Lee's Palace in Toronto, ON
October 5, 2012
Review by: Colton Eddy
Photos by: Jeff Budgell
Their music is not self-involved. They're youthful without being arrogant. They're one of the most promising outfits to prowl the Toronto independent scene these days, but you probably haven’t heard of them just yet.
On Friday night, it was reassurance that the musical community is alive and well as a collective of photographers, writers, and musicians came together at Lee’s Palace for Teenage Kicks.
The five-piece outfit is comprised of vocalist and chief songwriter Peter Van Helvoort, bassist Jeff Van Helvoort, guitarists Patrick Marchant and Christian Turner, with Cameron Brunt on the kit. They took to the squeals of distortion on the Lee's Palace stage stage nearly 25-years after Red Hot Chili Peppers and two decades after another bunch of flannel-clad fellas known as Nirvana.
Peter sprinted onto stage to a chorus of feedback as they fired into the first track off the Be On My Side EP, "Setting Sun" and the audience lost their collective mind. Sporting their influences on their sweat-drenched sleeves, Teenage Kicks’ sound brings to mind Zeppelin-style grit and melodies that are rooted in hours of spinning The Beatles' Revolver. But unlike bands such as The Sheepdogs, they don't emulate nostalgic denim-on-denim with hair of lovechild length. With no discredit to those guys, Teenage Kicks have a working class authenticity. Being in a band isn't their full-time job, they aggressively tossed chords around the room on an empty stomach as though it should be something permanent.
They have that ability to build expectations before tearing it down. Having seen them perform once before at the Phoenix, their chemistry tends to build throughout the set, but never tire. That loose environment is part of their charm. Audience members chanted along and shouted requests that were answered with some favourites: "Middle of the Night", "Brooklyn Bridge", and "I Get What You Give".
Everyone was there for a celebration. They thrusted energy back, right on through to the mosh-pit finale during a Creedence Clearwater Revival fueled cover of "Proud Mary". It had just the right dose of Tina Turner - and a heartfelt dedication to the Van Helvoort parents. At one point, Peter joined the audience in a sweaty-fit of screams and smirks. It made you feel as though nothing could be more honest, valuable, or important than the music.
Teenage Kicks have been on the brim of acknowledgement for too many seasons. Though being a sacred secret of the Toronto scene, these shows have a comforting intimacy that they've honed in their two-years together. Their rugged, genuine sound has tightened and they’ve become one of the most original bands in this city.
Even though it wasn’t obvious in the performance, tonight was the final show for both Jeff and Patrick, following an announcement earlier this month. However, they fired off a few new songs including "See You In Hell or All Is Not Lost", which Peter followed up by saying: "Alright, that's going to be on our next album. It'll be released sometime in 2016." His tongue and cheek was just as bittersweet as the evening's undertone. As he stood alone to pluck a rare live performance of the bluesy "You Shall Not Want", it felt that he was cursing to himself as this incarnation fell through.
But this wasn't a farewell show. It has already been announced that Jay Reid of Lifestory:Monologue will become their bassist. Don't give up on them, gather around and start listening.
And Everybody Knows It
See You In Hell or All Is Not Lost
I Get What You Give
Middle of the Night
Digging Up Old Bones
Indian Summertime Blues
Baby, You're So Rich
Lose Your Head
Hearts of Darkness
You Shall Not Want (Peter - Solo)
Shook Our Bones