Concert Reviews

The Chain Gang of 1974 at Drake Hotel

I was admittedly unsure of what to expect, walking into The Chain Gang of 1974s Toronto show. I had missed the Los Angeles-based project of Kamtin Mohager just a few days prior, when his electronic band helped kick-off Governors Ball in NYC. Thankfully, a Toronto tour date gave me the chance to see him in a more intimate setting though Im not sure how small his crowds will stay.

Performing as a four piece, the band radiated energy to a fairly sparse crowd, Mohager tossing around plenty of head bangs as they kicked off with You,from 2014s Daydream Forever. Mohager a former touring bassist for dubstep-scenesters 3OH!3 will inevitably appeal to the younger demographic: The Chain Gang likely to find favour with 1975 fans (and not just because of the proximity of years.)

Songs like Mikoand the electro-heavy Hold Onwere aggressive, but still poppy. I imagine angst-y teenagers will appreciate the approachable rock nroll sensibilities that are part Foo Fighters, part Fall Out Boy, and all dressed up in a guy that kind of recalls Kurt Cobain (though that might have just been his long blonde hair talking.)

Mohager himself seemed rather fond of Toronto telling the crowd early on that he was feeling the energy in the room and soon dedicating a song to the Maple Leafs, explaining that as a kid growing up in Hawaii, he always had a strange affection for our hometown heroes.

The hazy Ordinary Fools,Daydream Forevers lead-off track, was an interesting change of pace amongst an otherwise energetic romp Mohager delivering his vocal lines with conviction as his three-piece backing band accompanied him. Another anomaly was Sleepwalking,the bands most popular single to date that canters more electro-pop than any of the bands other work.

The crowd for them is still small, but outside of a 19+ Monday night crowd, the promise of busier, more energetic shows is certainly there. Maybe next time just open it up to all-ages or put The Chain Gang of 1974 on an opening bill for the likes of whatever the flavour of the month it is. While the older, quote-unquote, indiecrowd just might not be their demographic, it doesnt mean the band doesnt deserve some actual attention.

About author

Former Music Editor & Concert Photographer at Live in Limbo. Sarah was born in Toronto. She's worked at some places that you've heard of (like NXNE) and some that you haven't. She is an Academy Delegate at the JUNOs (CARAS). You can usually find Sarah at a concert, on Twitter @beets, or on Instagram @sarahrix. She also likes dogs and cheeseburgers.