Tearing down the Horseshoe – one Saturday night at a time

The Horseshoe Tavern hosted a rock show Saturday night, featuring The OBGMs, Brews Willis, Mad Ones, and the Effens. Here’s what went down.


The Effens make punk rock beautiful again

TheEffens-3The Toronto-based band opened the night, getting the crowd ready for the chaos that would erupt.

They were comfortable on stage, playing well with one another. Musically, you’d call them some variation of grunge/lo-fi/punk, though their websites claim some glam influences, which come through more in their newer songs.

Their old tracks were virtually an indiscernible wall of sound, while their new music is more refined, cleaner – figuratively speaking, anyway. The new songs also made more use of a synth, adding a gritty industrial touch, as well as throatier, grungier vocals, and prettier melodies.

And, honourable mention to the youths who tried (a couple of times) to start a mosh pit – keep that spirit alive, kids!

The band released a couple of new songs last year – listen to them below, and download them for free on the group’s BandCamp.

For more on The Effens, visit theeffens.com.

Listen to The Effens: 


Mad Ones hit hard

MadOnes-3Mad Ones are who really drew me to this set. They were a strong performance when I saw them a year ago, and they were even stronger – even cleaner, and crisper and more refined – Saturday night.

The duo does what they do best – and that’s play great music. The throbbing crowd responded well to the insane throaty vocals, the screaming guitar and the wild drums. The drummer, hitting so hard, that he actually had to readjust his kit every couple of songs.

(Another honourable mention to the youths who successfully started a pit – for a second or two – during Mad Ones’ set. Keepin’ the spirit alive, kids!)

I really can’t say enough about how great Mad Ones are. Your best bet is to check them out at madones.ca, listen to their newest music below, and be at their CMW showcase in May.

Listen to Mad Ones: 


Brews Willis and the dirty ol’ punk rock

BrewsWillis-1I hadn’t heard much from Brews Willis before Saturday night – and what a mistake that was. It took a while for the band to step into their groove, but by the third or fourth song of their set, they had it – and even those moshing kids were back.

Their ripped apart vocal harmonies add a wonderfully gritty feel over catchy melodies. They add this amazing almost surf-rock sound, but ground it in the same dirty punk.

The Willises have some serious musical chops behind them and I kind of wish they would have showcased that more often, instead of sometimes hiding behind a wall of sound.

Either way, you should listen to Brews Willis (below) and find them online at brewswillis.com, where you can download their music for free.

Listen to Brews Willis:


The OBGMs make me feel young

TheOBGMs-7Full disclosure: I’m too old to be going to shows with mosh pits. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. But The OBGMs proved how horseshit that is, because at the Horseshoe, I felt young.

They brought the dirties, grittiest punk yet. But before they even strapped on guitars, they had the party started, dancing around to the house hip-hop music, exciting the crowd and chatting with fans. They handed out light-up rings and balloons and tambourines, and they had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands from there.

The quartet was as unpredictable as their music. They pair gloriously screaming vocals with loud and fast instrumentals. There was Jem sexing it up on keys, Joe the subtle comedic commentator on bass, Denz as the party maestro on guitar and lead vocals, with Cola keeping it all together on the fastest kit you’ve ever heard.

But the real win was their control of the crowd. Denz could’ve had the wild moshing crowd practicing yogic breathing exercises if he so chose.

And here’s what you should do: visit theobgms.com and listen to their album below.

Listen to The OBGMs:

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