Strung Out @ The Opera House, Toronto, Canada

Live Reviews | Sep 22nd, 2000

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Opening Bands: No Motiv, Subb
Date: September 22nd 2000
Venue: The Opera House, Toronto, Canada

Well, basically I fucked up again. My friends from over at hooked me up with an interview and a spot on the guest list for Strung Out’s concert at the Opera House in Toronto. The Opera House is exactly that- an old theater that has been converted into a concert venue. It’s actually very similar to the Showplace Theater. The main difference is a huge balcony with a bar and 3 bars on the ground floor. So, I headed out for downtown Toronto without a real map and directions I had received after drinking twenty-two ounces of Canadian beer. I ended up getting lost and driving around Toronto for an hour. So I got to the show late, pissed off, and out of gas. Also, I screwed any chance I had of interviewing Strung Out (sorry Pauly).

This is the first time I had been to a punk rock show at The Opera House in Toronto in over two years. The type of crowd that goes to these concerts in Toronto has really changed. There was definitely a lot of kids there into the whole Toronto rave scene compared to the last time I was there. I have never seen so many beaded necklaces and crooked hats at a punk show before. Not to mention the fact that there was a bunch of them all fucked up on crystal meth in the bathroom. It was just kind of weird to see the two scenes mix together like that. I got to talking with Max from No Motiv (the opening band) and he said that in California it’s totally separated and you don’t see that type of thing out there. He also noticed that Canadian crowds, in general, were more influenced by the whole rave scene than the Americans at their shows.

Anyway, I did get there in time to see the band Subb from California. They’re on Skunk records and they had this pop punk/ ska sound. They sounded pretty good throughout most of their set. The only problem was that the sound system shorted out about midway through. After about a five-minute delay, they continued and finished up their last songs.

Next up was No Motiv also from California. They are signed to Vagrant Records, which is owned by Trevor from face to face. The only song I ever heard by them was a cover of “Space age love song” on the Before You Were Punk 2 compilation. They had a fairly original sound and were surprisingly good. You could hear a little Bad Religion and some 3-chord punk influences in most of their songs.

Finally, after a long delay, Strung Out took the stage in front of a huge yellow banner. Their newest release The Element of Sonic Defiance (Ep) is a return to more of a hardcore sound. The shift to this type of sound was definitely reflected in their set. They opened with “Mission to Mars” from the new Ep and “Too Close to See” off of Twisted by Design. “King Alverez” and “The Exhumation of Virginia Madison” were other songs they played from Twisted. They definite played a lot of songs from the Sonic Defiance and a lot of songs from Teenage Suburban Wasteland Blues. They also played “Bring Out Your Dead” and “Mind of My Own”. The video for the latter can be seen on their website ( They closed with “Matchbook” and returned for a 4-song encore, comprised of mostly older songs.

My only problem with the Strung Out show was that they played their best songs in the middle of their set. This left them very few good songs to close with and to play during the encore. They did have a very good stage presence and really got the crowd all fired up. Sometimes hardcore bands are guilty of forfeiting quality music for the sake of projecting a certain type of attitude or atmosphere. Strung Out seems to have found the right balance of punk, pop, and hardcore. It was refreshing to see a high energy show that still retained a bit of pop sensibility. Also, to see any band play at the Opera House in Toronto is a definite must. The crowds are always good and there isn’t a bad seat to be found.


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