The Wild! with openers The Lazys and Crown Lands live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada Concert Review


Date: April 19, 2018
Venue: Lee’s Palace
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Reviewer: Olivier

After seeing The Wild! open, and in my mind, kind of blow away Airbourne back in October 2016 and with both of The Wild!‘s albums having landed the #2 spot on their respective release years on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums list (2015 for the GxDxWxB EP and 2017 for Wild At Heart), it was no brainer that I would be attending The Wild!‘s latest cross-country tour of the very big country of Canada. As a bonus, The Wild! were bringing Aussie hard rockers, The Lazys, as the official opening act along with new local greater Toronto area darlings, Crowns Land. Now, I admittedly wasn’t overly familiar with The Lazys having only heard a handful of songs from them (all of which I liked) and having heard that they are great live. In terms of Crowns Land, I had seen them play live a few months earlier at a sold out gig at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. I liked what I saw and heard although I wasn’t compelled to buy any music from them (assuming some is available for purchase) after seeing them play live.

Good music has always been a great way for me to see the bright side of things and after arguably going through the most stressful week that I have ever endured, I was really looking forward to just rocking out with some solid bands playing some down and dirty rock n’ roll. My mind was so preoccupied heading into the concert that I went to the wrong venue, which was definitely a first for me. Thank God at least II remembered that the show was in Toronto. After arriving nice and early to the Phoenix Concert Theatre in downtown Toronto and seeing hardly a soul as I got closer to the venue, I was wondering what was going on. “Are you here to see the Battle of the Bands?” is what I overheard from one of the Phoenix‘s bouncer type like guys at the venue’s door. I quickly looked at my purchased ticket and realized that the concert was taking place at Lee’s Palace! Luckily, Lee’s Palace was likely only about five kilometres away and I was there in no time.

Crown Lands:

Unfortunately, I ended up missing the start of Crown Lands‘ set given that I forgot my cell phone in my car. So although I had arrived at Lee’s Palace before Crown Lands hit the stage, by the time that I left the venue and retrieved my cell phone, the duo of drummer / lead vocalist Cody Bowles and guitarist / bassist Keith Comeau had started their set. For whatever reason, Crown Lands remind me of Triumph with Bowles reminding me of a young Gil Moore singing while playing the drums, and the bearded and long haired Comeau reminding me of bassist Mike Levine. Given that I had already seen Crown Lands play live once just a few months ago and having done an article with respect to their video “Mountain”, I felt more familiar with their material this time around.

Interestingly, Comeau had, for a large portion of the set, a double neck guitar that served as a guitar on the top part and bass on the bottom end. That added a slightly different dimension to the band’s slightly limited sound as either you had bass/drums or guitar/drums. Comeau was a ball of energy jumping around like a maniac with his long hair flowing away all over the place. It was fun to see how Bowles reacted when losing one of his drumsticks. I believe that one of his drumsticks slipped from his hand and a fan caught it. Given that the stage is neck height for most fans on the floor section of the venue, it was kind of difficult for the fan to give the drumstick back to Bowles whose spare drumsticks were located too far for him to reach without stopping playing the drums. Accordingly, Bowles played the rest of the song singing while handling his drum set with one drumstick and  with his other hand looking kind of lost. I believe that once the song ended, the fan in question threw the missing drumstick back to Bowles who seemed grateful to get it back.

Crown Lands closed off their set with their excellent rendition of Rush‘s “Working Man” which also featured an extended drum solo from Bowles, which seemingly received a lot of support from the crowd. If you get the chance to catch Crown Lands live — and I appreciate that they are only seemingly touring near the greater Toronto area at this time — make sure you do so as they provide a fun, entertaining and different type of performance.

The Lazys:

As previously stated, I had heard that The Lazys put on a great live performance and one of their videos (for “Shake It Like You Mean It”) suggested that they would be fun to see live. I knew that The Lazys had a bit of an AC/DC influence to their sound but upon seeing them live, I realized that this would be the type of band that my predecessor Skid would have simply loved. From the time that The Lazys hit the stage until they finished what appeared to be an about ten song set, I was mesmerized and quickly singing along to songs that I was only hearing for the first time. The packed crowd seemed to be really into The Lazys and I was almost embarrassed not to know these guys’ songs more than I did and especially since they seemed to play the kind of music tailor made for Sleaze Roxx coverage!

The entire band — consisting of lead guitarist Matty Morris, lead vocalist Leon Harris, bassist Glenn Williams, rhythm guitarist Liam Shearer and newcomer / drummer Andy Nielsen — exuded tons of energy and really got the crowd going. I was shocked how easy it was to get into their songs. They seemed so perfect from the simple yet effective guitar riffs, the catchy background vocals and Harris‘ raspy styled, screaming like singing. Quite simply, The Lazys blew the roof off Lee’s Palace with an energy filled, sweat soaked performance. It’s been a long time since I have been blown away by a band that I don’t or hardly know. I was completely floored by how great The Lazys were on this night. So much so that I will be driving one hour to either catch their headline show in Hamilton tomorrow or Waterloo on Friday.

