Concert Reviews

The Menzingers with Tigers Jaw and The Penske File at the Phoenix Concert Theatre

Looking back at the lineup, this past Sunday night promised to a memorable one. Unfortunately the opening band, Culture Abuse, had to cancel last minute due to a medical emergency. However, late addition The Penske File kick-started the night and set the tone of good things to come. The three-piece, hailing from Burlington, did a solid job of warming up the already-sizable crowd on the snowy Sunday night.

Tigers Jaw put on an excellent set, bringing their mix of pop-punk, indie rock and emo-tinged tunes to the stage. The smooth, steady vocals from Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh brought added life to the energetic sounds produced by the rest of the band, with highlights “Eyes Shut” and “Chemicals” getting the crowd going. They closed their set with the excellent “Hum” from their 2015 album Charmer, leaving the crowd ready for the main event.

The Menzingers took to the stage with exuberant fanfare, and stating the crowd was excited would be an understatement. The Philadelphia-based punk band were celebrating the release of their new album Hello Exile, and played an energetic mix of new material and fan favourites. The new songs were met with great enthusiasm, with standouts “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” and “Anna” being warmly received by the excited crowd. The band is aware their musical formula works as the new material is not drastically different from previous albums, yet holds up just as well to earlier efforts such as the well-received “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore”. Members Greg Barnett and Tom May shared vocal duties throughout the set, with their dynamics slightly different yet complementary in the best of ways. Many audience members could be seen crowd surfing while the rest danced and jumped along. After a brief reprieve the band came back on stage to close with “In Remission” and “After the Party”, sending the fans back out into the wintery night hoping to see the band back in Toronto soon.