A Young Lions Music Club Party with Teenage Kicks at The Dakota Tavern

Date of show: July 25, 2012
Written by: Chiara DiAngelo

Everyone in the city knows that Young Lions Music Club can throw a party. This time around they teamed up with Teenage Kicks to offer an exclusive event to Singles Club and Young Lions members. Word has it The Dakota hit capacity just shortly after the show started at 9pm – I’d say that’s a pretty good sign of a successful night.

Teenage Kicks

It had been awhile since I last caught Toronto’s Teenage Kicks. One of the few shows the band is playing this summer, their set featured songs off both their EPs and even a new track. Between “Setting Son,” “And Everyone Body Knows It” and “Lose Your Head,” this sweaty basement rock show was the exact remedy needed to counteract the gloom of the rainy night outside.

The swagger and dominant electricity of frontman Peter van Helvoort is relatively unmatched. This was especially true during “Hearts of Darkness” when he took to the middle of the crowd. The look of on the faces of the crowd members closest to him was a mixture of sheer excitement and awe to be able to scream the lyrics right along beside him.

While their set ended with “Brooklyn Bridge,” responding to the cheers of the capacity crowd, the band came back for an encore, first getting everyone to sing along to old favourite “Shook Our Bones” before launching into a cover of CCR’s “Proud Mary.” As they started to leave the stage, the crowd again roared for one more song. Peter relented and gave them the option of one of their Singles Club exclusive tracks as the for-real-final song. With the screams pretty even for The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and Weezer’s “Tired of Sex,” the band finally settled on their hard-hitting Beatles cover that literally came to a crashing close when Peter crashed Cameron Brunt’s drum kit, leaving pieces strewn across the stage.

I stood at the side of the stage for this show, which gave me a perfect view of both the band and the capacity crowd; it was quite the incredible sight to behold. What I’ve come to realize is Teenage Kicks are a band that connects with the audience in a way that is unlike any other local band at their level. Their set may have been peppered with imperfections, but it was no matter – the energy and intensity that poured out of this band as a whole is unparalleled and the response they received back from the crowd is a testament to that. Amongst all of the fist pumps and almost everyone shouting along with the lyrics, it was like everyone was still half aware they were watching history in the making. These are the shows we are going to look back on in a couple of years and be so thankful to have been a part of, and to have had the opportunity to see Teenage Kicks at tiny venues like The Dakota.

Poor Young Things

The boys of Poor Young Things were in the city for all of one night in between jaunts to Thunder Bay just to play this show. Having somehow found time to fit in some writing within their relentless tour schedule, the crowd was treated to quite a few new song debuts. With many of them having a real “Canadiana” feel infused into their blue collar rock-and-roll sound, I’m looking forward to hearing more from the upcoming full length that is in the works.

The majority of the band may have gotten caught in the downpour shortly before taking the stage, but this didn’t slow them down. “Blame it On The Good Times” is always a highlight of their set, and this night was extra special as this tune was actually written about The Dakota. Guitarist Dave Grant took it off-stage for this one to rock out amongst the audience. “Reckless Young” also encouraged some audience participation, with the crowd clapping and singing along.

While still-newish “Warpaint” has quickly become a personal set favourite, perhaps the best part of their set on this occasion was the fact that Konrad Commisso wore the Hawaiian shirt – tucked in! – he dons in the band’s latest tour promo video. If you haven’t seen said video yet, do yourself a favour and set aside a half hour so that you can press repeat on it ten times and howl with laughter. Also be sure to keep an eye out for their music video for “The Low Road” and catch them on their latest East Coast/American tour before they return to Toronto to play the CNE with Trooper!


I unfortunately only made it in time to catch Cousin’s last song – fortunately it was their cover of The Constantines’ “Young Offender.” It was also great to hear a lot of positive comments from friends after their set as these boys from Niagara Falls continue to make their mark on the Toronto music scene.

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Categories: Live Music


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