Rebel Emergency hosts "Rock Your Stockings" Christmas Bash at Sound Academy (Photos and Review)
|03-Jan-2010 07:00 pm||Contributed by: pete||Concert Reviews|
Sound Academy in Toronto, Ontario on December 23, 2009
Full Photo Set (20 photos)
I've run into Geoff Star (guitar) and Roddy Soul (vocals) from Rebel Emergency more times off stage than on, but even so, I have seen them perform once at an Artist Sanctuary event and once when they opened for illScarlett. I like a few of their songs from their self-titled EP released in 2008, but more recently they released their debut full-length album Love Ain't Free. I hadn't heard any of the new material until a few days before their Rock Your Stockings Christmas Bash at the Sound Academy.
Rebel EmergencyRebel Emergency was my last scheduled show of 2009 and I'm happy I made my way over to the Sound Academy because seeing them headline their own show was quite a bit different than seeing them open for illScarlett or perform a casual couple of songs in a hotel suite. I was expecting a good performance and to enjoy the few songs of theirs I know, but what I got instead was truly awesome. A great show with more good songs than the ones I already knew, heaps of personality, and hilarious stunts.
With all their fans present, it wasn't long before it started to get a little rough up at the stage. Well, "rough" isn't exactly the right word because all the jostling and crowd surfing was from happy and extremely friendly fans. When one crowd surfers lost his support and toppled head first to the ground, the people around made a "Oooo" sound in unison, concerned about whether he was okay. But when he popped up from between the crowd to indicate he was fine, there was cheering. It just seemed like everyone who was there was in it together.
There are a number of things that make a concert, and the music is just one aspect. I like the ska-rock they play, but even more so it was the way the band worked the night that made it so great. From the very start of the set, Roddy interacted with the audience regularly, sometimes singing parts along with fans, or holding the microphone out so people could sing along. It wasn't just once, he did it when it felt appropriate, constantly taking queues from whatever was happening in the crowd. The net effect was that he was able to raise excitement levels and increase the volume of the fans singing along.
That was a big part, but when you add in all the little stunts they did, the sum equaled: awesome. Fairly early in the set, Sir Jeremy (drums) put on a pair of Hulk fists and smashed the drums and cymbals with them, after which he threw them into the crowd. Every time I looked out into the crowd and saw one or both of those Hulk fists raised in the air, it made me laugh. Later, Geoff climbed up onto the small statue of an elephant they had on stage and played a solo before climbing onto Roddy's shoulders for the song finale. But the big event is watching Roddy head out onto the crowd on his surf board. A couple of times during the night he asked the crowd "How are the waves out there tonight?" and I wasn't exactly sure what he meant. But near the end of the set when he grabbed his surf board and raised it above his head, I knew what he was about to do and finally understood why he was asking about the waves. He launched out onto the crowd in good surfing form, starting on his stomach and then popping up to his feet just like I've seen surfers do on the shores of Australia. Great night.
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