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!
Photos and words by Queosha Walters
Lord Huron hit the stage in Toronto at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts for what can only be described as an electrifying show. The LA-based band is currently on tour promoting their album "Vide Noir" released in April 2018. The band's lead, Ben Schneider, exclaimed to the crowd how happy he was to be back performing in Toronto. Although this venue is completely seated, it didn't stop fans from dancing and rocking out from their seats and down the aisles. "Meet Me in the Woods" sent the entire crowd on their feet and ready for a night to celebrate nostalgic hits and the excitement of hearing brand new songs live for the first time.
The light production during the band's set was a show in itself. Greens, purples, and yellows illuminated the stage making this one of the most entertaining shows I've had the pleasure of witnessing. There's clear evidence of the harmony between the band taking moments to rock out, smile and dance with one another.
Even if rock isn't your favourite genre, Lord Huron possesses a very unique sound which could definitely be appreciated by any music lovers.
Photos and words by Queosha Walters
Japanese Breakfast hit the stage with ferocity at The Phoenix Concert Theatre to a completely sold out crowd. During the show Michelle Zauner, the band's lead, briefly spoke about her anxieties with thinking that no one would come to their shows. She expressed her gratitude with the fact that there was a such a demand that the venue had to be changed for a larger capacity. Japanese Breakfast are no strangers to Toronto, having previously played many shows at The Silver Dollar in Kensington Market.
During another conversation with the crowd, Zauner described her dress as looking like "an Animorph background" which somehow got us talking about Scholastic bookfairs which made all the 90s babies in the crowd go crazy. The band had amazing chemistry and worked the stage with amazing confidence. "Road Head", one of their biggest singles, really amped up the energy in the room. Zauner also played some new material which excited their biggest fans.
Those who enjoy rock and/or experimental pop will have an amazing overload with Japanese Breakfast. Their music videos are filled with awesome visuals and they truly boast a unique and futuristic sound.
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