Topanga Headline The Horseshoe For The First Time

Topanga @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12

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

Originally a four-band bill, Army Girls unfortunately had to drop out at the last minute. Luckily, the remaining bands brought more than enough energy, steaming up the Horseshoe on this, the last Saturday of August. If you arrived to the venue early, you may have been lucky enough to snag yourself a free Heineken – a pretty great start to the night if you ask me!


It was obvious from the moment the four members of Topanga walked on stage (to Outkast) that we were in for a doozy of a night. While not purchased by us, the band knocked back shots on stage before getting down to business. Fuelled by that hit of alcohol, they launched into a heavy instrumental intro before moving into the sun-drenched single “Oceans.”

While Topanga’s live shows always tend to get a little out of hand, imbibed with copious amounts of alcohol, it was one of the more crazy crowds out for this show. I haven’t seen it that intense since their 7” release at Sneaky Dee’s earlier this year. Much beer was sloshed as the front crowd jostled to get closer, crushing feet and bruising legs in the process as we were pushed up against the stage. But I’m pretty sure everyone emerged from the mayhem wearing the biggest smile on their face, wishing for more.

Entertaining as always, Stefan Babcock (vocals, guitar) detailed a story about their first band field trip to the zoo, which – if you believe him – inspired the song “Lionheart.” Their set also included newer tracks “Cul De Sac” and “Guilt Trip,” and an as-of-yet-untitled brand new song. These heavy hitters have a harder punk sound to them, and I’m liking it. There is less playfulness, and more anger spewing out of Babcock’s vocals and the entire band displayed growth while still hanging on to the pop essence that is so great about them.

The band has reached the point where they no longer need to add covers to their set (they have enough songs in their personal repertoire for a full set now), but getting to scream along “Ohhhhhh Antarctica” to their amped up and punk rocked-out version of The Weakerthans’ “Our Retired Explorer” is always welcomed. They ended with “The Shield” – a song about “getting drunk with your grandparents” and crowd favourite “Mabu.” Not wanting to deny the riotous crowd an encore, the band came back out with a cover of Cake’s “Sheep Go To Heaven” – you can picture the singalong that one induced.

Babcock was all smiles, appearing genuinely surprised and thankful for the response from the crowd and the turnout for this, their first headlining gig at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern. If the band has somehow not figured it out yet, it’s about time they do – Toronto loves Topanga!

There are big things to come for the band come Fall – after some dates with Hollerado, they’ll be joining The Pack A.D. on tour – check their Facebook for all the details. Until then you can always watch them throw food at each other, it never gets old!

Topanga @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Topanga @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Topanga @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Topanga @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Topanga @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Topanga @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Topanga @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12


Sandman Viper Command

Toronto-via-Burlington’s Sandman Viper Command and their slacker-rock sound were the perfect respite between the two poppier acts of the night. They got into their set with some newer songs, including “The Future” and “Clean Inside.”

Another new song, listed as “Quarterhorse,” had guitarist Dan Reardon on the synth. The surprising addition of this new instrument was intriguing, though it was just used sporadically throughout their set on some of the new songs. It definitely piqued my interest to see how much it will be used in the future and the impact it may have on the band’s overall sound.

While it was still the older favourites like “Strawberry Quick” and “Yo Bobcat” that got the crowd most riled up, their set included plenty of new material that has the potential to become new favourites once we’ve had more time with it. They ended things off with current single and dog-days-of-summer anthem “Feel Is Good.” You can pick this one up (along with B-side “Clean Inside”) on cassette tape!

Sandman Viper Command @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Sandman Viper Command @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Sandman Viper Command @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Sandman Viper Command @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Sandman Viper Command @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Sandman Viper Command @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Sandman Viper Command @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12


Dangerband

The night began with Toronto’s Dangerband (no, not Dangerbird, as they were listed on the Horseshoe website). Their set time was delayed to accommodate the reduction in the show line-up, working in their favour as it meant a larger crowd – including quite the contingent of their friends – had amassed by the time they took the stage.

While we’ve been following Dangerband for awhile now, it was my first time seeing them live. The band members are still young but their sound is fresh. Adding a healthy dose of pop to their rock sound, they were catchy as all heck. Despite never hearing the songs before, I quickly found myself belting out lyrics like “I don’t wanna do anything“ (from their lazy summer anthem “I Don’t Wanna”) and “I hate your stupid boyfriend,” right along with everyone else.

They even covered Blur’s “Song 2” for their last song, garnering boisterous sing-alongs and demands for “one more song” – not something that happens every day for the first opening band! If Dangerband isn’t yet on your radar, they should be!

Dangerband @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Dangerband @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Dangerband @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Dangerband @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12 Dangerband @ Horseshoe, 25-08-12

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Categories: Live Music

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