CANADIAN MUSIC FEST 2013 PART 1
By: Fridae Mattas
This review was to be included with all of the other Canadian Music Week and Canadian Music Festival content but decided to split the editorials in half to give proper feature time to the artists that made the cut. After a few obstacles I am back to expressing my thoughts on these two bands.
Not too long ago I covered the headliners Hollywood Undead at a different venue but I have never seen Abandon All Ships live. They are one of those bands I always miss and the same thing almost happened again! Arrived at venue a few seconds to camera call, did not know if I missed it. Luckily for me the girl at the door was very helpful and the fabulous Live Nation escort came to get me, thank you for that! As we rushed into the pit I was scoping out the crowd, it was pretty packed already and Abandon All Ships was the second of three bands to grace the Phoenix stage that night. Abandon All Ships is a five piece Electronicore band from Toronto, they have been on the scene since 2006 and will be releasing a new record July 3rd. I’ve heard two of their tracks before “Take One Last Breath” and “Infamous” which I recognized as they played them in their set. Aita’s screaming was fantastic, I love hearing growls that you can mostly understand. When Angelo Aita is not screaming he could be a little more entertaining and personable with the crowd as could Bassist Martin Broda. His vocals were decent, he has a nice tone to his voice and there is potential but he needs to work on his breathing, enunciation. The one reason I don’t listen tot his band is I am not a fan of autotuned vocals. Guitarist Daniel Ciccotelli was the most entertaining of the band, they all could have used a little more energy but overall a respectable performance…I recommend checking them out if you want a pleasant fusion of music in your ears.
Hollywood Undead were the headliners, the house lights were dimming , the fog started to emerge and once the beat dropped the crowd was fired up and ready for the band to blow them away! HU started in with the intro “Dust In The Wind” morphing into their set with hit single “Undead”. I was expecting the crowd to be a lot crazier than they were, it was like they were fighting the urge to crowd surf and mosh. A few were brave enough to fly around but in my opinion not enough people were surfing considering how many bodies were in the venue, I was a little dissapointed in Toronto. It was good to see more females this time around, all were enjoying themselves and some were having a little too much fun! One girl in particular was escorted by security a few times because she was too intoxicated, some people just don’t know their limit or how to handle their liquor. As much as I dislike shooting in mosh pits or with crowd surfers, I love to photograph them and look forward to these shows just to get shots of the amazing crowd. Not this time…Although they were very energetic it did not compare to the crowd when I first covered Hollywood Undead at the Sound Academy. It could be because the band always comes to Toronto in the middle of cold ass Canadian winter, when most of us are hibernating in our igloos (ha ha). As I migrated out of the pit and back into the crowd area it was pretty packed for a Wednesday night where more than 300 other bands were playing across the city for the 2013 Canadian Music Week festival. Once the band began to play, the first few songs were strong but soon enough I could hear there was something off, it sounded like they were having some technical issues with the equipment. Messier and a little strained but then again it was not their fault, the sound system clearly needs an overhaul. If you have the option to migrate around and shoot from different angles, always take it! The more options the bettter but there were a few newer photographers camping out at the same place for all three tunes. I love shooting the masks especially the ones that light up, I have mentioned this before in prior reviews so I will skip the details. I do wonder if they can see in those things? I did see that they were sweating bullets under those masks, I tried my best to avoid sweat drops on me or my lens. last time there was no pit and this venue usually doesn’t have one, I came prepared ready to shoot from anywhere in the venue.On with the show! It was the same setlist as the last performance covered, the fans eagerly chanted and sang the words to each song before the beats dropped. Majority of them knew the track order off by heart. It’s always cool to watch all of this transpire after I am done photographing the band, you can feel the love the people have for their favorite musical act. The Larries of Hollywood Undead are stepping their game up every time I catch a set, Funny Man is not lurking in the shadows as much anymore however, I did see him standing in a corner taking it all in. His voice is full of bass when he flows, my ears like this sound! If keeps up the crowd visibility and confidence enhancement, he will actually embody his nickname on stage. “I didn’t expect him to sound like that, he doesn’t look like he can rap” said a girl to her friend in the crowd. How can you tell by looking at someone if they can rap or sing? Some people are seriously delayed.The whole band had much more energy at the January show, but they had the charisma necessary to deliver what the fans were expecting, a great fucking performance. They just released a new record titled “Notes From The Underground”, working on that review. I like their style of Rap Rock crossbreeding especially the beats, these Eminemabee’s are growing on me. J3T and Charlie had the tightest flow with the most conviction followed by Funny Man and J-Dog. Danny sang his heart out as the crowd was singing along with him. There were moments he sounded a little tired but kept his energy up throughout the show. The Drummers had a nice solo which is always fantastic to watch because there are two of them, Da Kurlzz who floated the stage even more occasionally shaking out his curly fro hair. And, there was D-Rock who kept the beats on lock the entire set! I always try my best to get shots of every person on stage but sometimes it’s hard getting a clear shot of the drummer. And with this band it was more challenging because there are nintey five band members on the stage ha ha.J-Dog was rocking the Axe and Keys throughout the set as was Charlie Scene and Danny. But, J-Dog took it to the next level and jammed out on the speaker with his guitar for a few minutes, the crowd loved that! J-Dog is the most improved this time, they need to do more stage antics and work on interacting with the audience. Bringing a few fans up on stage every show is a good start.During the set in January Charlie Scene’s twin Larry was chosen to come on stage. This time, they invited two little boys both of whom looked under eleven (all ages show). The little Larries were dancing around trying to rap with the big boys, that was too cute. I love it when bands acknowledge their fans even when they have mascara tears, make them feel special and they will always come back for more. Hollywood Undead closed the set with “We Are” the first single from the new album. On that note, I suggest checking both bands live if you get the chance.