My concert viewing experiences have diminished in quantity over the years but I do still enjoy seeing bands live on any occasion that presents itself. Every opportunity is significant and I wanted to express the resounding effect these three shows in particular had on my life.
It really has been a throwback year for me personally. I found myself revisiting a lot of music from the past and enjoying the live experience of these artists that I grew up listening to. It was a real full circle moment in many instances. I still can’t believe my good fortune at the time.
3. Teenage Bottlerocket At Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM
May 28th, 2015
I’ve been a fan of this band after realizing they had members from another band I become fond of called The Lillingtons. I had dug deep into their catalogue and found every album of theirs and started to immerse myself into their discography. I had faintly heard a part of their set during SXSW a few years ago when I was heading to another bands set. It was just enough of a earful of their music to know that I wanted to bookmark and explore their sound at a later date.
As I happily listened to every album beginning to end I really started to enjoy their pop punk stylings that also had similarities to The Lillingtons sound. I read that they were doing an Albuquerque show but I wasn’t sure I would make it to their show given my schedule. Needless to say it happened. I made some extra money and excused myself from all activities that evening so I could check out the show. The Launchpad is kinda one of sounding venues in Albuquerque. It’s a great small, intimate and incredible sounding venue for it’s size. I’ve seen a lot of great, poorly attended shows here. It’s very common for a bad ass touring band to play a small show here to either establish a new fan base or play for a small crowd that really gives it a sense of intimacy.
Teenage Bottlerocket blasted through their set with deep cuts from their catalogue and were also playing a bunch of new songs from their latest record. It was great to hear the crowd singing along. I was in the company of a real fan base for the group. It felt great to be at the show. I hadn’t been that excited to walk to a venue in anticipation for a while. I loved going to punk rock shows and especially the anticipation you build whenever you go to a show at Launchpad. It has this essence that really hypes you up for a show. I’ve seen some of my favorite live shows there.
Unfortunately, this show would be my first and last experience with their founding drummer Brandon Carlisle who passed away later on in the year. It was a really sad feeling to have for a time. I am very grateful to have seen this version of their line up since they had been so tight and energetic in this performance. I’ll never forget this show and I felt a great sense of enjoyment that evening to have finally seen this band live in such a great capacity.
2. Gob At Call The Office – London, Ontario
October 22nd, 2015
I’ve been a fan of Gob for a long time. I was one of the few people from my community who actively listened to punk rock music. Once again I didn’t really commit to going to this show due to the fact I was on an accelerated work schedule trying to accomplish multiple things. I bought a ticket to the show a week early just in case things cleared up. Somehow I managed to clear some time and head to Call The Office. A venue in which I had many pleasant live music experiences in my life. I went to high school in London and had a lot of fond memories of this area of the city growing up.
I’ve seen Gob a few times live in the past in various locations in Canada. This particular occasion happened to be down the street from the record store I bought their album “How Far Shallow Takes You” for the first time. A real gem of a punk rock album. I still revisit that album on occasion. It has some really amazing guitar sounds.
Seeing them live in the city I discovered their music was a real full circle moment. It was a real casual experience since I was so familiar with the venue. I managed to get up front for their set and they jumped right in and started to play some really classic material. I was pretty excited to see the setlist and notice they were covering a lot of material that I personally enjoy from their catalogue. They were so tight and played so effortlessly it was a wonderful experience.
It’s a pretty weird feeling to grow and see a band you admired for a long time. They still kicked ass and had a great sense of humor about playing London in front of a small crowd. The show had all the right elements of having a good time and jumping around and singing to the music. I felt a real comradery in this venue I haven’t felt from recent experiences at this venue. It was really heartwarming to be in the company of people who really enjoy the music as much as I do.
1. Failure At Lee’s Palace – Toronto, Ontario
August 18th, 2015
This show was an absolute dream come true. I didn’t think I’d ever get to see Failure live in this capacity in my entire life. Recent changes in perspective and maturity allowed Ken, Greg and Kellii to return to their passion of being a band and playing their music live. Not to mention it was in Toronto. My former home and a place where I grew to love and appreciate the live music that this city has to offer.
I couldn’t have been happier with this experience. Lee’s Palace is such a great venue. I’ve been to it for many shows in the past and this was by far the pinnacle of the live music adventures I have had the privilege to enjoy. One thing that makes a show this special is the fact that musicians you admire and aspire to be like are in the audience loving the experience just as much as you are.
Once I arrived I quickly grabbed merch and anticipated my mind being blown by the visual and audio stimulus Failure was about to deliver. I then realized I was standing next to another figure in my life that I absolutely admire. Jordon Zadorozny was standing next to me in eager anticipation as well. As I noticed he was alone we both had a really cool moment to chat about the band and his upcoming projects. Right as we finished our conversation the band got to the stage. I quickly excused myself after hi fiving Jordon and showering him with praise and cozied up in a spot in front of the mixing board.
That show changed my life forever. It was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to be in Toronto to see this band I had longed to see live for many many years. It absolutely delivered. They played every note, sang every song so incredibly that I couldn’t help but get emotional afterwards as I left the venue. My ears were ringing. I felt so accomplished. I still had their music playing in my ears as I slept that night. Failure is by far one of my most beloved bands of all time and I will forever be grateful for the circumstances that led me there that night. It couldn’t have turned out any better. I’m absolutely content in this lifetime so far.