Photos by Neil Van.
I don’t like “goodbyes.” Tears. Lumps-in-throat. Hugs that last forever. Doesn’t have to be that way. Promoter Dan Burke’s last stand punched a hole through that syrupy wall with an impromptu festival featuring some of Toronto’s finest. The Silver Dollar Room wasn’t afraid to go down swinging.
The week-long celebration featured stand-out sets by Peeling, Dilly Dally and Blood Ceremony, capped off by a floorboard rattling finale featuring New Fries, Fake Palms and Metz. Impassioned performances worthy of the Dollar’s storied past, it felt nothing like a somber Sunday night.
New Fries kick started the night with a truly disarming set that threw back to the glory days of CBGB’s caffeine-infused art-rock. Singer-guitarist Anni Spadafora’s wailing vocal acrobatics were matched only by her unconventional rhythmic fretboard explosions. Oddly enough, the sets most striking moment was also its quietest. With Spadafora and bassist Tim Fagan crouching over their instruments almost ritualistically, we all joined them in prayer for the dollar.
Fake Palms made sure we didn’t spiral. Reminding us that we were here to celebrate, mourning could be left in the wake of our collective hangovers. As solid a performance as I’d ever seen the band turn out, guitarists Michael le Riche and Lane Haley turned intricate counterpoint in to a blood sport.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Metz set. This crowd did not particularly look like crowdsurfers, which would have served the line of photographers two rows deep well. Didn’t take long to erase that preconception as legs were flying the first song in. The crowd surged signaling that chaos had come to make a welcome call. It was easily the most explosive thing I’ve ever seen at the dollar. And did Metz ever light the fuse.
In his usual fashion, frontman Alex Edkins egged on the crowd with his spit-laced attack. As much as the trio attempted to pummel the crowd in to submission, they gave as good as they got. At one point, Eakins ripped the venue’s sign off the wall and passed it to someone in the crowd who proceeded to use it as a surfboard. The end of the night saw Burke riding the crowd perched on the very logo he iconocized.
One more perfect memory for a room that created so many.