Lunatic's Serenade

Facebook Twitter Google

Mushroomhead and Unsaid Fate
play The Rockpile Club
Toronto, Canada August 20, 2015

Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel. Because beyond the final subway stop, outside the neighborhoods that Torontonians know to be Toronto and hidden away from the street, almost begging its patrons to miss it completely, is a bona-fide roadhouse bar known as The Rockpile West. Its right next to a highway and it serves food, suds and features live music.

There is a dingy quality to the dive-looking club, reminiscent of Toronto’s legendary Queen West establishments; Bovine Sex Club, The Horseshoe Tavern and of course the Fallen, Kathedral, Reverb and Holy Joe’s. What used to have the debauchery fueled smell of rock & roll in the air has, of course been gentrified by hipsters, vegans and baristas.

But that debauchery fueled smell of leather, smoke and beer now lives in Etobicoke, where The Rock Pile is keeping the spirit alive. And on August 20th 2015, those willing to travel to this location learned once again why “Cleveland Rocks” as MUSHROOMHEAD and UNSAID FATE crossed the border for a last minute Canadian date on their latest tour.

Opening the show was local Toronto band, THE DEAD SEXY, who did a fine job entertaining the audience with their “melting pot of metal sub genre” sound and energy.

Meanwhile Unsaid Fate was getting ready to take the stage for their first Canadian show ever. Well, most of them. The band’s bass player was unable to cross the border from the USA, and while the band could have said “fuck it” and skip a show, they still came out to make the best of a bad situation. And thankfully, for the technology we have this day and age with pro tools, the band spent the day separating the bass tracks in order to play it with a click track.

Did it work? Who knows? Because once Unsaid Fate hit the stage, the presence of their lead singer Jackie LaPonza commanded all the attention. Her energy, her voice and her personality put the crowd under a spell like The Sirens of Homer’s Odyssey. She wasn’t a character on stage and she wasn’t larger-than-life, she was simply, the girl next door with down to Earth charisma and just enough edge to be a little dangerous. The set showed her wide vocal range with songs from their EP, “Never Turning Back,” including spunky hard rock tracks “Our Addiction” and “Always.”

“Jackie LaPonza joined Mushroomhead on stage for two songs...”

Unsaid Fate, however, is not just a solo artist. The hat goes off to drummer Mike LaPonza and guitarist Don DeBiase, who while sans bass player, still kept a tight sound on stage. There were hints of a heavier style wanting to break out from time to time, in both instrumentation and personality and one can hope that future albums take them in said heavier direction. But for now their rock was fun and energetic and I can only imagine what the full live show is like when the band is whole and the bass is live, keeping the rhythmic foundation tight. To end the set, Unsaid Fate was joined by MRH’s Tommy Church on bass for a rockin’ cover of “killing In the Name.” It was a great introduction for Canadian audiences, but hopefully we will get the full experience next time.

Then, the light from the engaging Jackie LaPonza left the stage and an eerie darkness replaced it. One at a time, the nine masked members of Mushroomhead crept out on stage to the chants of an eager audience. They immediately went into “Qwerty” and “Our Apologies” from 2014’s “The Righteous & The Butterfly.” The three-singer attack of Jeffery Nothing, J Mann and Waylon worked well as they took turns involving the audience through fist pumping, moshing and cheering. While the sound was a little muddy at times, the band, being professionals, worked through it with ease and their ‘in your face’ stage show overshadowed any issues.

Jackie LaPonza joined Mushroomhead on stage for two songs “We Are The Truth” and “Among The Crows” and Mushroomhead played crowd favorites “Sun Doesn’t Rise” and “Save Us.”

With water splashing off their trademark Floor Toms, making their horrific masks glisten in the stage light, Mushroomhead delivered the goods from start to finish and the audience ate up every moment of their set. My only complaint was it felt a little too short. And this isn’t a mega fan just not wanting the show to end, this is Mushroomhead complete with a 20 year / 8 album career and they have three singers sharing vocal duties. They could have added more songs from other albums and still left the audience begging for more.

But from start to finish, the songs they did play went over incredibly well with the audience, giving them one helluva night. And at the end of the day, that is all you can ask for in a live rock show. Mushroomhead always delivers and you ever get the chance to see them live, don’t miss it.

Ryan M. Andrews, HMS

Back to Lunatic's Serenade Menu