The rain was pouring down like sticks on a snare drum Tuesday night, but that didn’t prevent Listen Up Kid, Ready the Prince, BRKN LOVE and headliners Royal Tusk from luring in a huge and enthusiastic crowd to Royal Tusk’s “Thunder on the Tundra” tour at The Mansion.
Kingston alt-rockers Listen Up Kid opened the night with shattering drums and ascending guitars and bass, occasionally accompanying soft lyrics blasted by an unexpected hard hook.
My favourite in their set was “Injuries” – a melancholy swaying jam with a lot of anger, joined by a bridge that evoked a deep sadness I enjoyed on a therapeutic level. Unfortunately it was a tight schedule, so we didn’t get to hear their final song: “Scream it” (FB clip) – a single off their upcoming album. But you may be able to catch it at their next gig at The Toucan on Saturday March 28th.
Next up, Toronto’s Ready the Prince opened with their virtuoso guitarist playing an almost classical guitar riff full of complexity and melody.
I especially enjoyed their song “Teena” (video), which had an enjoyable, almost West coast LA rock vibe with rapid staccato drums reminiscent of the famous “Amen break”. Its lyrics also brought to mind a 1990s ‘Office Space’ / ‘American Beauty’ disdain for the 9-to-5, which I appreciated.
BRKN LOVE, also from Toronto, was the next band up and they hit hard with a melodic assault. I enjoyed “Shot Down” (video) with its machismo hard 70s rock vibe and my favourite track was “Papercuts” (video) with its high notes and relentless tempo reminding me of British rockers ‘The Darkness‘ but with more serious vibe.
Their set was definitely head-bang worthy – only lacking massive pyrotechnics and a giant bat demon descending from the rafters! – including “Flies in the Honey” (video), the kind of dirty rock that goes perfectly with a double shot of Jack Daniels.
Headliners Royal Tusk then hit the stage, bringing the full might of their “Thunder on the Tundra” tour to Kingston with the absolutely slamming jam: “Freedom” (YT link)- an impactful score that set the tone for a series of energetic tracks.
“Curse the Weather” (video) had everyone in the crowd throwing their hands up and jumping to the beat. “Above Ground” was an almost gentle song, with its softer sections interlaced with slamming rebuttals. It’s damn catchy with, what sounded to me, a vaguely tropical Duran Duran hook leading into a raunchy chorus.
Their cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom” (video) was unexpected and even. Although they took on a mega-famous and beloved song, I can’t imagine even the most picky Nirvana fans taking issue. They respected the original while having a good time with it and adding their own flavor.
It was a killer show and I enthusiastically recommend any rock or alternative fan check out these bands’ music and definitely hit up their future performances!