KEN Mode @ The Grand Gerrard, Toronto, September 8, 2019
Sunday’s are best known as that one day of the week when you can just stay home, relax and not have to think about anything. However, this past Sunday Canadian hardcore legends KEN Mode were in Toronto and like me, many fans knew this is not a band to miss, especially since they were celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band.
The show was opened by IRN, Pale Mare, and Hammerhands who all played exceptional sets and kept the crowd energized.
When you’ve been around as long as KEN Mode have, it’s not by accident or because they got lucky — it’s because they put in the work and deliver insanely mesmerizing and aggressive shows night in and night out. Everyone at The Grand Gerrard knew what they were getting into on Sunday night and that’s exactly why they went. There aren’t many bands that can be this consistent for this long, but they’ve managed to do it and they don’t look like they’ll be slowing down anytime soon.
They took to the stage and did what they do best. Frontman Jesse Matthewson was as mad as always, staring at everyone in the crowd wide-eyed with disgust like he wanted to kill everyone there. He has a way of making you feel like you’re listening to something that you shouldn’t be allowed to hear. He has a vicious style and from the second they start playing you just can’t take your eyes off him.
Skot Hamilton (Bass) acts like a wild animal that’s just been released after being held in captivity for the past ten years. He whips his bass around like its nothing and throws bodily fluids from his face uncontrollably while he does it. Together he and Jesse complement each other perfectly and keep the stage in constant chaos during the entire set.
Behind the drum set is the other Matthewson brother Shane who’s all business. He played the drums flawlessly and the chemistry that the Matthewson brothers share is something that you just can’t learn.
About halfway through their set, they played their album ender from Success, “Dead Actors” — a song that to my knowledge they haven’t played live before and it made the show feel special. After playing a few of their classics like “Blessed” they went into “No Gentle Art” and closed the show with quite a statement.
After all this time they can still get on stage and for half an hour or however long they play you can forget about all the bullshit going on in your life and just appreciate good music and that’s what it’s all about. And as a fan, you couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s been a good 20 years and surely there’s many more to come.