The ICYMI tour hit Toronto in the dead of winter, but that didn’t stop fans from waiting outside all day for a front-row view. EDEN, amassed of crowd of enthralled fans who waited patiently despite the slight confusion at the shows intro. Cheers enveloped the room as a words flickered across the screen running through a conversation that then faded to black. The crowd’s cheering intensified as they expected the singer to emerge from the way side, where he stood holding his helmet, but instead was greeted with another screen, this time featuring Totoro from the 1988 fantasy film My Neighbour Totoro, before EDEN burst onto stage space helmet in hand. With the stage still entrenched in black, the screen lit up one final time, this time with the audience viewing themselves lost in excitement. Blue lasers flashed across the stage while the singer wandered about, helmet still in hand. It wasn’t until song three where the lights went up and the singer found their grove, rightfully stepping into spotlight to finish the night.
Riot fest returned to Chicago for another year of rowdy rock. This year’s headliners, The Misfits, and Nine Inch Nails drew quite the crowds, however. It was My Chemical Romance’s long-awaited return that made the weekend legendary.
Of course, the three-day festival lineup was stacked. A great balance of nostalgia emo, Taking Back Sunday, The Joy Formidable and Alexisonfire coupled with the new generation of rockers YungBlud, Jxdn, and Renforshort to name a few caused a melding of worlds. No matter the generation, black clothing, coloured hair, and, despite the heat wave, leather were the common connectors. And well, of course, music.
There is no question My Chemical Romance was the show to see. The sea of overexcited fans (me) could hardly contain the momentous occasion we’ve all waited two years for. The four emo legends emerged with kind smiles, aside from frontman Gerard Way who appeared last dressed as a babushka. The faint laugh was drowned out by the first note and gasps of excitement as everyone’s inner 12-year-old self-lost their ever-loving mind.
The first song was a blank, it wasn’t until “Na Na Na” began that the realization that my emo kinds were mere feet performing genuinely sunk in. Thankfully security was there to clear away the overheated folks. After a quick pause between songs, the band was sure to safely calm the crowd before riling them back up.
Foxy Shazam is known for wild shows and being an experience not to miss and their performance lived up to the hype. The wonderous energy didn’t end with frontman NAME. Each member had their moment to steal the show, perhaps the most memorable of which being NAME grabbing his keyboard and jumping into the crowd. Crowd surfing with a keyboard may have been the most memorable moment of the unforgettable set.
Wargasm played at the same time, but they drew quite the crowd of their own. The UK rockers (Sam Matlock and Milkie Way) stopped by Riot Fest to show everyone exactly why they need to be on everyone’s radar. The duo braved the heatwave, Way in a bikini and bullet belt to showcase the perfect melding of rock and electro.
Three songs in, Ezra Furman has thrown his camisole off unveiling a dark dress. Pearls are twisted around Furman’s neck as the guitar in their hands wail comes to an end and Furman takes a breath to address the crowd.
“I’m not going to try too hard to play your favourite songs, tonight we’re playing my favourite songs,” Furman said.
The year of Furman began when the musician curated the soundtrack for Netflix’s breakout show Sex Education, even dazzles in a cameo on the show . Fast forward a few months to the release of the politically charged album, Twelve Nudes, and take a listen to the devastatingly honest view of the artist. I wanna be your girlfriend, a ballad about dating from a transgender POV is a beautifully poignant candid view 2019 needs.
Currently touring alongside Stef Chura, Furman is an act to make you fall in love. Furman first took the stage at Lee’s during Chura’s set to lend vocals to the sings raspy indie rock. Chura focused on her latest album Midnight, a more energetic and appropriately darker album, than her 2017 release Messes.
Furman followed suit playing a collection of newer songs seeming more appropriate to the musicians current direction musically. The crowd didn’t mind as most already knew the words and danced along hardly taking their eyes off of Furman prowling about the stage in a trance.
Check out Furman’s latest release, a video for Thermometer .
No, this isn’t a mistake, this bill isn’t from 2007 (and we mean that in the best way). First we must address the elephant in the room, the indie rock legends, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Popping up on select international bills the band is set to headline this year’s Field Trip Music Festival in Toronto alongside Metric. The rockers, which have been quiet since their 2013 release Mosquito is making a large comeback this summers, yet no new music has been released. Don’t let the huge names be the only things to get you excited, this year’s festival is one not to miss. Canadian talents, Partner, Alvvays and Ellevator are apart of the bill and they are all shows to see. The cozy set up at Fort York normally allows you to see pretty much everything, without having to jug for miles between overlapping acts. Happening June 2nd and 3rd, the two day fest is coming up soon!
