Review and Photos by Aaron Tamachi
Can I just start this article by saying that Toronto is a wonderful city; we’re lucky to be in a place that is so accepting of others, regardless of orientation, ethnicity or background—and don’t think it’s going unnoticed by the many visitors here. It seemed to be theme for this show TD Echo Beach welcomed Rise Against with Killswitch Engage and Letlive. How could anything feel wrong about perfect weather while on a beach and listening to great music?
The night opened with an explosive start thanks to the eccentric Letlive from Los Angeles. Letlive is more than just a band that plays heavy music and tears up the stage; it’s more of a mentality of people encased within a band. Throughout Letlive’s set, vocalist Jason Butler spoke of helping others if they fall, and not just in the literal sense of the mosh pit. “I don’t know if you know this but this isn’t Letlive—this (motioning to the crowd) is Letlive! Look after each other out there”. Butler also took the time to ensure everyone was moving. “OK we need to get a circle pit going. We can fit one there, and there, one over there, and one right here”. Fans were only too happy to oblige with a circle pit, but sadly only one. After playing a solid set while jumping in and around (and through) the crowd, Letlive called it a night before Killswitch Engage took over.
Killswitch is a band for which I’ve always had great admiration, due in part to their longevity, the music they’ve produced, or the complete hilarity that ensues at the hand of guitarist Adam D. Killswitch, who played a clean mix from the band’s discography of major releases. As fans flew over the barricade, the mosh pit grew to about 20 feet in diameter.
Killswitch sound as incredible live as they do recorded on an album, and this night was no exception. Playing everything from My Last Serenade to In Due Time, it was without a doubt one of Killswitch’s best performances I’ve seen in quite some time. It was only toward the end of the set that Adam D. offered up advice to ticket holders young and old – “You need to drink beer every day! You need to smoke weed every day! You need to fuck every day! If you’re not burying your dick into something, you’re wasting your life!” A little raw perhaps, but everyone got the point.
Rise Against is arguably one of the tightest acts a punk fan can see live. I knew the moment they took to the stage that fans were in for something special. Opening the night with The Great Die-off, The Good Left Undone and Give it All, the audience became alive and instantly began cascading over the barrier in droves. Throughout the evening, frontman Tim Mcllrath thanked the audience for coming out. “You know, Canada, we fucking love you guys. There was a time not too long ago that we were playing dive bars in the U.S for a few people. But the second we crossed the border into Canada, you guys were here waiting eagerly for us. So many of you have shown us love over the years; we love you”.
Tim also brought the audience’s attention to the recent equal rights legislation that has passed nationwide. ”We want to say how happy we are for how far we’ve come for gay rights, and we wanted our state to recognize everyone as people instead of something they aren’t,” to which the audience delivered an outpouring of support.
Rise Against continued on and flawlessly performed Survive, Prayer of the Refugee, and Ready to Fall, all classics from The Sufferer and the Witness. This was all tied together in a beautiful knot when Tim came out and performed two acoustic songs (Hero of War and Swing Life Away) and closed the night out with a two-song encore of Dancing for Rain and Savior.
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