CMW 2018: The Beaches Review14 May 2018 / by Graeme Thomson (author)
In a sea of charm, a pool of sweat and a chorus of cheers, The Beaches put on an incredible performance at The Opera House on Friday night. The concert marked the end of the Late Show Tour for Eliza Enman-McDaniel, Leandra Earl, Jordan and Kylie Miller, but it also marked the return home. After a month of touring across Canada, the band was welcomed home in an embracing cheer that was borderline ear piercing.
The Beaches fed off of the crowd and didn’t disappoint one bit. They put on a performance that was mature beyond their 20+ years of age, yet it’s what should be expected of a band that's already won a JUNO Award. They hit everyone hard with the head-banging rhythm section and kept them moving with their melodic riffs.
They played on of their singles, “T-Shirt” early, and it quickly engaged the crowd, so much so, that everyone belted out their favourite line, “itty bitty titty committee”. (I think one of those words may have played a part in everyone’s enthusiasm). The Beaches kept the crowd excited the whole night. They played a full set and then returned to the stage with two songs for an encore. The latter of those encores was a grungy and fuzzy cover of “Laid” by James that closed off a perfect night for The Beaches.
Before The Beaches took the stage, there were two opening acts, the first of which was Goodbye Honolulu. The band comes from Toronto, which may have played a part in how huge the crowd was. Opening bands don’t always play to full capacity, but the way Goodbye Honolulu was rocking, people kept streaming in. The band’s style really shined; they evoked a 90’s garage rock sound like Weezer and then mixed in their guitar-centric riffs that were Foo Fighters-esque. The screaming vocals say punk, but the hooks say pop, either way, the sound is solely their own.
Coming on after Goodbye Honolulu was Taylor Knox. The energy level dropped a little bit with his laid-back sound, but the music quality did not. Knox and his band had been touring with The Beaches on their Late Show Tour, and the experience showed. Their timing was perfect and Knox’s vocals were great. The vocals sounded similar to Ra Ra Riot, but the bass lines gave the band a much heavier sound. Knox has been around for years now, working with artists like Owen Pallett and Alvvays, and he brought that polish on Friday.
The entire night was entertaining, but one of the best moments came not from any band, but from the music between sets. Before The Beaches took the stage, the Opera House played Avril Lavigne’s, “Complicated”, and almost the entire crowd sang along. With the crowd predominantly female, it was hard not to think of the moment as a proverbial passing of the torch. Lavigne inspired a generation of female rockers in the early 2000’s, and The Beaches are setting off on their path to do the same.