MUSIC FESTIVAL 2015
All Photography By: Joanna Glezakos
Except “Buzz Deluxe” Photographed By: Fridae Mattas
By: Fridae Mattas
Toronto’s female fronted punk rockers Die Mannequin released their third studio album Neon Zero today! They will be celebrating tonight at Cherry Colas where Tony and Care will be spinning their favorite tracks off of the new record. Since receiving this album back in August, I have been listening to it every chance possible and I’m so glad I did! Opening track “Welcome To The Badlands” sets the tone for this musical journey, collectively modern yet retro with an anthemic feel. Their strong first single “Sucker Punch” was an instant ear pleaser, if you haven’t heard it yet I suggest you take a listen and don’t forget to get your copy of Neon Zero. There were a few songs on this record like “Blood In Blood Out” and “Pretty Persuasion” that I skipped at first listen. Had I not absorbed the records tunes entirely, they wouldn’t have grown on me as they have. Now, “Pretty Persuasion” is one of my favourites, I love the sound of the guitar riffs, they give the track this haunted vibe my ears are drawn to. “Murder On the Dancefloor” is another catchy tune that is worth a listen, compared to their previous records this is the most radio friendly I have heard DM. Quite surprised to tell you the truth but it turned out to be a pretty fucking fantastic surprise!
They have created a vibe that reminds you of 80’s music with a slice of Hip Hop, 90’s, Punk, Grunge and Dance. You can hear all of those influences in there. One track in particular “Girls At the Mall”, reminds me so much of Veruca Salt’s “Volcano Girls” with a little Nirvana to end the track. Very impressed with vocals, major props go out to Care for showcasing her vocal versatility, keep up the amazing work! The band sounded tight, the quality of sound in the production of each sonata is crisp and proper, no ghetto recordings here. “Prettier lips tell prettier lies” from the last tune, “Outta Time” on this eleven track musical adventure is one of my favourite lyrics. I also loved the randomness at the end of the fast paced “Ka-Ching” with the bonus. There are a few tunes like “I’m Just A Girl” that I just couldn’t get into. I tried, and I commend vocals, but the tune itself was a little too Avril Lavignesque for my ears to handle. Neon Zero is worth many listens, from the first time I saw Die Mannequin rock out at the Horseshoe to this album here in 2014 they have come a very long way and I’m liking this new direction. The nicest people you’ll ever encounter, and so beyond talented! Die Mannequin is; Care Failure – Vocals/Guitar, Anthony Bleed – Bass/Backing vocals, Stacy Stray – Guitar/Backing vocals and Dazzer Scott on the Drums. NEON ZERO is an essential listening need! Everyone needs to buy this record and support these great Canadian talents, Die Mannequin’s Neon Zero gets 4 music notes ♪♪♪♪♪ out of 5!
All Photography By: Joanna Glezakos
Written By: Fridae Mattas
Photography By: Fridae Mattas
Additional Photo Credits: Joanna Glezakos
Words are flowing with ease because now I can breathe and actually focus on writing this editorial. The photos I shot were lost and I was trying to recover them somehow, finally mission is accomplished and they’re all edited. I was very happy that long time FridaeTV photographer Joanna made it to shoot a bit of the last two sets. There was to be four bands on the bill but apparently “Devil You Know” had some car troubles and did not make it to Toronto for the set. Was looking forward to seeing them perform but shit happens! Before we get into the meaty part of the editorial I must say if you don’t know who Lacuna Coil is I suggest you listen to a few tunes and then come back to read the rest of this review.
The first band on stage at The Opera House was Incura originally from Alberta and now transplanted to Vancouver. The band was support for the Canadian leg of the tour and I was so glad I made it to catch their set! Last time I saw Incura rock out was at Canadian Music week…I think? Who knows I could be lying, it’s been a while! Regardless, I don’t get tired of watching them play their hearts out on stage. I wish the Opera House would add some front lighting and not just backlighting always drowning out the performers.
