Friday, May 20, 2016

Return To The Rock Show

I awoke yesterday with a need for distraction. I checked concert listings, then consulted That On-Line Admissions Gateway Which Shall Not Be Named. There was still room for me, it seemed. I hit "Buy Tickets," and my evening was booked.

"This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife!"

Corrosion of Conformity, Clutch and Lamb of God at TD Echo Beach, Toronto - May 19, 2016

I missed all but the final three numbers of the Corrosion of Conformity set. Traffic into town was abysmal  which I had anticipated. But I had not accounted for the overabundance of Lakeshore Avenue construction which chokes traffic flow into a single lane, nor the masses of basketball fans flocking to "Jurassic Park" to collectively experience the gradual extinction of their playoff hopes.

And I'd forgotten what every out-of-town parent of school-age children learns through bitter experience  Ontario Place is the absolute worst Toronto destination to get to. It couldn't be more challenging if they'd built it under water.

After bending over a barrel to pay for my parking spot, I finally arrived at this new-to-me venue  admittedly with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. My first impression? Outdoor stage, fleets of porta-potties, all parked next to the tepid grandeur of industrial Lake Ontario  what's not to love? Bonus points  the foundation of sand is not just a convenience for attenders needing some place to extinguish their various smoking materials, it also aids fogies hampered with plantar fasciitis.

I hobbled close to the stage and picked up the final notes of CoC's set.

Leafs fan, joyously unburdened of playoff dreams.

I wish I'd caught more of these guys. They add a pleasant layer of Sabbath-sludge atop Molly Hatchet-style anthems and riffs. Check 'em out.

Next was the act I'd come to see: Clutch.

No need for a smoke machine out here.
Clutch kicks out goofy, unfussy rock 'n' roll. It's super-infectious tuneage, tarted up with the sort of hooks a midlife newcomer to guitar finds aspirational. I've been giving their last two albums  Earth Rocker and Psychic Warfare  a great deal of play.

Fallon's got a cowbell: must be 'DC Sound Attack!'
Finally we came to the headline act, Lamb of God. Considering the gear their roadies schlepped on-stage, I was mightily impressed they kicked off on time. I readied my phone for the opening number, and . . .
Wups. A little too close to the stage...
I retreated to a safer distance.

...still too close...
Finally . . .

Four numbers in I figured I'd caught the gist of their outrage, and decided to call it a night.

Linking the first two bands  both of whom have been labelled "stoner rock"  with LoG's listener-friendly thrash struck me as odd, though not egregious. Listening to between-set chatter, I got the impression the kids enjoyed the warm-up. The preponderance of T-shirts indicated, however, that they were not going to be sated until they got their fill of double-bass fills  strictly the purview of LoG this night.

They're happy; I'm happy  mostly. Truth be told, I went out hoping this concert might somehow magically repeat itself, just for me. Didn't happen, but I'm not complaining  I've got my garden-watering T-shirt.

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