by Nash Bussieres
I have loved Tigers Jaw for years, always finding comfort in its presence. An all-encompassing feeling that everything will work out inevitably ensues from every listen. They always manage to lift my spirits regardless of their condition beforehand.
… maybe I’m in love with Tigers Jaw.
But that’s something only a therapist can answer for me, so let’s talk about the band itself.
I saw TJ along with Young Statues, Junior Battles, Turnover and PJ Bond a few days ago at Toronto’s Hard Luck, where I refused a challenge from Tiana at the Tetris arcade machine that lives there; I had no intention of being publicly humiliated that night.
That night was a night for me to be the old punk hessian at an all-ages show. It’s the first time I’ve gone to a show and felt drastically older than the median age of the crowd I was at the front of. I was really surprised that that many younger kids knew who Tigers Jaw was, and I’m actually very happy and excited about that.
What I’m even more excited by is the fact that so many people knew the words to PJ Bond’s songs. PJ is an Americana/Folk/singer-songwriter type that I was absolutely blown away by. I didn’t even know he existed the day before, and now I want to be him when I grow up. Phenomenally cathartic (for both he and the audience) lyrics and energetic-but-down-tempo guitar work make for a sound that stands out against (but contrasts beautifully with) the music of the other bands on tour with him. He seemed very excited and grateful to be a part of the night and his endearing charm is only accented by a striking similarity to Patrick Fugit (the guy from Almost Famous that everyone loves, I think he was in “We Bought a Zoo” too, but no one saw that movie). Needless to say, I am a fan.
Young Statues played next, followed by Turnover. They played sets that were devoured by their rabid fans. Their style of aggressive yet happy pop-punk/alternative/whathaveyou is undeniably popular right now, and this is who I assumed the aforementioned crowd was here for (I wasn’t wrong). I was excited to see the kids get stoked on every act though. These bands aren’t exactly my cup of tea, but they seemed like really cool dudes and their musicianship was unarguably tight.
Junior Battles also play a somewhat similar style of music, but they’ve been around a bit longer. They definitely had the best stage banter out of any of the groups that night. They kept making jokes that didn’t register with a good portion of the crowd (kids these days…). They’re hilarious guys and impressively cohesive despite not playing a live show for a few months. Their bassist kinda looks like Jason Lee; this made me smile.
I don’t even know what else to say about Tigers Jaw. I’ve already admitted to being a fanboy, so I can’t really do an objective review of them. Regardless, they played an emotionally exhausting set of songs spanning most of their musical career, including some new ones from their upcoming album. They’re always fantastic and make the crowd mosh as hard as any show I’ve ever been to. This is testament to how emotional and relatable their music is, rather than how aggressive it is (because it’s not, at all). Sometimes it’s energetic, but it takes a long of honesty and songwriting ability to get people to stage dive and just generally spazz out to something as slow as “Crystal Vision.”
The bookends of this show are easily two of the best musical performances I’ve been witness to. Just absolutely stellar. Protecting Tiana (and her glorious camera) long enough to take pics left me pretty beaten and bruised, and my knees were rammed into the edge of the stage enough times to ensure permanent damage, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.