By Nicole Ireland

The Danforth Music Hall was THE place to spend your Friday the 13th… if you could get in that is. Taking Back Sunday came to town for their Happiness Is tour, bringing along letlive. and The Menzingers as some truly kick-ass support, and played to a sold out audience.

letlive. performed first and for the majority of their set my mouth was hanging wide open. Their lead singer Jason Butler is insane, but he is the absolute best kind of insane. He didn’t stop jumping, flailing or rolling around on the stage until their set was over. That man has an inhuman amount of energy and it’s so exciting to watch. It’s impossible to take your eyes off of him while he performs! I’ve been to a lot of shows and seen a lot of crazy things, but never have I ever seen a singer get into the crowd to start the circle pit… until I saw letlive. Needless to say, they started the night off right.

After the ridiculousness of letlive.’s set, it took the audience a little longer to get into The Menzingers’ performance. As their performance went on, you could see more heads bobbing and more people bouncing.

Side note: standing at the back of the venue not only gives you a great view of the stage, but it also gives you a very cool vantage point to watch the crowd. I highly recommend taking a step back and not running right for the front row every once in a while.

Show goers seemingly were easing into the performance, but when the band announced that they were playing “Casey,” you could tell by crowd reaction that it was a favourite. The Menzingers backloaded their set, and from that song onward they had the whole crowd singing along.

The openers were fantastic and the crowd loved them, but when Taking Back Sunday took the stage, the entire venue erupted. The band opened with “Flicker, Fade” which is a personal favourite so I was thrilled. That song also allows for a serious sing-along which got the crowd involved and definitely set the tone for the rest of their set. With each new song played, fans went crazy. It was like every song was everybody’s favourite.

I need to take a second now to talk about Adam Lazzera, Taking Back Sunday’s incredible front man. Not only does he have a crystal clear voice that is absolutely beautiful, especially when it’s isolated from the instruments, but he also owns the stage. He didn’t do it aggressively as Jason Butler had done earlier in the night, instead Lazzera commanded the stage with grace. He chose his movements carefully, like when to swing the mic to get up close to the crowd. He was very captivating and easily had the audience in the palm of his hand.

I think the one thing I liked the most about Taking Back Sunday’s performance was how much they interacted with the crowd. They paused between songs to chat and crack some jokes, it was really nice to see such a genuine band. Lazzera took crowd interaction to a different level when he hopped off of the stage and broke up a fist fight between two guys in the audience. That was a little bit of unexpected excitement, but it was resolved quickly and gave fans even more reason to worship everything Lazzera did.

This was my first Taking Back Sunday show, and I don’t think it’ll be my last. They are so worth seeing live, even if you’re not a diehard fan. They put on a fantastic show and they sound so good live that it’s worth going just for the experience.