This is the first edition a new semi-monthly column we're doing keeping up on the Toronto punk scene. It's written by our pal Talli, who has spent more time in dingy clubs and basements over the last decade than mold. Her presence at local shows is one of their most consistent features, right behind the disproportionate number of guys and the smell. She was also born with practically no arms and her calves attached at her hips, in case you're wondering.
I know this is kind of local scene-y, but have you guys heard Angels, Saints & Heroes? Holy shit, they are one of the best bands coming out of Toronto and if you’ve ever passed up the opportunity to see them play, you're an idiot deluxe. They DESTROY! Imagine the kind of earnest, 90s-style pop-punk you’ve been pretending not to like for the past five years charging you down so fast and hard you’ve got no idea how long you’ve been screaming. This band is just that.
They recently finished recording their first full-length album, though seeing as how they’ve got no label and their website hasn’t been updated in three years, it might be a little while before anybody can get their hands on it. In any case, the real deal is their live show. They’ve been playing these basement gigs around town for about five years that just keep getting further and further off the chain. The last one this February was one of the most intense nights of my life.
I got there early and spent most of the preshow hanging out with some friends against the wall by the stage, out of the way of the drunken lads and ladies who kept piling in and getting drunker and drunker as keg after keg was tapped. It was a prime viewing spot, but then word got out that AS&H were about to go on and all 200 kids rushed forward, cramming in right where I was. Within minutes I was squished up against the wall and enveloped in a sea of peeps. When I looked up I couldn’t even make out the ceiling—only blackness.
I figured people were just in transition and if I waited long enough they’d ease back and I’d be good. Not the case. After half an hour I was still pressed in place with an ass against each shoulder and a backpack that kept hitting me in the face. Finally my claustrophobia hit the red and I fucking lost it. I began screaming “Move!” like some sort of a nut, and pushed straight into the thick of it, jabbing people in the thighs with my arm, ploughing over feet until I finally found myself free and standing right in the middle of where the band was setting up.
Of course, as soon as I was in the clear, some idiot dumped his beer right down my face. I ALWAYS get beer poured on me—it is the worst! I went with my instinct and wiped off on the nearest ass. Actually, one of the secret advantages of being at ass-level is that jeans soak up spilled drinks better than shirts or jackets, so it’s something of a trade-off.
I was kind of nervous being so close to the band—I’m talkin’ the bass drum was about three inches in front of me, the guitarist to my right, and the bassist maybe an inch off the left side of my face—but what worried me most were the four stacks of speakers to my right and my left. This was going to be so fucking loud! I was pumped!
They kicked off with my favorite song, also their theme song, “Blazing Souls and All That Shit,” and it fucking killed! Every time the drummer, Neil, hit his high-hat I felt it go straight through me. It was brutal! As the boys eased into their set, the crowd got crazier and crazier. Whenever I looked over my shoulder I saw a wall of kids clinging to the ceiling to hold themselves up. There were even bloody fistprints dripping down from where everybody kept punching upward. Fortunately there was this huge dude named Phatty right behind me, who made sure nobody fell over on me. He totally saved me from being swept up and crushed in a maelstrom of drunken punks.
The band was having so much fun and getting really into it—I had to keep ducking each time their lead guy Mike hit his guitar to prevent him from whacking me in the face. It was hilarious. Part of me hoped he’d make contact so I could finish off the show with a black eye, but he shifted positions before I could psyche myself into it.
By the end of the show, nobody was wearing a shirt, everyone was sweating so, so disgustingly, and my ears were completely fucked. When they busted into “The End Times Welcoming Committee” someone brought the mic down to my level and Mike and I sang the whole thing together. I was freaking out! It was so fucking rad!
Oh man. Anyways sorry this ended up a little bloggy, but I just wanted to make clear that Angels, Saints & Heroes are crazy mofes and if you’re not prepped for the goodness they’re bringing, I don’t even know.