North by Northeast (NXNE) Music Festival
Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, Ontario – 22 June 2017
Review and Photos by DeadFly Media
I’m running out of adjectives to describe The Lazys. Calling their shows blistering, scorching, high energy is just not good enough anymore. Now for those of you concerned with Global Warming you need only put together a team of scientists and engineers who can wire up these 5 boys and channel the sheer raw energy of their show and you could power a city for a month!
I was lucky enough to catch their show at The Phoenix Concert Theatre here in Toronto back in 2014 when they opened for Rival Sons as part of the Canadian Music Week. I remember being with friends and us all looking at each other asking “Who are these guys?!”; puzzled, almost angry at ourselves that we, devoted rockers, weren’t already aware of this band. I have caught them at every gig possible since then and they simply get bigger and better with each performance. Check out the pictures from the The Sound of Music Festival in Burlington where they got to truly flex their rockstar muscles and worked confidently and comfortably magnifying their moves and sound to own every inch of the main stage; the largest space on which I have seen them play so far but which will surely be the norm in future.
Thursday night’s performance at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern was one of a special artist-curated showcase for the North by Northeast (NXNE) Music Festival which is the sister festival to South by Southwest (SXSW) held annually in Austin, Texas. Thursday’s program was put together by Ian D’Sa (guitarist from Billy Talent and producer of The Lazys upcoming album) with the guys headlining and supported by The Sweatshop Kids, The Anti-Queens and Crown Lands (watch this space for upcoming features on these bands!).
The cocky bravado of “Punk Come ‘N Get Me” set the tone for the night; fast and furious, confident and in charge. The set was comprised of a large number of balls out songs from their previous CD including “Howling Woman”, “Black Rebel” and “Really Ready” and also included what will undoubtedly be the first single off their new release, “Little Miss Crazy”.
The solid back line infrastructure of Andy Nielsen on drums, Glenn “Willy” Williams on bass and Liam Shearer on rhythm guitar provide the support that allows the animated and entertaining front men Leon Harrison on vocals and guitar virtuoso Matty Morris to propel this rocket forward. Leon, decked out in a Toronto Blue Jays Tee, and the audience mirror each other with growling, snarling, twisted face fervor. Matty prances and dances across the stage, widens and narrows his eyes, flashing his pearly whites, bending strings and his spine in pretzel-like fashion, whilst he masterfully plays both the guitar and the crowd. His one handed solo while drinking a beer is truly brilliant to watch!
The exuberant crowd up front was moshing from the start, chanting, fist pumping and singing along until Matty, parting them like Moses did the Red Sea, walked out and climbed onto a flight case in the middle of the venue for a controlled, majestic guitar solo during an extended version of “Love Your Gun”. (I found myself standing behind him and so got to see firsthand the smiling faces of an enthralled audience so I apologize now as I am probably in tons of photos and videos as a sea of cellphones appeared to record him!)
The amazing Ian D’Sa joined the boys on stage to close their main set with “Shake it Like You Mean It” which he co-wrote with them. It’s a nice moment as the affection and respect is palpable amongst these men, with each of them smiling like Cheshire cats to share the stage together.
The crowd beckoned them back for “Wild Heart Races” where counting along is irresistible and lastly “Feel Good” a new track and an apt choice as we did indeed feel great, which you would not really expect after a 90-minute midnight show on a Thursday. With Friday morning looming and a last call extended until 4 a.m. for the festival, a couple of cold frothy ones was exactly what we needed to bring our energies back down to ground level and perfectly end the night.
The Lazys have worked really hard with Ian on their new, as yet unnamed, album and this was, in a way, a party to celebrate its completion. (We got to hear it at a listening party and it’s awesome – another album review lies in our future) This is a band who are great to listen to loud and even better to experience live where their shows are a mix of primal scream therapy, hard and fast rock, and lighthearted fun. Their “Summer Ontario Fun Tour” wrapped up Saturday in Waterloo. We can’t wait till the album is released and they hit the road again! They are arena worthy in scope and sound and as approachable as a friendly neighbor. Keep your eyes and ears peeled.