Be sure to get your tickets while you can!
Embodying a bad babysitter in her latest video Gin Wigmore is back with another gem. Dirty Mercy is a high energy rock tune showcasing the gravelly voiced talent’s chops. It’s an addicting listen, so fall in love with the track below.
SWMRS - "Hannah"
Hannah might be one of the most addicting songs on their debut album, Drive North. On an album fuelled by punk-rock, Hannah is the slower track on the album with a odd vibe we’re loving.
Muuey Biien - "Bitter Blessings"
From Georgia, Muuy Beiin are a band to know. They’re dark rock is laced with a sinister energy that makes it hard to forget them. Seeing them live is a shock, even if you know them. Their undeniably odd stage presence is a little addicting. Check out their latest track below.
K.i.d. - "Errors"
Back with a new sound, K.I.D. is a name you’ll be seeing a lot more of. After listening to their latest track you’ll understand why.
July Talk "Beck + Call"
Incase you missed it, July Talk released a breathtaking new video for Beck + Call. Featuring Tanya Tagaq, the song is a look at power plays in relationships. The video features a look at the power dynamic expressed through movement.
The Pretty Reckless - "Oh My God"
The first single off of the third-coming album, Who You Selling For, is a hard step away from their debut single Make Me Wanna Die, back in 2010. Gone is the glam-rock undertone from their start. Instead a metal element as been inserted into their past album and seemingly dominates their latest track.
Coleman Hell, walked onto stage and was met with cheers so loud, every other sound at the CNE was drowned out. The smell of ribs, cotton candy and popcorn wafted through the air, but once Hell hit the stage he turned the fair into a nightclub. Flashing lights and thumping bass, Hell pranced across the stage with an energy, that song and song again, never died.
Because when Ria Mae tells you to take your clothes off, you do. Fans swayed along to the performer’s set, while mouthing lyrics. All seemed to be charmed by the oddly endearing mix of Mae’s rapper persona, rocker look and R&B sound.
Shake your inner 13-year-old awake. Billy Talent just played The Horseshoe.
Big band, smaller stage. A few months ago The Lumineers played The Mod Club as a part of The Secret Thing, giving fans a chance to see a big band on a small stage. The catch? You have to win to get in and you don’t know who you’re seeing until they take the stage. A few weeks ago, 102 The Edge’s Fred and Mel made promise of a lifetime once again.
Eagerly, people came dressed in everything from high heels and mini dresses to worn Docs and trucker hats. The mishmashed crowd murmured on their way in, getting teased by the camera crew weaving throughout the front of The Horseshoe prodding for guesses.
July Talk, Drake, Prince (yes, someone said Prince) were all guessed to be the band of honour, but the most believed rumour was The Red Hot Chilli Peppers were somewhere backstage. No Peppers, but another throwback band. Billy Talent took the stage and jumped right into their set full of their previous hits, as well as, songs off of their newest album Afraid of Heights released Friday.They came, they played and they ignited the inner 13-year-old emo in all of us. Check out the photos from the show below.
This week was almost a Canadian only list! The top five tracks come from bands on the rise. You’ll see these names on festival bills almost anywhere, and with good reason. If you haven’t heard of these bands than these are some names you need to familiarize yourself with.
Listen to the can’t miss tracks below!
July Talk - 'Strange Habit'
Toronto’s beloved band on the rise is back and they’re showing their softer side. July Talk’s newest track is a completely different sound heard in slower ballads even from their debut album. The rock element is stripped and we see the vocalists focus on pairing piano with the unique voices of the duo.
Elephant Stone - Manipulator
With a new album, Ship of Fools, set to release digitally in September, Elephant Stone are back with a sound that challenges their previous albums. The second single, Manipulator is a step towards a more pop-like sound, though doesn’t lack skill when it comes to song writing.
The Darcy's 'Miracle'
An infectious song with an upbeat groove. The Darcy’s latest single is an array of everything we can’t get enough of from this Toronto band.
Charlotte Cardin - 'Big Boy'
A stunning beat paired with heart-stopping vocals. Cardin is a vocal making people take notice. In Big Boy her soulful voice paired with layers of hip-hop and electronic elements make the single a stand out among her debut EP.
Beach Slang - 'Punks in a Disco Bar'
A long anticipated album set to release in September, Beach Slang have wracked up fans around the world. Making people fall in love with their dose of rock, fit for the outcast hidden in all of us. Their latest single, Punks in a Disco Bar is everything you want to hear without being tiring.