Concert Review: Respire, November 12, The Garrison

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Right after finishing their soundcheck at The Garrison on Friday night, each of the members of Respire left the stage so that they could make a proper entrance once they started their show – it was a record release show, after all. And after waiting almost a year to properly celebrate their album release with a hometown show, I’d say they’ve earned to right to make a grand entrance of sorts.

After a long time away from performing, the band finally made their return to playing shows again in celebration of the release of their latest record Black Line, which came out in December of last year. While this wasn’t technically the first show they’ve played since COVID shut live music down for awhile (they played a show the night before in Cambridge, Ontario), it definitely seemed like a triumphant return to the stage as the band shared this moment with a number of friends and fans in attendance … as well as their parents, sort of.

Near the end of the set, the band brought a friend out on stage to take a photo of the crowd that they could send to their parents, presumably to prove to them that, yes, lots of people actually do care about this music that they’re making and it’s not just a waste of time. It was a nice moment.

The elevator pitch for Respire is essentially ‘screamo meets post-rock meets metal’, and that’s fair, but there’s definitely a lot more of GY!BE or even Dirty Three in their sound than there is Alexisonfire. It’s still plenty heavy though – there’s most definitely a noticeable black metal influence in there, with the similarly genre-defying Deafheaven being the most obvious comparison. It’s an impressive sound, with the music often changing gears and shifting musically over the course of one song, usually ending in a big cathartic climax.

With horns and a violin as part of their sound, it’s definitely a complex, heady musical blend, but unlike some bands who might walk a similar musical path, Respire’s music seems less of the head and more of the heart – this is music you feel. This isn’t the sort of show where folks stand around with their arms crossed studying the notes played, it’s the sort of show where mosh pits might periodically break out. Yes, this crowd was definitely feeling it. And rightfully so.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts