A Day To Remember brought the Degenerates Tour to Place Bell this rainy Tuesday night with supporting bands Can’t Swim, Beartooth and I Prevail. It was my first time coming to Place Bell, and not the last time as this mini Bell Centre could make any show enjoyable, wherever you may be sitting (or standing! Not to mention that I’ll be back there November 17 for none other than Sum 41 and The Offspring!).
The show started at 6:30PM with American rock band Can’t Swim in a half-empty venue. I felt bad for these guys to play in front half the crowd, with most people not really caring about the performance and/or only showing up for bigger and more well-known bands after them. A few people were headbanging in the crowd but it’s hard to tell if they got new fans that night. Despite that, Can’t Swim delivered a pretty solid and energetic performance with good jams such as “Your Clothes” and “Stranger”, that I really dig. However, I won’t lie, they weren’t the main reason I came to this show and not having them on the bill wouldn’t have made much of a difference to me (Sorry!).
Beartooth was up next. The floor was a lot more crowded already as they started, and it felt like day and night when compared to Can’t Swim. Caleb Shlomo’s charisma is unmatchable and it showed right away. The crowd was a lot more into it and everyone went off their feet when he told them to. If Caleb Shlomo tells you “Open that goddamn mosh pit”, you do it, no questions asked. If he says, “Sing this shit as loud as you can”, you do it and scream your lungs out. Everyone in Place Bell was more than happy to oblige. I had the pleasure to see Beartooth a few times in the past, and this performance was one of their best to date. Not to mention their setlist was pure fire, with “The Lines”, “Hated”, “Aggressive”, “You Never Know”, “Bad Listener”, “Disease”, and the one and only “In Between”. My only complaint is that 40 minutes for such a great band isn’t enough. I wish they would’ve been able to get a full hour, but hey maybe next time?
I Prevail took over the stage at 7:50PM sharp, and I’ll be honest I didn’t take any notes regarding their performance. “Why?” you may ask? It was simply that good, and once again, the best performance I’ve seen from them so far. I had the pleasure to see them twice in the past, once for the Lifelines Tour with Starset, and another time opening for We Came As Romans, and they got a lot better since. Not to mention that vocalist Brian Burkheiser was sick the second time and couldn’t perform, which was quite disappointing.
Anyway, the main focus of their set was on their album TRAUMA, with seven songs from it, compared to only two from their debut album Lifelines. The band started with the explosive “Bow Down”, that set the tone for the rest of their time on stage, followed by “Gasoline”, that could almost belong on a Beartooth record with how much head-banging you’re going to end up doing while listening to it, especially live. Other songs from this record included “Breaking Down”, “Deadweight”, “Hurricane” and a couple other songs that allowed I Prevail to push musical boundaries and show a side of them that hasn’t been seen before, pushing them far far away from that Taylor Swift cover they got known for (which is definitely for the best!).
Even though seeing I Prevail playing right before A Day To Remember on the bill gave me some doubts at first (as I thought Beartooth would’ve deserved that spot more than them), after seeing them live that night I understood. In barely five or six years of existence and tours with Pierce the Veil, We Came As Romans, Escape the Fate, The Word Alive, and now A Day To Remember, I Prevail has shown that they are now key players of the scene.
A Day To Remember closed the night with an unforgettable show that lasted over an hour and a half. Before moving to their review though, I have to say a few words about the great music that was played as we were patiently waiting for them for over forty minutes after I Prevail, that included Toto, the Backstreet Boys, System Of A Down, Sir Mix-a-Lot, Slipknot, and DJ Snake among others… Despite it being extra loud and making it close to impossible having a discussion with people around you, it put people in the best mood possible for the beginning of their set.
With Homesick’s “The Downfall of Us All” to start with, ADTR proved they weren’t here to mess around. Oh, hell no! They were here to showcase a top-notch performance from start to finish, and they delivered. Thankfully for me, the band put heavy emphasis on two of their best albums, 2008’s Homesick and 2010’s What Separates Me From You that are among my favourite albums ever (up there with From Under The Cork Tree, Louder Now, The Greatest Generation, and Discovering the Waterfront). It was a performance filled with soaring, sing-along choruses, altering feelings of rage, teenage angst, melancholy and pure fun for the whole audience.
I couldn’t help but feel amazing singing along to “Have Faith in Me”, “If It Means a Lot to You”, or even “All I Want” that I knew every single word of. Like Taking Back Sunday the previous week, or Escape The Fate and Blessthefall multiple weeks ago (and most likely like Sum 41 and the Offspring will later this month), I relived my high school days through their songs, but you know… not the lame memories of being grounded and getting shitty grades, more the good times you had staying up all night with your best friends type of stories, and I wouldn’t have traded that for the world.
The band also showcased more recent material with a couple songs from Common Courtesy and Bad Vibrations, but also “Degenerates” from their upcoming album You’re Welcome (first announced at the end of this year but set to be released early 2020 as stated by the band on social media after the concert) and their collaboration track with EDM producer Marshmello on “Rescue Me” (not an Hawthorne Heights cover fellas!), which dropped along with a music video back in June. I’m not quite sure how the most hardcore fans felt about the collaboration, but it certainly allowed the band to get a wider audience and to introduce potential new fans to the heaviest pop-punk band ever. The live performance of the song was a lot of fun but may have felt a bit off to some fans as it’s quite radio-friendly and isn’t as heavy as what we’re used to.
All in all, ADTR delivered exactly what was expected of them, and more. It was a first-class performance that will surely be in my top 3 best shows of the year and that I won’t forget anytime soon. But hey, what did you expect? Jeremy Mackinnon is our saviour after all! (Stevie T & Brian Storm’s reference obliged)
Can’t Swim Setlist
- Foreign Language
- Filthy Rich
- “Sometimes You Meet the Right People at the Wrong Time”
- Your Clothes
- The Lines
- You Never Know
- Bad Listener
- In Between
I Prevail Setlist
- Bow Down
- Rise Above It
- Breaking Down
- Come and Get It
A Day To Remember Setlist
- The Downfall Of Us All
- All I Want
- Mr. Highway’s Thinking About the End
- Sticks & Bricks
- Better Off This Way
- My Own Worst Enemy (Lit Cover)
- Right Back at It Again
- Rescue Me
- Have Faith in Me
- Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail
- End of Me
- 2nd Sucks
- I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?
- If It Means a Lot to You
- All Signs Point to Launderdale
Review – Maxime Le Huidoux
Photos – Jesse Di Meo