Published Feb 06, 2016After almost two years, Living With Lions made their triumphant return to Winnipeg last night (February 5) and proved why they are the best pop-punk band in Canada right now. After almost a decade, there's still nothing more fun than being pushed up against the stage at one of their shows and shouting along to every word as loud as you can. The reaction that band gets from the crowd in this city is incredible, and hanging in the pit is a huge part of what makes their shows so special. Living With Lions are one of the few touring acts Winnipeggers can always count on to swing through and put on an amazing show.
It definitely helped that vocalist Chase Brenneman ditched his guitar entirely for the first time ever and was able to freely move around the stage. He can certainly pull off singing and playing guitar at the same time, but it was a lot more fun when he got up close and personal with the crowd, just like former vocalists Stu Ross and Matt Postal used to do. Ross filled in for bassist Bill Crook on the night, but he never made any moves for the mic and let Brenneman keep the spotlight.
The set was a great mix of everything they've released over the years. They kicked off with "Dude Manor" and kept the pace going strong the entire time. "Regret Song" is probably one of the best songs ever written about a failed relationship, and it always brings out one of the best sing-alongs. Other cuts from Holy Shit, such as "Pieces" and "Rough Around the Edges," also got great crowd reactions. The guys didn't talk a ton between songs, but did mention that they've been working on a new record and played a cool new tune, which Brenneman said has a working title called "Project 69."
Dangercat actually ended up playing last, which was a bit out of place, since nothing could ever top the big sing-along to "A Bottle of Charades" that Living With Lions busted out near the end of their set. Still, Dangercat did a good job, and the crowd stuck around to watch them, even if their set was definitely missing the same level of energy of the headliners. The guys came out swinging with "Fear & Drugs" before tossing some nice little surprises into their set. Instead of covering Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy" yet again, they chose to do Millencolin's "No Cigar," which is going to appear on a local compilation of cover songs from the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game soundtracks. Alex Guidry from Elder Abuse came onstage to help vocalist Keith Dueck sing "Brutal," and last but not least the quartet played a brand new song called "Anchors," which is quite honestly one of the best songs Dangercat have managed to write yet.
Youth Decay were the only band making their Winnipeg debut last night, and the western Canadian punk super group did an amazing job opening the night. The guys kicked things off with "Balance," the first track from The Party's Over, which they released last year through New Damage Records. The crowd really got into "Hysteria," making it probably the most fun song they played live. Plus, since they were here, they obviously they had to play "Little Winnipeg" too. Between songs, lead vocalist Stuart McKillop kept on praising Winnipeg's local music scene and was even wearing a Distances shirt, one of many local bands to record with him all the way out in Vancouver at Rain City Recorders.
Union Stockyards won't be hitting the road with the rest of these bands, but they did manage to score an opening slot for the Winnipeg show and did a pretty decent job. The local band have released two EPs so far and sound a lot like Lifetime, which you can definitely hear on tracks like "Sunday Matinee." The quartet also have a lot of Winnipeg references in their music, something that is especially evident on tracks like "The Justice League of Manitoba" and "Garbage Hill."