SEPTEMBER 15th 2016

Review by Lana Muirhead
Photos by Peter Ruttan

Picture Gallery:

Ah…the fresh urine smell on my way to the Rickshaw felt like home after what has seemed like a lengthy hiatus from the metal venue.  I even found $10 on my in! This made me think the night was already serendipitous: and yes I looked around and held the money up questioningly, hoping someone would come forward to claim it.  And yes I thought about finding a homeless person and giving it to them.  But then I thought: how do I choose one of so many, and how do I defend myself when they all think I’m giving away paper money to the masses and start charging? So I figured it was safest for everyone if I kept it. And yes, it was already spent on beer before I heard a note from a band.

Due to the sad fact that I have bills to pay and therefore must work for a living I only made the headliner, Dope, this particular night.  If it really upsets you that there are no words here praising Saints of Death, search this webzine cause I’ve written about them before. As for the Schoenberg Automaton and Celestial Ruin – there’s always a next time.

So Dope: Illinois-formed nu metal band with hints of industrial and alternative influences (they are in fact very influenced by the likes of Ministry and Skinny Puppy). I hear some sort of red-headed stepchild of Nonpoint and Emphatic being beaten by Marilyn Manson when I listen to their tunes. And that is a compliment, boys.  They got their start in 1997 and are due to release their 6th album on October 28 called “Blood Money: Part I”; in which we will anxiously await.

Though it doesn’t seem that six years have passed since new music has sprung from the Dope loins, it’s only because their old shit is memorable and just makes you feel warm and fuzzy like no time has passed at all.  Edsel Dope (Lead Vocals, Guitar) Acey Slade (bass), Virus (lead guitar), and Racci Shay (drums) cracked open their set with “Violence”, and tirelessly hit all the high notes with “Debonaire”, “Everything Sucks”, “Bitch”, “Motivation”, “Addiction”, and “Die Mother Fucker Die”, to name a few. They pumped out some grungy covers of “Spin Me Around” (Dead or Alive), “Rebel Yell” (Billy Idol), and “Fuck Tha Police” (N.W.A.).  Though the crowd was relatively small, everyone was moving and moshing the whole time.

The crowd energy was more than paralleled on stage: Edsel, Acey and Virus were all jumping, playing and singing when they weren’t joking and laughing with the audience.  And if Racci could have been mobile with his kit, he would have been. Despite being locked to the stool, he made his part look easy with fancy stick handling and energetic headbanging. They were complimented by some wicked backdrops and side screens, which showed some lyric videos, as well as good ole scantily-clad women covered in some unknown substance gyrating to the beats.

Dope was happy to be on stage and that feeling was contagious. They were having fun teasing the crowd and even set up the most Canadian Rick Moranis-looking motherfucker in the room for a ‘wall of death’ on one of their tunes. They played new songs “Blood Money”, “1999” and “Shoulda Known Better” which were all well received yet never heard, since the only single released at the time was the title track.  That is not typically the case with newly played live music that no one knows.  Everyone will stand there and bob their head deciding if they like it or not.  Not tonight: Dope spoon-fed the room and they greedily ate it up and rallied for seconds.

Despite political commentary, cracks about the venue location (pun intended), and a big push to pick up the new album, we were treated to a concert and a comedy show and everyone there will be unpaid promoters from here on out cause no one left with an angry face or dry t-shirt. If you like harder beats, down-tuned guitars, and grungy, throaty vocals that you cannot help but slam to, Dope is for you (and no this message is not endorsed by the Government of Canada).

I for one cannot wait for another round with these dudes because they love what they do, they do it well, and they leave nothing behind. Big apologies to Sheila for literally buying the shirt off her back and leaving her exposed to the world. From what I hear she’s a bit of an exhibitionist so I don’t think I left her too upset. Can’t wait to marker in round two!!