I was very excited to finally see British punk-rock bands come back to Toronto after missing Royal Blood late last year, and they did not disappoint.
The night was off to a slow and poor start from a media standpoint. Very long check-in points to get a media pass into the venue, and once I arrived the security guards in the pit were very unorganized. Unfortunately, I got a cut on my finger and it took me asking 4 different guards to finally find out where the first aid was planted and get a band-aid, while blood was trailed throughout the pit. Later in the show, it was very apparent to myself and a few others that the guards were ill-equipped to know what type of crowd they were going to be working with for the night. Again, it took me 4 guards to find out if I could give a member of the crowd a water bottle as they were feeling light-headed, and I witnessed many crowd surfers being scolded for enjoying a punk show the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Some people sat on their partner's shoulders during a song and flashlights were shined in their faces advising everyone to get down. Meanwhile, the crowd was very safe and expressed their enthusiasm for the bands in safe and traditional ways that a punk/rock show is typically enjoyed.
After finally getting a bandaid and back into the pit, Bad Nerves was able to bring my morale up and the London punk rockers played a great set. They seemed angry and pissed but in all the good ways, lots of energy on stage with each member jumping around very often. For the punk rocker's first time playing in Canada, they played some great two-stepping songs for those in the crowd and even performed an unreleased demo to some great crowd engagement. One of the members wore a t-shirt stating “Who the fuck is Bad Nerves” to which I say now I know exactly who they are.
Closing off the night was Royal Blood, which is kind of ironic given my previous events throughout the evening. Their performance included a great mixture of songs across their entire discography which keeps fans new and old entertained. Hits like “Lights Out,” “Little Monster” and “Trouble’s Coming” were played among some newer tracks like “Triggers,” “Waves” and “Mountains At Midnight.” The band had visited the CN Tower prior to the show as seen on their Instagram stories, so the drummer, Ben Thatcher, ripped on the sleeves of his souvenir and showed their support for the six. The duo (occasionally accompanied by a keyboardist) absolutely owned the crowd, fans bopped their head and danced along to the rock hits all night long. Some small and innocent crowdsurfing and moshing did occur which is a great sign that the fans were having a great time. The lighting queues were insanely on point, with some lights landing on just the singer and drummer which was perfect. Lots of strobe lighting is available behind with their circular lights lining the back of the stage but is used sparingly for those sensitive to lights. Some nice yellow circular lights are used to fill behind all the shots making it feel like you’re in a nostalgic music video. The crowd got fed a beautiful drum solo and was very respectful when the drummer Ben requested a wall of death without the death. Ben decided to jump in with the fans and jump around while maintaining a Red Sea-style pathway for the drummer to return for his “Out Of The Black” drum solo. The Brighton rockers returned to the show with a 3-song encore and closed off their set with an incredible performance of “Figure It Out” with every single person out of their seats singing along. We would be happy to host this duo anytime they want to return to Toronto.
Photos and review written by Josiah Botting