Photographs by Ryan O’Shaughnessy.
I’m not the most social person on the planet but a large part of my communication with the outside world is at gigs. All through my life, I’ve met some incredible and my dearest friends through gig going. I decided I would get out more and do things I might initially pass on and socialize for 2015. It was a great decision that has paid massive dividends for me and getting to hang out with some awesome fellow gig goers.
Case in point was last night’s gig at the Phoenix with Kansas City’s the Get Up Kids celebrating twenty years of existence. My exposure to the band was always second hand, via colleagues at a records store I managed. Their 2002 album On A Wire was on heavy rotation but I never delved in thoroughly and the people putting them on were very passionate about the band. In memory of the friends I’ve lost touch with, I decided to pay tribute by hitting the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto on a chilly Saturday night.
The five piece led by Matt Pryor were greeted with a rapturous roar and then proceeded to transport everyone back to an earlier simpler time, before life happened.
The venue was not packed but was comfortable, the sound was its usual reliably clear self which bode well for a band glad to be back in their element and a crowd that came prepared to belt out the songs of their younger years like they were screaming them in the poster-ridden teenage homes. But don’t take it from me; my friend Jesse who orchestrated my evening and big Get Up Kids fan put it like this when I asked him his thoughts.
“It was everything 12 year-old me wanted. “Overdue” was amazing. They played most of their songs from On a Wire and also hit some of their best songs from Simple Science.”
And for us fossils they threw in a cover of The Cure’s “Close to Me” and the Replacements’ “Beer for Breakfast”!
So while I might have been about ten years ahead of really cherishing the band during their recorded heyday, I still felt part of a new musical family last night. The happy conversations I had outside after with those coming out of the Phoenix, confirmed many others did too.