youth relived at the horseshoe

There are some bands who take you back to another time of your life with little more than a few words and that just-right chord. Green Day always does it for me with Good Riddance (Time of Your Life); Billie Joe starts and I’m back in my grade school gym, wishing I was living in Berkeley. There’s nothing like a school dance in the midst of a Niagara winter to make you want Californian sun.

But I digress.

Other bands bring you back in time not through familiar chords, but through a sound or a feeling. This was the case Friday evening at The Horseshoe Tavern, as three different bands took me back in time for three very different reasons.

We arrived in time for the second band – The Greys. A Toronto rock band that immediately hit a soft spot in my heart. The band was tight, and with a strong vocal lead ended up in some magical place between Pennywise, Against Me! and Anti-Flag.  This is raw, loud, powerful rock n’ roll at its best. No gloss, no fancy footwork, just 4 guys giving it their all and taking you along for the ride. It’s the music that reminds what it was to be young and stand for something.

Up next were the Fast Romantics. This Calgary band is newly transplanted to Toronto, but the Calgary in them was easy to see – there’s something wholesome about them, which is only amplified when singing love songs about love songs. There’s a 50s-ish vibe to their sound, which is rather good, even a bit special, once you surrender yourself to it. This took me a bit of time, having just relived the dingy-basement punk show nights of my youth with The Greys, but boyfriend has had FR on repeat ever since, and they’re growing on me.

And last but nowhere near least was another Toronto original, Teenage Kicks. They claim to love old rock and roll, and I’m not going to argue. They claim to write songs that stick with you and make you nostalgic for end of summer gatherings, and I’m not going to argue that either. In fact, I’m not going to argue anything because this was just great music. Stage presence to spare, and an undeniable confidence that a rock band needs to make you fall instantly in love. Do yourself a favour and run, don’t walk, to the next Teenage Kicks show.

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