in the 90’s listening to Kurt Cobain and Pearl Jam. Both bands are young and have a very bright future ahead of them.
Photos and words by Queosha Walters.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Lynyrd Skynryd put on an explosive show at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto this past Sunday. Lakeshore Blvd was backed up for blocks as fans came together to experience their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour.
Moments before the band was set to hit the stage, the energy generated by fans created a palpable effect. Everyone was on their feet and ready to experience the rock legends do their thing one final time. The band opened up with Workin' for MCA, a very straightforward song about their beginnings with their first record label Music Corporation of America, now known as Universal Music Group.
Lynyrd Skynyrd's founder and guitarist, Gary Rossington set the stage ablaze with Rickey Medlocke, Johnny Roy Van Zant, and Mark Matejka. Rossington has opened up about his health and the struggle of going on tour at this stage in life. The concern over age, families and grandkids are shared amongst the band but they know that they want to end this chapter on a strong note. They want to ensure that Lynyrd Skynyrd is always remembered in the highest of regards and refused to do any small shows on this final leg.
We will forever be grateful to Lynyrd Skynyrd for giving us hits like Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird. It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, songs like these will always unite us. If you get the chance to check out the band before the end of their farewell tour, definitely do so! The show is a wild ride, so buckle up!
Photos and words by Queosha Walters
After an almost three year hiatus, The Gaslight Anthem announced in January of 2018 that they would be reuniting for several shows to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their album The 59' Sound, and Toronto was fortunate enough to be one of the chosen cities. Although the band has not worked on any new material since 2015, Torontos fans filled REBEL in anticipation of reminiscing and rocking out to nostalgic hits.
The band performed 28 songs altogether, opening up with Handwritten, which the crowd knew every single word to. Alex Levine, the band's bass player, was truly remarkable to watch as he unapologetically danced around the stage and even took the time to acknowledge some fans in the front row. Gaslight Anthem's lead, Brian Fallon, was full of smiles and looked really happy to be back on tour and reunited with the fans.
It's unclear at the moment whether or not The Gaslight Anthem will ever permanently reunite to create new music. Fallon expressed that he would likely move forward with a solo career as he doesn't have anything more to say with the band that hasn't already been written in the music across five albums. Art should never be forced and should come from an authentic place, so we appreciate Fallon's view for his future. We wish success and prosperity to each band member and the musical paths they'll embark upon!
By Fernando Lara
After an extended hiatus of 5 years, The Monkeys are back by presenting their 6th studio album - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino - that shows a softer version of the band and a lot more of its multi talented frontman, Alex Turner. Toronto is the stadium show capital of Canada and could not be missed by the indie, neo-punk danceable UK’s band.
One could not believe that Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not was released only 12 years ago, becoming the fastest selling debut album in British history. Back in 2006, Arctic Monkeys was the band that was making fans jump in every show across the country with fast drum beats and aggressive guitar riffs, perfectly suited to Alex’s complex lyrics. With Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino people dance to the melodies that are mainly created with only a piano and a shorter but tastier selection of Turner’s sentences.
The performance at the Scotiabank Arena presented the new era of Arctic Monkeys, beginning with the new album’s first single Four Out of Five which is charged with class and elegance specifically on the bass line. Afterward, the hit song of 2013’s AM, Do I Wanna Know? made the whole arena immediately go crazy and without leaving space to any doubt, the band played Brianstorm followed by I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor just to let everyone know that the new Arctic Monkeys wear suits and sound classic, their music is wild, spectacular, endearing and refined, they are here again and they are giving everything on stage.
There is still a debate among fans that love the new material and fans that support older albums. The setlist was carefully crafted to please everyone with the best 5 songs of the new album and finishing with Snap Out of It and R U Mine?
Apparently, the only constant in Arctic Monkeys’ musical journey is that there is no constant. The only thing that has not changed is that they are still not attached to any ephemeral fashion, nor a given label
Photos and words by Shakil Hossain
The Piano Guys are the definition of fun. This duo consisting of John Schmidt and Steven Nelson took over the Budweiser stage last night in Toronto and performed a grandiose, modern display of classical music. The two piece comprised of only a cello and piano made the entire audience dance along, and the large video background for every song gave the performance an eclectic touch.
Besides their musical genius, the band is known for their unique videos on Youtube where they play their respective instruments in the most unimaginable places one can think of – on top of a mountain, a cliff or in a winter forest while it's snowing. These unique videos that are carefully curated for every song are an essential part of the musical experience - they naturally complemented the music. Before every song, John and Steven provided a narrative which made the performance much easier to follow.
The song “Bourne Vivaldi” was based on Steven’s childhood memory of listening to Vivaldi which triggered thoughts of action movie fight scenes for him. Naturally, he composed a Vivaldi inspired song along with elements inspired from his favourite action movie “Bourne Identity” and called it Bourne Vivaldi.
The friendly banter between the duo added more entertainment throughout the concert. Both John and Steven can easily be mistaken as the guys next door anyone can hang out and have a drink with. The combination of talented musicians playing live in front of beautifully made videos and curated lights - this show was a great night of entertainment.
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