MARCH 7th 2016

Review by Lana Muirhead
Photos by Peter Ruttan

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I finally got to experience my first show at the infamous Imperial on March 8 when Silverstein rolled through town with Being As An Ocean, Emarosa. I showed up fairly ignorant not knowing much about any of the bands set to play, but overall willing to listen and hopefully make some new additions to the music library.  Sadly I was not entirely fulfilled by the end of the night.

I was able to catch Emarosa in their set, which found me reminiscing back to my 1990s self: a self way more into alternative rock than metal per se. Bradley Walden (vocals), ER White (guitar), Marcellus Wallace (guitar), Jordan Stewart (keys), and Branden Morgan (drums) all made notable efforts in their performance but nothing really stood out to me. Everything gelled, everyone played their part, energy was high and they got a good response from the crowd.  For them I’m sure it was a pretty good show. I was more impressed with Walden when he was screaming than when he was trying to sing and would hope for more of that if there is a new album in their future…just a thought.

Next on was Being As An Ocean. Their attempt at being a melodic metalcore-type band was hitting just below the mark.  I cannot be sure that there wasn’t a technical issue, but I can say that the screaming done by Joel Quartuccio was lacking.  When he blended with his clean partner and rhythm guitarist Michael McGough, things definitely sounded better and I had hope for the set and overall performance.  Unfortunately, guitarist Tyler Ross, bassist Ralph Sica and drummer Jesse Shelley along with Quaruccio and McGough couldn’t pull a win for me out of their musical menagerie. That’s not to say they didn’t give 110% what with moshing in the crowd and still belting out the tunes, but whatever it is they’re going for they just could not hit it.  Again some advice: don’t be peddling your social agenda at a Tuesday night small venue show.  You’re not Bono and I really don’t care.

Finally Silverstein got up on stage. I knew right away that they would bring something I’d like given they named themselves after poet Shel Silverstein (a personal favourite) and they did well. Again, I had no idea what I was walking into and what I got was a mix of Protest the Hero with Blink 182.  Formed in 2000, the band likely got going with the melodic metalcore scene right at it’s inception, making them a part of the foundation for bands that are now household names. Given their extensive catalogue, Silverstein hit on all their high points while still mixing in some tunes from their newest album.  They got “Massachusetts”, “Your Sword Versus My Dagger”, “I Am the Arsonist”, “Sacrifice” and “Smashed Into Pieces” out along with newbies “Toronto” and “Face of the Earth”. I have to wonder about song selection and organization for this set and would not suggest that putting an acoustic number like “Toronto” in your encore is ever a good plan. Much of the crowd started clearing out on this one and yet Silverstein still had a couple more driving tunes to kill off the night (which then ended up being missed). Regardless, everyone present was jumping, singing, and moshing to the beats and the band rolled with it like only experienced artists do: by feeding off it.

Silverstein were fun live, humble, and clearly genuinely enjoyed being up on stage. Not my usual cup of musical tea, but it was a fun getaway from the metal gears that routinely grind up my mind. I’ve now been there and done that, so I really don’t feel the need to see Silverstein again. If you’re a fan of mid-2000s punk/pop-alternative with a spread of metalcore, you’d probably like this gig. Had they thrown on some spandex and lined their eyes they could have been at the forefront of the glam metalcore movement: instead they opt for the good ole Canadian look of flannel and button-downs. To each their own.