Although I only seemingly knew two of their songs going into the concert — “Nothing But Trouble” which features as the first video from their new album Tropical Hazards and the band’s show closer “Shake It As You Mean It” — I can now recognize many of the songs that they played from playing their new album Tropical Hazards over and over since their show about five days ago. Other tracks that I believe that The Lazys played in Toronto include “Little Miss Crazy,” “Picture Thieves,” “Howling Woman,” “Half Mast Blues” and “Take Back The Town.” The Lazys reminded me of what a young and hungry AC/DC would be like if Brian Johnson was fronting the band and the group was still playing its dues on the bar circuit. From what I understand and fortunately for me and all rock loving Canadians, The Lazys have apparently relocated from Australia to Canada (as a bonus in the city of Toronto) so I expect that I’ll be seeing these guys play live quite a bit in the future! The Lazys will surely help fill the void of Toronto having lost Last Bullet who recently disbanded and who could always be counted to put on a strong live performance.

You can expect to read a lot about The Lazys on Sleaze Roxx for years to come! And you can also expect a very favourable review of The Lazys‘ new album Tropical Hazards in the near future! These guys should really release a live album to seemingly capture their amazing live energy. How good were The Lazys on this night? Well, I thought that they blew away The Wild! and that my friends, is no easy feat.

The Wild!:

It seems almost unfair to say that The Lazys blew away The Wild! on this night because the latter did put on a solid live performance. It’s just that The Lazys were so good and the crowd was seemingly going crazy for them (from my vantage point) during their entire set. Perhaps this is also partly due because The Lazys‘ lead vocalist Leon Harris just sings so can move around quite freely while The Wild!‘s frontman Dylan Villain plays guitar while singing, which means he is a bit more stationery during portions of The Wild!‘s live set. Funny enough, even though both of The Wild!‘s albums have finished at #2 on Sleaze Roxx‘s year end charts in 2015 and 2017, and obviously I know the group’s songs really well having played GxDxWxB and Wild At Heart so many times in the past, I thought that the songs did not translate that well live this time around but again, I had just been mesmerized by The Lazys‘ all-star performance.

The Wild! have quite a few choreographed moves throughout their set such as headbanging in unison, which is a lot of fun to see. The one big difference from the first time that I saw The Wild! play live back in October 2016 is that rhythm guitarist, The Kid, was handling a lot of the extra vocals that bassist, Boozus, was handling one and a half years ago. If you’ve ever heard songs from The Wild! before such as the track “Roadhouse”, you’ll know that Boozus sings a large portion of the pre-chorus or chorus sections during the songs. I am not sure why Boozus had relinquished his singing duties to The Kid but I thought that the latter’s voice wasn’t nearly as strong as the former’s voice and that kind of weakened The Wild!‘s performance on this night.

I was surprised early on into The Wild!‘s set to see Villain communicate verbally (without a microphone) with a few fans in a rather intense fashion. I finally realized what had happened as all of a sudden, Villain turned his back to the audience and dropped backwards into the stretched out hands from a number of fans who held him up while the frontman kept playing guitar. I’ve seen some singers crowd surf before such as the Killer Dwarfs‘ frontman Russ Dwarf but I had never seen a guitarist crowd surf and play guitar at the same time! I was glad that Villain made it in one piece as I remember Russ Dwarf diving into the audience one time and the next thing I knew, he was on the ground! There were some fun filled planned moments as well with Villain getting a huge water machine gun and spraying with water three different fans who he had coaxed to sit onto the shoulders of other audience members. I am not sure whether that ended up being a good move for The Wild! given that the floor level audience dispersed somewhat not to get wet and by the time that The Wild! finished their set, the floor crowd had thinned out considerably while a mosh pit had taken over.

Villain did offer some terrific news to the audience as it appears that we can expect a new album from The Wild! before the end of the year. The Wild! ended up playing two of their new but unreleased songs and both sounded quite good on a first listen. The Wild! played all of their most well known songs during their live set including “Roadhouse,” “Slow Burn,” “Livin’ Free,” “Best In The West” and “Ready To Roll.” Looking back, if The Lazys had not performed before The Wild!, I would have likely left thinking that The Wild! put on a great show but because of The Lazys‘ out of this world performance, I felt that The Wild! could have been a bit better on this night. While The Lazys did not seem to have any down time throughout their set, there seemed to be a few slower segments during The Wild!‘s performance. In any case, I would go see The Wild! play live again in a heartbeat and I can’t wait for their next studio album!

Snippets of The Lazys playing “Shake It As You Mean It” and The Wild! playing live at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on April 19, 2018:

The Lazys & The Wild!

Here’s some of The Lazys & The Wild! from last nights show @ Lee’s Palace.