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Ill Scarlett and Hostage Life

19-Dec-2006 02:11 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Ill Scarlett and Hostage Life
December 15, 2006
The Mod Club in Toronto, Ontario
Photos by: Pete Nema

Full photo set: Hostage Life (7 photos)
Full photo set: Ill Scarlett (18 photos)
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As part of The Edge Electric Xmas Concert Series, The Mod Club was host to three bands that were well suited to play the same night: The Flatliners, Hostage Life, and Ill Scarlett. It was an all ages show and my guess was that about half of the crowd was underage. There were two areas reserved for alcohol consumption, with the main area open to all ages, but with Ill Scarlett headlining, it may be no surprise to learn that no matter which area you were in, there was the permeating smell of one illicit substance eminating from the crowd.

The Flatliners came on at 8:30 PM, and I only managed to catch a few songs from their set. It sounded like reasonably descent punk with with reggae undertones. They were a prime opening band because their style lead perfectly into both Hostage Life and Ill Scarlett.

9:15 PM - Hostage Life

Hostage Life has a good thing going. On stage they've got true punk energy and sound, but have managed to record a few songs that are a little more widely accessible yet still manage express that attitude. It's a deadly combination, and because of it they now have a 2nd song in rotation on the Toronto-based alternative radio station 102.1 The Edge. I'm not sure how much, if any, airplay they're receiving around the rest of this continent, but if you haven't heard this band yet, go listen to This Song Was Written By Committee on the Hostage Life MySpace page (shown as just Committee there - it's the one with more than 20,000 plays).

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This is the second time I've featured Hostage Life on this site. The first time was as part of The CASBY Music Awards, but don't be surprised if I give them a little more web space and publish a review of their latest album Walking Papers as well - I'm liking this band.

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10:30 PM - Ill Scarlett

Just in case the set times were in question, they were printed on a sheet of paper and taped to the shirt of one lucky fan who had been pulled aside and given standing room at the side of the stage (he identified himself to me as Juttin). Ill Scarlett was on stage ahead one or two minutes of their 10:30 PM scheduled start time, and as soon as the first note was played the crowd started to scream and reach their arms in the air toward the band.

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This is a band that likes to include their fans. Every now and then, one of the band members would lean out into the audience and let the fans touch and grab at them. And throughout the show, a few people at a time would come up the stairs backstage to take photos and watch the band from there for a song or two. I'm not sure how this was organized - winners of a contest maybe? About half way in, Juttin, the guy with the set list taped to his shirt, came right out to centre stage to bust a groove with the band. It was a huge moment for him and his friends, and was met with approval from the whole audience.

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Although their music is strongly influenced by reggae, their sound is distinctly heavier. It's a mix that attracts fans that like to party hard, a fact backed up by numerous examples, none of which I will mention here explicitly.

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They played for just over an hour with encore included. The final song was emphasized by Alex Norman (vocals) leaping high off the speaker stack and rolling into the monitor speakers at the front of the stage to break his fall. I've seen it before, but who cares, it's a great move and stunts like that can really make a concert for the fans.

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