Friday, 12 September 2014

Hollerado and Born Ruffians @ Pepsi Pop Up, Toronto, 04/09/2014

A whole lot of energy had to be stuffed into the “world’s largest Pepsi bottle” on Thursday night rather than a bottle and had a maximum capacity of 120 sweaty people. Despite its small size, the odd venue held its own when it came to containing all of the energy brought forth by two Ontario-born bands. My only complaint? I was very disappointed when I found out that there was no AC to cool fans down on this horribly hot day. A member of the Born Ruffians certainly felt the heat, asking the crowd in the middle of their set, “It’s fuckin hot in here, isn’t it?”. Instead of an AC, free Pepsi was provided (I would have preferred Coca-Cola to be honest).

The first band to take to the tiny stage were Manotick-natives Hollerado, a quartet notorious for a high-energy, confetti-filled set. This was my seventh time seeing the band perform, and they never fail to disappoint. Opening their set with one of their more popular singles, “Pick Me Up”, the whole audience, even those who were unfamiliar with Hollerado's music, became immediately immersed in their set. It is near impossible to not dance to any of Hollerado's songs, which quickly became problematic as the already hot room became even more unbearably sweltering. The uncomfortable heat aside, Hollerado kept the audience entertained, playing hits off of both their debut record and their equally-as-successful sophomore album. Surprisingly enough, the boys omitted the heart-felt single, entitled "So It Goes", from their short yet sweet set. My only complaint? I wish they had played for longer. The ending of their set seemed somewhat rushed, seeing as they left the stage quite quickly, after the last chord of "Americanarama" was played, throwing a humoured "we have no more songs to play!" over their shoulders. However, with all of the energy Hollerado brought to the Pepsi Pop Up, I'm surprised that the venue was still standing by the end of their set.
Soon after Hollerado left the stage, I was lucky enough to find them outside the venue, where I had the opportunity to ask a few of the members a couple questions. Here's what went down (the boys seemed quite relieved that I was not asking them about the new album):
Me: How many times are you mistaken for-
Dean (the bassist): Nicholas Cage?

Me: Yep. How many times on a daily basis?

Dean: On a daily basis? Maybe up to 10. It depends on where I am. If I’m maybe in a place or a country where white people are not the main people, it’s like 50 times a day. Which is, I don’t know. It’s just how it is.
Me: Do they ever INSIST that you are Nicholas Cage?

Dean: No sometimes I insist that I am Nicholas Cage.

Me: Have you ever autographed something pretending to be Nicholas Cage?
Dean: Oh yeah. Hundreds of times. *laughs*
Me: How is being in a band, or actually, two bands, with your brother? Does that make you closer or is there a bit more tension there?
Nixon (the lead guitarist): I think it makes us closer because we have to sort out things that are not family-related, and when you do that, you learn how to get along in ways that you never knew you could!

Me: So is it fun being on a bus with him 24/7?
Nixon: Yeah exactly. It’s fun. I actually like it a lot!

 I also had the pleasure of talking to lead singer Menno about his love of horses. He says the band loves all animals, but they love eating them too. I also got to talk to the drummer of the band, Jake, about the economics of being in a band.
Afterwards, I was able to go back into the venue in order to watch the Born Ruffians take to the stage. I am not all that familiar with the Midland group's music, nor have I ever seen them  play before, so unfortunately I was not all that invested in the performance. Personally, I was only there to see Hollerado's banging performance. But, for the most part, the Ruffians were pretty entertaining, even though I could not really pick up on what frontman Luke Lalonde was yelling about. However, the Born Ruffians, even though their style and music is not really for me, seemed to put on a great, sweaty show for their fans.
Leaving the venue, I was extremely happy to see that Hollerado had left their mark on the majority of the crowd, seeing as a lot of us were left singing the catchy chorus from "Americanarama". Hollerado will surely have a lot of us thinking "lord I miss you" as we wait anxiously for their new album to come out.

Personal Highlight: Hearing Hollerado play "Desire 126". That is one of my personal favourites so I was elated that I got to hear it live.