LIVE @ THE RED DOG
FEATURE EDITORIAL REVIEW
By: Fridae Mattas
Found out about this show when a few girls were talking about it as I waited for the same bus. Then a thought popped into my head maybe I should go on a mission, haven’t seen those Larries in forever and the fans searching MDD on FridaeTV everyday will be happy! At first I was going to force one of my photographers to mission with me to The Historic Red Dog in Peterborough on Friday, November 15th, for the first My Darkest Days performance in like a year. Then I remembered a pretty awesome photographer who lives there and would let me use some of her shots if I needed to. So I trekked it to the boons myself, I’m a big girl now and none of my friends were free that day except a stalker ex who does not belong on anymore adventures! “Laughs!” Almost did not make it out of the city because someone stole my wallet with all my money except forty five bucks that I had put in my pocket at some point for some reason and glad I did! Pissed off, frustrated, trying to cancel my cards, I was very close to cancelling my journey overall and just go back home. Then the little voice in my head kept saying, “You’re already halfway there, just do it bitch! Do it! Do it!” My spontaneous Aquarian nature carries me through life, as my curiosity and determination drives me, I’m always up for an adventure! Fuck staying at a hotel I rented a house down the street from the venue, I was not about to trek it back to the city that night.
The rest of the evening was fantastic, I was already tipsy from all the free beers when the band was about to hit the stage at the packed Peterboonz venue. Last time I saw My Darkest Days live was either at the Opera House or when they opened for Three Days Grace at The Direct Energy Centre in like 2010, really don’t remember. Now, frontman Matt Walst is Lead Vox for Three Days Grace and My Darkest Days is missing guitarist Sal Costa who left the band last year. My intuition kind of already knew Sal would leave the band the day I met him. Costa is always pleasant and polite when I run into him but have not heard boo from him in years, I’m sure he found others to hook him up with shows. Like many in this industry we all get busy and drift our separate ways the busier we become or sometimes the fame hungry egos take flight and feel they are too cool until their bubble has burst. A good example of losing touch is changing phones, not many of the same contacts are in my new phone from previous years because my old phone swiped everything but I still talk to my friends, real recognizes real and always finds each other. Just because you don’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Turned out my sense about Sal was as authentic as my “Chavril” duet prediction, but hey, I think My Darkest Days found a stellar replacement! An incredible guitarist whom I thought should have been in this band a while ago, hopefully they keep Trevor MacLeod and he keeps them.
People need to calm down and stop hating! Bands have new members all the time, so many rude comments in regards to Walst numero dos stepping in to save his other band of brothers so they can support their families and not disappoint the fans. I’m sure he probably doesn’t mind all the perks and groupies that come along with the touring life but it’s like people sometimes forget that touring is work. Being in a band and rocking out for the fans is their job, he has big shoes to fill but clearly was the obvious choice for anyone who is loyal to their family and friends. Yes, vocals are not the same because they are different people, with different types of voices. Not to mention, Adam has what, like ten years more professional experience on stage and people must be reminded Walst has contributed his talents on a few tunes for Three Days Grace records in the past. I love Adam’s voice he has grown into an incredible vocalist and will always be one of my favorites but he left his band and fans high and dry just before a huge tour and regardless of the reasoning behind it, that is not cool. As of yet I have not had the time to trek it to see Walst play with Three Days Grace, but hey, who knows? Maybe in the very near future you will get my full perspective on that set, if the label lets me…This was not the first time I’ve been to Peterborough or the Red Dog it was my like my fourth “laughs”. Previous expeditions were to check homies Art Of Dying and I was not alone for those journeys, good times! Amazingly, I actually knew more people this time, did not feel completely out of place in the small town, except for the usual randoms staring at me for long periods of time. It wasn’t just men who creeped me out this time some of the females were pretty special. My Darkest Days has always been a blonde Matt Walst – Vox/Guitar it was different seeing the darker doo, Doug Oliver – Drums and Brendan McMillan – Bass with Reid Henry on Keys and newly added Trevor MacLeod who is in “Cold Creek County” with Oliver and McMillan and was in a few other bands back in the day.Trevor is a true rock and roll guitarist in every aspect, he is not one to stand still on stage like a scared little goose and no more long hair, he finally chopped the bush! Didn’t even recognize him at first without the hair, we shall see how things go.