It’s always a challenge to shoot at that venue but at least there was a barricade and mini pit to shoot from, very rare for the Opera House. Kyle Gruninger is the epitome of what a lead vocalist is, he actually sings the bands original material without all the bells and whistles and performs each track like it’s the last song he will sing…One day, they will be rocking arenas! They had an extended set due to the transportation issues of “Devil You Know” leaving a gap in the line up. The crowd didn’t seem to mind at all, I recognized quite a few tunes “Get The Gun”, “Who You Are”, “Greatest Con” and a few more. The other members in the band are: Phil Gardner – Drums, Jim McLaren – Keys, Jono Olson – Bass and Gatlin Fitzgerald – Lead Guitar. The band was extremely entertaining, every set is better than the last but some improvements still need to be made. McLaren on the Keys needs to be a little more vibrant, he looked bored some of the time and not that into the tunes. I cannot wait to see the next phase of progress for Incura.
Up next was a fresh band for me, Starset from Columbus, Ohio. I was the only one shooting the first two bands and didn’t know what to think when the band emerged on stage with lit space helmets on their head and rocking in black tights. The only one not in costume was lead vox Dustin Bates, the rest of the band Ron DeChant, Adam Gilbert and Brock Richards were glowing.
Starset were very fun to shoot and easy on the ears, I was really liking their tunes especially the catchy single “My Demons” from their debut record “Transmissions”. I will definitely need to check out the full record. The only thing I can think of that this band needs to fix is visual, they had this giant screen with the bands logo on it beside the keyboard. It did look cool for a minute but then got in the way, you could barely see the drummer or the vocalist when he was standing behind it. The music was good, a little much on the electrification of the vocals but I thoroughly enjoyed this band and will hit up another set if they reach Toronto again.
Continuing the trend of not dragging this on let’s chat about the headliners, before there was Evanescence, Lacuna Coil brought the goth metal melodies and vocals back in the early nineties. The one and only Italian GodFathers of Goth Rock Lacuna Coil has had some mild success, I’ve heard the bands music for a long time and when I found out they were hitting Toronto, had to cover them! There are many bands out there that deserve much more success and exposure than the current crop of shitterific mainstream entertainment. All of the bands on this Broken Crown Halo tour are part of group “A” the fantastic bands that should be heard.
Over the years Lacuna Coil has gained quite a loyal fanbase and not just in Europe, these talented Italianos from Milano have made a name for themselves across the globe. The band is: Cristina Scabbia – Vocals, Andrea Ferro – Vocals, Marco Coti Zelati – Bass, Marco ‘Maus’ Biazzi – Guitars and Ryan Blake Folden on the Drums .
Lacuna Coil had a few cool looking crowns decorating the stage and once they migrated out they we’re greeted with cheers as they kicked off their well blended fifteen track set with big tune Trip The Darkness off of Dark Adrenaline. That tune was soon followed by Spellbound from Shallow Life. Vocals by Andrea Ferro were almost flawless, he gave the people what they wanted…A Performance! I noticed some technical issues with the microphones but Ferro embraced it like a champ. Cristina’s vocals were strong, she sang her heart out and the fans couldn’t get enough, especially when they played Depeche Mode cover “Enjoy The Silence” to end the set. I liked Lacuna Coil’s rendition of the song much better than the original. Maus Biazzi on the axe was beyond incredible those licks were spectacular to hear! The beat was tight thanks to stellar stick handler Ryan Blake Folden and Zelati’s Bass lines were on point.
After I shot some photos I was watching the set from behind the soundbooth, the best view in the house! They had some fabulous lighting, still backlit but you must always work with what you have. It was fun to see the bands lighting tech enjoying the show as much as the fans, never seen a crew member so into the music. Rhythmically, he was in sync with every beat the band played and it translated on stage, now that’s passion! I loved watching and hearing the songs I’ve heard on the albums come to life.
The encore’s were a mix of old and new, first was Nothing Stands In Our Way from the current release Broken Crown Halo and the last tune the band played before lights out was Our Truth off of their album Karmacode. Huge thank you to Jon who linked it up and Lacuna Coil for having me! I enjoyed myself and will be seeing all of these bands again at some point in the future. 5 music notes out of 5 ♪♪♪♪♪ for each band, Lacuna Coil, Starset and Incura are all worth your time and support!