Black Veil Brides
It was only five months ago when the AP Fall Tour rolled into town. And here we are five months later, with an AP Spring Tour line up consist of Black Veil Brides, DRUGS, I See Stars, VersaEmerge and Conditions. Unfortunately, Detroit band I See Stars got held up at the Canadian border, causing the band to miss their signing at the local Hot Topic and the show.
Pop rock band Conditions, who were on the VersaEmerge tour back in November, delivered a lively set to start off the show and engaging the crowd action. This is the sixth time experimental/progressive band VersaEmerge plays in Toronto, the set opened with “Stranger”. After covering the band multiple times and witnessing the band’s growth (which also includes a few member changes, going from a five piece to a three piece act), it became noticeable that front woman Kusterbeck’s stage presence has improved throughout the last couple years. Kusterbeck has gained more confidence on stage, especially in engaging crowd attention. She is able to commandeer the crowd’s attention by performing with her whole body, shaking and swaying as she delivered the lyrics and even lying on her back on stage at the most intense moments, completely absorbed. The band ended the short and sweet set with “Fixed At Zero”.
D.R.U.G.S, is the abbreviation of the next band who performed, and it actually stands for something more substantial like Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows. The band is mostly known as Craig Owens’ new band (a new addiction to his various projects) after he was kicked out from Chiodos. D.R.U.G.S is also comprised of other well known musicians such as Matt Good from From First To Last on guitar, Nick Martin from Undermined on guitar, bassist Adam Russel of Story of the Year with Matchbook Romance drummer Aaron Stern. Considering the members’ reputation in previous bands that had a solid fan base, it was not a surprise to see many fans were here to see the band’s first performance in Toronto.
Prior the band hitting the stage, the crowd were already chanting “DRUGS” relentlessly (someone actually screamed “I want my DRUGS!!!!”). Even between songs,, the audience continued to chant “DRUGS”, which is something rather uncommon and demonstrated the fan’s eagerness. The band opened with an intro with the ever charismatic frontman Craig Owens walking lazily on the stage holding a bottle of water, before yelling a “WHAT THE FUCK IS UP TORONTO?” and launching into “The Only Thing You Talk About”. Although the band’s debut album was only released in late February, fans were already singing along every words. Throughout the set, the band members performed passionately. Owens also took a moment to acknowledge fans’ continued support “I have been through a lot shit these past two years, that I feel like most of you in this room has gone through with me, and without you I wouldn’t be here so thank you very much” before diving into “Graveyard Dancing” (after which, Craig Owens declared to the crowd that “I feel like we just had sex and it was amazing”) The band managed to successfully start a wall of death amongst the audience for the final song “If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is”.
After D.R.U.G.S’s remarkable performance, a bunch of the audience left before Ohio metalcore band Black Veil Brides’ set. The bar was emptied, which led to the conclusion that the demographic of those who left are older than 19 (drinking age in Ontario). Black Veil Brides’ came out in their signature heavily painted face (think KISS) and uniform black leather outfits under the exploding screams of the remaining crowd. (The band’s also dedicated fans who painted their faces like the band’s, it was really evident who were here for BVB.) Initially, it was uncertain what to take from the band’s theatricality, but their set was action packed and entertaining. Opening with “All Your Hate”, lead singer Andy Biersack strolls back and forth across the stage, occasionally stopping on the platforms on either side of the stage to scream into his microphone. The proximity and direct attention he gave to the audience only resulted in more screaming. Bassist Ashley Purdy even smashed his bass after “Beautiful Remains”. Drummer Christian “CC” Coma played a drum solo between songs at the back behind his huge drum set. Even after the set was over, fans still stuck around and were expecting an encore, but disappointingly did not receive one.
Text and photos by Jessie Lau
Translated by Jaime Chu