Published Nov 25, 2008Sure other bands may boast the fire and raciness of a Lamborghini but Vancouver hardcore punk stalwarts D.O.A. are like a daily-driver Toyota. Steadfast and reliable, they fail to have speed or looks on their side but you know what youre gonna get every time: no-frills, upbeat punk rock as delivered by Joey "Shithead Keithley and whomever hes wrangled into the band on that particular tour.
Such was the case with this performance to a decent-sized Thursday night crowd at Torontos Legendary Horseshoe Tavern. Hitting town in support of both their 12th studio effort, Northern Avenger, and 30th anniversary, Shithead, on-again, off-again bassist Dan Yaremko and new drummer James Hayden, were impressively tight and upbeat. Sporting his trademark jeans, D.O.A. T-shirt, cut-off vest and the beat-up Gibson that gave the new album its name, Keithley and crew hammered through an interesting set spanning their three-decade career.
While great to see seamless renditions of classic tracks including "Liar For Hire, "Disco Sucks and anthemic sing-along "Marijuana Motherfucker though, it was tracks performed from Northern Avenger that were of particular interest. Ripping through the likes of "Human Bomb, "Police Brutality and "Devils Speedway, D.O.A. became incensed and even aggressive, fuelled by those songs upbeat pacing and confrontational stances.
Having yet to become familiar with these additions to the D.O.A. catalogue, most of the crowd were understandably unsure of how to react but with modest prodding, they easily gave in to their basic instincts, flailing about the miniscule stage front with enthusiasm. Again, while not the most volatile band on the punk rock circuit today, there may have been little about this performance that was jaw dropping but sometimes consistency and dependability go a lot further than explosives.