Concert Reviews

The Glorious Sons with Black Pistol Fire at Scotiabank Arena

If The Glorious Sons are waging a war on everything as the title of their late-2019, JUNO Award-nominated album suggests, I’d sure like to know who the hostile enemy is.

It certainly wasn’t the concertgoing battalion that reported for cheering duty at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, where the ’Sons began a tour leg that will see them visit 14 other Canadian cities from Vancouver to Quebec City. The crowd of 10,000 or so strong couldn’t have been more excited for the six-man group I thought would be a distant second in terms of who comes to most people’s minds when the words “Kingston” and “rock” are mentioned. Third actually if I count 2-piece O.G.s The Inbreds.

No, The Glorious Sons probably won’t play the venue formerly known as Air Canada Centre as many times as The Tragically Hip did, but I dare say there aren’t a group of artists these days better at riling up their own troops. Rock radio in our country is obviously alive and well – TGS have had ten songs crack the Top 10 since they started to gain steam in 2014, and in that time fans have learned every single lyric. Not only that, these card-carrying “Union” members have no problem confidently and loudly singing back “S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun)”, “Josie” and “Everything Is Alright” to the dude that wrote them all, Brett Emmons.

It got so bad that Emmons had to tell everyone at one point to “Shut up for a second, will ya?” OK, who am I kidding it was fantastic, but what was even better was the show-stealing moment he created with Chris Koster. The lead guitarist moved behind the piano keys on an elevated platform – shedding his fabulous-looking fur vest in the process – and accompanied Emmons on “La Cosa Nostra” that had the entire Scotiabank Arena shivering from goosebumps, not the howlingly cold winds outside. This video clip from @MomaStubbs does not even begin to do it justice.

Most impressive I must say is how The Glorious Sons have essentially done this all themselves, independently. They’re maybe the biggest band in Canada right now, and are breaking into the US in a way the Hip were never quite able to do, God rest Gordie’s soul BTW. It’s been awesome to witness their relatively rapid ascent through building honest-to-goodness relationships with those ultimately paying the bills. Almost as awesome as how Black Pistol Fire had a BAGPIPE PLAYER join the 2-piece for “Run Rabbit Run” during an otherwise straight ahead, blistering garage blues opening set which also featured singer Kevin McKeown covering a little of “Blow at High Dough” in another nod to Gord Downie. I know I didn’t expect that on a Thursday night, but you should expect explosions of the rock variety whenever The Glorious Sons with Black Pistol Fire are in action. Listen to a playlist of what Toronto was treated to, and get tickets for an upcoming AWOE event at

About author

Gilles LeBlanc literally fell into “alternative rock” way back at Lollapalooza 1992, where he got caught in his first mosh pit watching some band named Pearl Jam. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his life looking for music to match the liberating rush he felt that day, with a particular chest-beating emphasis on stuff coming out of his native Canada. You can follow his alter ego on Twitter: @ROCKthusiast.