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The Viletones raise punk from the dead at the Phoenix

Posted by Lori Steuart / December 16, 2013

ViletonesThere's a punk revival happening in Toronto, and the local bands who started it all took to the stage on Friday night for a reunion of old dogs and new tricks at The Phoenix. While they had competition from equally underground and hardcore bands like Ell V Gore at the Long Winter indie music fest that night, oldschool punks The Viletones and The Liquor Pigs still drew a sizable crowd for this "Last Stand of the First Gang" gig signalling frontman Steven "Nazi Dog" Leckie's final hurrah.

ViletonesThe Viletones have been a longstanding powerhouse of a band in Toronto since the late 70s, and with the discovery and proliferation of old, niche music on YouTube, they've remained a well-known name among young punk fans and old(er) original fans alike. The crowd reflected that split, and for the younger 20 year olds, it probably felt a bit like hanging out with your parents' cooler friends. All fans had thick leather jackets, crazy moshing skills, and great beer-can aim whenever throwing bottles at the stage.

Liquor PigsIn typical punk style, the show started late, and with only two bands headlining the bill (and a notable lack of other advertised and vaunted bands), the crowd had ample time to stock up on beer cans to throw at them. The Liquor Pigs, led by Max McKabe's villainesque looks and mad showmanship, got the show off on the right foot. The bass lines were pumping, the guitars screaming, and McCabe definitely held up his end of the "liquor pigs" bargain, vaulting through another beer almost every ten minutes. If no one was throwing cans yet, you wouldn't have known by the number of them already on the stage.

Liquor PigsAfter a series of songs with titles such as "Bitch with a Broom" and "Someone's Going to Fucking Die," The Pigs' wild set ended with McKabe in a pig mask cranking an oldschool air raid siren.

ViletonesAlmost an hour later, the crowd was more than ready to embrace the Viletones' last stand, and guitarist Ian Blurton wanted to know just one thing: "Why has not one beer bottle landed on this fucking stage so far - that's what I'd like to know." The audience obliged, and as one went flying through the air, the beer pouring out of it hit Blurton directly in the face: "You can throw as many beer cans as you want - we are the fucking Viletones."

ViletonesOverall, the sound for the night was great - the masterful guitarists hit all the right notes, and, if you've ever been to the Phoenix, there's nothing like scrappy punk music played with the exactness and vigor of truly disdainful musicians to get the juices flowing. The Viletones punched through the rather short set, highlighting "Possibilities" and barreling through the end with their all-time fan favourite, "Screaming Fist."

Done by half-past midnight, the show pleased most die-hard fans that showed up and made an admirable stand for Leckie's last big concert - though, I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of Toronto's Nazi Dog.


LIQUOR PIGSLiquor PigsLiquor PigsLiquor PigsLiquor Pigs


Photos by Hannah Jor



George / December 16, 2013 at 10:24 am
Jesus... ha ah what a horribly out of touch article. Can we fit it any more cliche's and caricature's into this.
CaligulaJones / December 16, 2013 at 10:41 am
Can you fit any more inappropriate possessive apostrophes into a two sentence post?
George / December 16, 2013 at 11:08 am
Probably could... good thing I ain't write no articles for a livin'.. havin' to worry bout grammar, punctuation rule's and actually try to have some semblance of understanding of what I am writin' about. Ain't nobody got time for dat (oh shit, was that a cliche I just used... damn bloggin' is hard)
AlternativetoMainstream / December 16, 2013 at 01:16 pm
Lori, thank-you for the article. I know how hard you worked to get there to see the show and it is greatly appreciated. I am left to wonder what the visuals were like by Jubal Brown and Emad Dabiri, but otherwise, I think you wrote what you could. Great review of The Liquor Pigs! I also love the last part of your last line of the article. Great pics and thank-you for including the video of "Screaming Fist" (a better one has yet to surface).
To the haters, all I can see is we have seen Tony Malone of Drastic Measures re-surface and also The Mods, just within the last couple of months, so I don't find this article cliché at all.
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from George / December 16, 2013 at 02:48 pm
You should probably go back to being unintentionally stupid.
Paul / December 16, 2013 at 04:39 pm
What a great night!
The Viletones were fantastic but the real thunder came from The Liquor Pigs! Those guys owned the stage. I can't wait to see them play their own show at the El Mocambo on New Year's Eve! THAT is going to be one crazy show to remember.
James / December 17, 2013 at 03:03 am
Sorry, I am sure there were good intentions here, but this review is as stated above "out of touch". The Viletones (and Steven in particular) deserve a better and more researched write up. You might want to stick with bands like the Hidden Cameras. This just sounds like a distracted overview from the yelp generation. Maybe i am just feeling the generation gap.
Kenn Bannerman replying to a comment from CaligulaJones / December 17, 2013 at 02:21 pm
Thank you.

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