Truth be told, I was gonna hold off on this list for a couple more weeks, but since my year in review was posted the other day, I figured I’d might as well chime in with my top 10 concerts, too. In fact, let me start off with a snippet from said post:
On the concert front, the precipitous decline of the Canadian dollar prevented me from taking as many trips stateside, and I only saw two concerts south of the border this year. Contrast that with last year’s concert list, where five of my top 10 were outta-town shows… as long as you count Hamilton as being outta town. (I’m pretty sure some of our Hellbound staffers will readily admit that they ain’t Torontonians.) But there were some really high-quality gigs in the Big Smoke this year, with the long-awaited returns of Neurosis, Electric Wizard and AC/DC, Ufomammut’s first-ever appearance, and a couple outstanding lineups curated by High on Fire and Corrosion of Conformity. Turns out I didn’t hafta travel too far to get my heavy-rock fix.
YON GRUESOME TENSOME
- AC/DC @ Downsview Park, September 10: I definitely won’t deny that I’m an AC/DC fan; they’re the band that got me into all this heavy stuff in the first place (which is better than being weened on KISS, I reckon). I’d seen ‘em live a couple times before, but with the general-admission, standing-room-only setup at this North Toronto concert park, twas the first time I could catch ‘em from the front row!
- Neurosis/Brothers of the Sonic Cloth/The Body @ Opera House, August 8: Bringing Billy Anderson on the road to do live sound really makes a difference; this was the best-sounding gig I’ve ever seen at the Opera House. And even without a new album or a visual backdrop (long-time collaborator Josh Graham now works with Soundgarden), Neurosis still put on nearly the best performance of 2015.
- Melvins @ Danforth Music Hall, June 22: This was my fourth time seeing the Melvins in the past five years, but this time, they really benefited from a change in venue. The crisp, clear sound of the Danforth Music Hall was a significant improvement over their previous Opera House gigs, and the band delivered a solid set, to boot. Bonus points for the Dave Grohl diss posters!
- Electric Wizard/Blood Ceremony/Satan’s Satyrs @ Lee’s Palace, April 5: The Wiz definitely could’ve benefitted from a bigger venue for their first Toronto appearance in 14 years (I wasn’t around for the last one). This show sold out in minutes, and while I wasn’t one of the ones who paid 100 bucks for tickets, I did end up spending twice the face value to get in. But the biggest mistake belonged to the band—halfway through their North American tour, and they were virtually out of merch, aside from a few posters. Somebody at their label should be getting fired over this—oh wait, nevermind…
- Pentagram/Electric Citizen/Satan’s Satyrs @ Grog Shop, Cleveland, October 11: These days, when Bobby Liebling belts out “These are gonna be my last days here,” you’d best believe him. Denied from playing Canadian dates in Toronto and Montreal earlier this year due to his prior sins, the man now looks like a shell of his former self, even compared to five years ago. But his band still brings it on stage, and as for Electric Citizen, I’d consider them one of those few female-fronted occult/doom bands that don’t suck.
- Corrosion of Conformity/Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band/Saviours/Mothership @ Opera House, December 2: This was one of the best stoner/sludge touring packages of the year, with COC marking the triumphant return of Pepper Keenan atop a lineup of epic proportions. It helped that I was able to strategically avoid all the crowdsurfers, too!
- YOB/Sons of OTIS @ Mod Club, November 1: YOB’s first headlining gig here in several years (they last played at a dance club called the Courthouse in 2011) was well worth the wait, with added support from Canada’s longest running doom band.
- High on Fire/Pallbearer/Lucifer @ Opera House, August 13: This bill would’ve been even better if Venomous Maximus could cross the border—to say nothing of Pallbearer’s bassist, who also got denied. But it was still a solid quadruple bill, rounded out by locals Olde, who breathe a bit of new life into Toronto’s stagnant stoner scene.
- Ufomammut/Sons of OTIS/Usnea @ Mod Club, May 16: Going into 2015, one of the gigs I was most looking forward to was Ufomammut’s first North American tour, and I was super-stoked when I found out I didn’t even need to cross the border for this one. OTIS makes its second appearance on this list, as there’s really no other local band that could share the stage with the likes of YOB and Ufomammut.
- Doom Over Toronto @ The Cavern, August 29: Although I only caught the tail end of this all-day doomfest, the homestretch alone—D.C. underground heroes Iron Man, NYC heavy trio Blackout, and locals Hawkeyes and Ol’ Time Moonshine—was well worth the price of admission. Not to mention that I won some free beers and a trucker hat in a raffle, so there’s that.
Karma to Burn @ Hard Luck Bar, Jan 10
Apostle of Solitude/Orodruin @ Flour City Station, Rochester, NY, May 1
Graveyard @ The Garrison, May 22
Crowbar @ Mod Club, June 23
Windhand @ The Garrison, July 31
Chron Goblin/Gypsy Chief Goliath/The Horned/Ol’ Time Moonshine @ Duffy’s, November 6
2015 IN CONCERT PHOTOS:
(Click for larger versions.)