Live (Aug. 2nd, 2008)
The Kool Haus- Toronto, Ontario
Do you remember 1995? It was an interesting year. It started off crazy when OJ’s trial began live broadcasts on American daytime television, Ace of Base ruled the charts, Blondisma hair product shares sky rocketed from a frosted tips hair phenomenon, and Rancid released arguably the best punk rock album of all time And Out Come The Wolves.
So you are asking yourself what does a Rancid show review have to do with the inception of the OJ trial on American TV? Because friends the spirit of 95 was alive and well as Rancid played at least three quarters of the legendary A.O.C.T.W album. They shared the stage with New York Hardcore Heroes H2O, and Toronto’s Flatliners.
The first band to stoke the fire were Toronto’s Flatliners who came out glowing based on the fact they were opening up for H2O and Rancid. Vocalist Chris Cresswell had a little extra adrenaline surging all night as they ripped through songs off their Fat release The Great Awake. Opening for bands like Rancid can be tough, but they got a great reception from the home crowd and set the stage nicely for H2O.
Finally after seven years, H2O stepped out of the shadows and wasted no time starting off the show with Nothing to Prove’s first track ironically titled “1995” a song about lead vocalist Toby Morse’s dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs with the music industry as we know it today.
Toronto gave H2O a great welcome back and the energy transfer between the crowd and the band was fantastic. H2O played music from all their albums and even got a little bit heavy metal as they started playing the intro to Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. But in true H20 fashion Toby fused the lyrics to 5 Year Plan, which inevitably started a circle pit. They ended the night with my favorite song on the Nothing to Prove album What Happened?
Well it was now time for what every punk in the Kool Haus wanted. The curtain was pulled and the screen projected grainy profile pictures of each Rancid member. I love this. It is cool to watch the tension build up in the crowds face. Seconds later they took the stage and instantly broke into Ruby Soho.
It was a hot humid Southern Ontario August night, but Tim Armstrong still wore an over sized black trench coat and fedora. And like I said before they put a lot of emphasis on 1995’s seminal A.O.C.T.W.
Rancid proved to be no one trick pony though, and weren’t afraid to play Operation Ivy’s Knowledge. Tim Armstrong also played a song off his solo album Into Action, and other old school staples like I Wanna Riot, Adina, Nihilism, and many, many more.
Some highlights for me were Matt Freeman’s driving bass solo in Maxwell Murder that in my opinion make Les Claypool look like he is sailing in a sea of cheese! Frederiksen and his guitar performed a touching rendition of At the Wars End. I enjoyed the contrasty monochromatic images of Travis Bickle, Clint Eastwood in spaghetti westerns, and other images of war and history projected behind them on a big screen as they played and watching the intensity in Lars’s face when they played The Other side – a song about Frederiksen’s passed brother Robert; It was truly amazing.
When it was all over even the greasiest liberty Mow hawk hung like a weeping willow in the sweaty air of the Kool Haus. Rancid played an incredible show and proved they have earned their cornerstone in punk rock music. Their ability to seamlessly transition songs in a hardcore vein to a rootsy reggae chord, and carry on to a smooth melody can’t be matched.
“This is the only life I want to live in 1995!
I’m not coming home there’s nothing there for me.
Time flies, it goes by and then you realize
I’m not coming home, this is where I want to be”
I completely related to those lyrics after this show. Much like a smell can trigger a feeling or memory Rancid’s songs brought me back to a time in my life that means a lot to me. And that is to me what music should always be about.