The Danforth Goes Pop-Punk
You really don’t know how far you’ve come until you’re trying to find the end of the line for an all-ages pop-punk concert and it’s just a whole lot of white people, tweens and emo style.
I could not be more out of place, but a deep sense of nostalgia kept me going as I shivered somewhere around the corner from the Danforth Music Hall on a chilly and damp Wednesday evening.
The reason for my trip to high school purgatory? Pierce the Veil was in Toronto for both March 1 and March 2 as a part of their Rest In Space Tour to promote their fantastic new album Misadventures (2016), with support from Falling In Reverse and Crown the Empire.
I don’t know too much about Crown the Empire, but they proved to be a pleasant post-hardcore experience to start the night off with. The Danforth was half full when the show started, with the band launching straight into a song. Crown the Empire did well to warm up the crowd, with scruffy lead singer Andy Leo pitting the left and right sides of the audience against each other to see who could get a shot of tequila to him first as he shimmied and screamed across the stage.
Now, know that going to a concert on a press pass is an experience in and of itself. I ended up right in front of these guys and like any n00b, I was starstruck and took pictures mostly of legs.
Seeing Ronnie Radke right up in front of me was surreal. Gone was his stark makeup and scene hair—
now he was bleached blond and sweaty-faced as he gallantly bellowed and threw slices of pizza at the audience. While I was taking pictures, I was also lowkey hoping he would—accidentally or not—spit on me, but alas, it was not meant to be. Still, the performance was exactly what I expected: good and dirty. I sang along to old songs like “The Drug In Me Is You,” and more recent ones like “Fashionably Late.” Their new single “Loser” was a mature change of pace that reminded me of the passage of time that makes pop-punk so important. It’s always been there for you and always will be.
The break that followed was when the hall finally filled to the brim with people eagerly awaiting the arrival of Pierce the Veil, and oh man, when they came on stage it felt like a celebration. There is something joyous about being the headliner, I think, because of all the concerts I’ve been to there is no greater pleasure than watching your band get on stage, grinning from ear to ear as they jump around and play their set.
They began with “Dive In,” the song that starts off their album, and then wound their way through the lovely and subdued “Floral & Fading” and older hits like “Bulletproof Love.” I fell maybe a bit too much in love with Vic Fuentes as he earnestly serenaded a girl with an acoustic version of “Stay Away From My Friends.” A bit of a mosh pit opened up when they got to their lead single off the new album, “Circles,” which Vic dedicated to their friends from local band Silverstein.
Pierce the Veil had to close the set at some point, and there was absolutely no other way than to rage through “King For A Day.” The mosh pit swallowed up the audience. Everyone was jumping, screaming and singing at the top of their lungs. It was a heady, hardcore spell, and all part of the genuineness of the class act that is Pierce the Veil. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, but particularly prematurely here because the band is maybe too well-oiled of a machine when it comes to performing—from opening and going til the slowdown, and finally rocking out until an encore. The spell was broken abruptly around 10:30 p.m. with the crowd draining out of the Danforth and onto the streets and the subway, still in a daze.