Concert Review: Protest The Hero, June 10, Danforth Music Hall

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Excitement was pretty high at the Danforth Music Hall on Friday night as fans prepared themselves for an evening of progressive metal from Whitby’s own Protest The Hero. Following a solid opening set from Edmonton’s Choke, the band took to the stage and launched into opening number “The Migrant Mother.” Everything seemed to be going fairly well. Then the unexpected happened.

After singing only one song, vocalist Rody Walker addressed the crowd, noting that his voice was shot and that he was not in a position to push it this evening, adding that he’s “never done this before and I hope to never do it again.” And while it seemed for a second that this might have signaled an early end to the night, Walker went on to say that the band would carry on without him, playing a mostly instrumental set while he watched from the sidelines. And with that, he left the stage, leaving the audience wondering what would happen next.

Though the band was down a singer, many in the crowd gladly took on the task of singing along en masse in his stead, and it seemed that the vast majority of those in attendance were still pretty pumped to be at the show even if Walker wouldn’t be a part of it for most of the night. And of course the band still sounded fantastic. It’s a testament to both their talent and the fans’ dedication that this show went off so well with the band missing a vital member.

At the point when the band normally would have left the stage before coming back out for an encore, Walker returned to the stage to say a few more words, mentioning that despite being “suprememly bummed” to have missed the show, he was also quite proud of his bandmates for the show they had put on this evening. He then invited someone named Jesse out to sing the encore in his place as the band ended things of with “Mist”, their 2013 tribute to the people of Newfoundland.

While this was not an ideal situation for any band to deal with, Protest The Hero definitely made the best of a bad situation, putting on what ended up being quite a unique and memorable show despite the setback.

Song Of The Day: Weird Nightmare – Lusitania

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Though local noisemakers METZ just played a hometown show this past weekend headlining the Saturday night edition of Do West Fest, this evening finds singer and guitarist Alex Edkins returning to the Toronto stage in his other guise as frontman for Weird Nightmare.

With their recently released self-titled debut album, Weird Nightmare takes a more melodic approach than Edkins’ main gig, with a sound that hearkens back to ’90s indie rock. Check out the video for “Lusitania” below.

Weird Nightmare plays Axis Club tonight opening for Superchunk.

Song Of The Day: Just Mustard – Mirrors

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Irish quintet Just Mustard released their latest album Heart Under late last month. On that album, the band offers up an intriguing mix of noisy post-punk and shoegaze influenced sounds behind singer Katie Ball’s soothing yet also somewhat haunting vocals.

“Mirrors” is the latest single off of the album. Check it out below.

Concert Review: Frayle, June 4, The Opera House

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Early on in their Saturday night set at The Opera House, Frayle vocalist Gwyn Strang addressed the crowd, mentioning that Toronto is her hometown and that it was good to be back home. I must point out though that the way she pronounced Toronto suggests that she’s probably been away for long enough that she’s adjusted so as not to confuse Americans who might wonder where this ‘Toronno’ place is located.

Quibbles about pronunciation aside, Frayle put on a compelling show full of slow, heavy riffs counterbalanced by the gentler sound of Strang’s ethereal vocals. With their dark, moody sounds and witchy sort of vibe, the Cleveland band acted as a good contract to headliner Cradle of Filth’s more over the top approach.

Frayle’s upcoming album Skin & Sorrow is set to be released on July 8 Via Aqualamb Records.