They opened with a cover of AC/DC’s TNT which Reid “Mean Jean” Henry was on lead vocals for and did a smashing job! I was surprised how well he actually did, little Smudgie the roadie stage tech has come a very long way! Reid is developing into quite a talent thanks to his older MDD brothers from different Mothers taking him under their wing. Once the song came on I was like wait I know this one so I started to record it but my mic battery died so you can’t hear shit. I had a spare battery in my wallet which was no longer with us so I just took my mic off for the rest of the tunes using the camera’s internal microphone.Listening to AC/DC always reminds me of when I ran into Vocalist Brian Johnson on my lunch break when the band hit Toronto for a show a few years ago. He was super nice, actually just randomly started jibbering away when I was walking past him. Couldn’t place his face, it was familiar to me but I sure as hell couldn’t remember his name. I made a comment about his hat and he introduced himself doing a little dance, that was funny coming from this little man, he was clearly a character. Once we finished chatting it finally came to me what band he was in. As I turned around to walk back over to work this older woman popped out of nowhere and started screaming in my face. She was asking me if I knew who I just talked to, before I could even answer she yelled “Brian fucking Johnson! Brian fucking Johnson! Oh my God I wish I was you! Do you know how lucky you are?” that was too funny, I was trying so hard not to laugh as she asked me what he smelled like, if I got his number and other stupid ass questions I didn’t answer.
Much props to you little Reid who looked like a member of the Beatles, he’s growing up and refining his talents, Henry is not the only one who has been growing into his talents. Brendan McMillan who can now have his mohawk back is much more relaxed and looked genuinely excited to be there. He totally killed it on Stutter and it was very natural when he was interacting with his band mates. After they rocked TNT it was time to move on to a blend of originals and covers like the formerly stated “Stutter“, “Move Your Body”, “Save Me”, “Come Undone”. They even covered the Grandkids’ “ClockTower” featuring a Larry named Chris Millar but that wasn’t the only feature of the night. Nervous Brandon Scott of Cold Creek County helped Walst with vocals on the ballad “Without You” which can be seen here. I am really digging their renditions of LMR and High Road a Medley containing a blend of R.E.M’s “Losing My Religion” with Nirvanaesque vocals, Three Days Grace’s “High Road” mellowed out to the same melody of their tune “Set It On Fire”. Walst’s vocals were almost pitch perfect and the rest of the band did a phenomenal job with backup, you can view said medley here.
Can smasher Doug Oliver joins in on the improvements but he’s always been a slick snare slayer. If anyone in this band has been beyond consistent with his skill level it would be Dougie, his tricks are smoother and he was looking happier than the last time I saw him play. There were a group of fans I heard about that drove in from the US, I believe the farthest trek was Nebraska and here I thought my little two hour journey was a trek!Speaking of fans, I suck at filming in crowds because I get scared of the crazies from past experiences, yet I still go in them…The media pit is my best friend but this time they didn’t have a pit so I hid in a corner stage left and took some photos while filming, not the best shots but good enough. Everyone was pretty chill except for this one sloppy fuglymess drunk chick behind me with drink in hand spilling everywhere! I was going to crack her jaw if she didn’t stop pushing me on purpose, her drink was getting a little too close to my camera and clothing also dripping all over this short girls head beside. My filming is ass thanks to her but low and behold a few tunes with her crazy drunk ass passed and she was booted from the bar, some people just can’t handle their liquor. After the drunkerella fiasco, it was winding down to the last tune of the night, the hit poppy rock tune “Porn Star Dancing“. Chizzy (Chad) honorary lifetime member of My Darkest Days filled in for Luda, spitting into the mic like he just came home. I could not see the rest of the band during that tune but everyone was a good sport with all those fans on stage! The performance was the best I have seen to date, the sound man was fantastic he did a superb job and the crowd was loving every second. I noticed all the touring has been good for building their skill sets and taking their talent to the next level. Even Matt has made huge progress with his vocals, he has more control, they are steadier and his range has grown. Not quite there yet with the growls but much improved and he did not seem as shy on stage but still has a lot of work to do. Forget the haters just be who you are, keep practicing and everyting will be as it should. Fronting both Three Days Grace and My Darkest Days is a challenge but, the talent is there just remember not to burn yourself out. The band had an autograph signing meet and greet after the set, talking and taking pictures with their fans. Initially I wanted to get a few shots of the signing but was preoccupied with my bleeding finger dripping too much blood, how it happened who knows? Obviously at some point during the set, possibly drunkerella’s fault…Only the future can tell what is in store for My Darkest Days, I will definitely try my best to be at the next show to support these underdogs and their catchy tunes, as should you! I give this performance 4 music notes ♪♪♪♪♪ out of 5.