“No one will be turned away. Bodies on top of bodies.” – Eating Glass’s Last Show
This decade has been asking for a lot of sacrifices from aggressive music in its latter years. No more is this plain than Toronto. The door is closing on acts that died young, asking for more to herald the painful virgin era that will end up defining another ten years worth of dry throats and bent spines. And after all that vindication and misery, kids will be discussing Eating Glass while I remember their gravestone. Make no mistake; this hyperbole is a eulogy, a filthy salivating one.
“Ten years from now, kids will look back on just this band”
From the patio to the interior of famed hardcore cave Siesta Nouveaux, dry distortion and cymbal crashes from within make the feet move faster through the door. The singled pillared room held the trophy shirts of previous furious sets, as those in the scene trustingly left their backpacks out of sight under benches. Many were already standing as sentinels, with PlanetxDanger sludging through some thick, doomy hardcore with a fill-in guitarist. The pitches shifted to some angular stop-start, laced with a straight edge agenda. Vocalist Bob demanded some raw energy by entering the pack and throwing fists, using the projected backdrop of Jesus Of Nazareth playing on a hung sheet. It was fitting for the monochromatic event. Standing amidst a breathing crowd, with subtitles “Crown Of Thorns” screened above furious drumming, the opening hour hammers home what this Toronto scene is. It is how the charcoal grit on the side of a TTC tank and oddly blank storefronts do not get coloured in with this music, they get inked. It’s not from a gutter, it’s from above.
Fortune Teller tore in with meaty riffs, keeping the air in the room suspended by tearing everything down with shattering breakdowns. Their animal instinct that enabled them to know when to open a chord and let it gather feedback or when to palm mute bricks into your temple sent me quickly to their merch set-up. The front-man commanded a sheer physical force, controlling the ebb and flow of a crowd who drastically began to lose their inhibitions. Creatures, an out of town act but clearly a welcome one, unloaded fretwork with a strong sinuous groove, channeling their latest epic I, Lucifer. Stephen, with arm in sling, was positioned in the middle of airborne kicks and violent elbows, boldly exposing his broken forearm amidst it all without flinching towards a hair breadth’s distance of force. Closing their set with thrashy soloing, the mass was generating enough heat to welcome Mother Of Mercy. The strength of this set lay in the interaction between the guitarists; complimenting on either side was a strong metallic backbone with dissonant thin string flourishes. Drumming was also expertly executed with a surge of blasts and d-beat. Possessed, or affected by the rank red titled banner, the man with the microphone swung himself around his band with every note affecting him further and further into contortions. When his eyes were gleaned, only was there an outrage that genuinely disturbed.
Setting up, a bottle was raised for band mates of over three years. It was something so innocuous among moving amplifiers and sound checks, and yet everyone in the room saw and felt it. Underneath the sarcastic exchange and spitting, the fly on the wall saw a genuine moment of closure. Jose emerged hooded from the patio, simply asked “everyone ready?” and launched into what may be the most terrifying and impactful intro to any live act I have attended. He began some preamble about this ‘final set’ business and quickly disregarded it after three words, electing instead to slash through the powerviolence and unholy hardcore that made their 7” an instant classic in the community. Every attendee exorcised their own conflicted realization that every closing song drew closer to the end by piling and baring teeth at every opportunity. The battered bass lines drew everything to a close like any other show would have. Leaving, the subconscious consensus was that this was easily the most charged and extreme show the city had seen in years. Stuck In The City pulled out all the stops in hosting this swan grind, not denying a single being from joining the projected 176 in the room. The band let the songs escape, cause injury, and dissipate as clean slates boarded their tanks and fucking walked it off. The day was over, wake up tomorrow with charcoal.