A terrific show all around. Toronto's Opera House hosted Strung Out, the Mad Caddies, and Edmonton's own Choke. The show opened with the surprisingly good Choke. Surprising, because I'd never heard of them before. A very tight, technical band with some really cool ideas. Next up was the ska/punk/swingsters of the Mad Caddies. They played a tight, energetic set, playing a nice blend of favourites from the first two records, and some teasers from the new one. Of course, as good as all these bands were, by the time Mad Caddies closed up their set, you could tell people were getting anxious for the headliners. You know, you expect Strung Out to explode on to the stage, you hope to hear all that furious energy from the records from the second they get up on stage. And you know what? They sure as hell didn't disappoint. It was a non-stop barrage of songs, from their three albums, and some great new tracks as well. When we spoke to the guys before the show, Jake assured me that I would be surprised by the new songs. Well, the tracks had that trademark sound, heavy metal-esque guitars, machine-gun drumming, a huge, low-end, and Jason's perfectly pitched vocals. But they did have a sound all their own.
The first time I saw Strung Out, was in 1996, on their tour with Diesel Boy. The club was smaller, and sounded a little better back then, I'll admit, but of all the live punk bands I've seen, few have managed to fill the sound of the Opera House like these guys. Probably my favourite live band, and the way I'm gushing, it probably shows. If you get an opportunity to catch them on tour, don't hesitate, don't pass go... enough cliche's, you know the rest. Buy the fucking tickets and prepare to be blown away.
P.S. Shelby and I did a great interview with Jake, Rob, and some other guys from Strung Out, as well as with Carter from Mad Caddies. We got the scoop on the new record, the whole Major Label (tm) thing, and the dillio with former bass player, Jim. We'll have the whole thing up in streaming MP3 format soon enough.