Grade / The Reason / The Video Dead Opera House, Toronto ON - July 21, 2006

Grade / The Reason / The Video Dead Opera House, Toronto ON - July 21, 2006
While the Video Dead are assuredly one of the best punk bands currently making the rounds in Southern Ontario, their mix of old school hardcore with a So-Cal melodic approach regrettably functioned as background music for the slowly arriving audience. Faring even worse were the Reason, who seem to have lost all their edge and now sound like a wretchedly unfunny parody of the entire Victory Record’s roster, circa 2001. Eventually it came time for Grade, the band who, along with Drowningman, essentially pioneered the combination of singing/screaming, metal, punk and hardcore that is known today as "screamo.” What Grade demonstrated tonight, however, is that unlike the hoards of bands that have stolen their sound in the four years since their break-up, they were honest, eager and inventive. Never gaining the attention they deserved during their existence, this one-off reunion show of the Under the Radar line-up was a lesson in integrity soaked and emotionally searing punk rock. Opening with "Conceptualizing Theories in Motion,” the first track from the EP that cemented the band’s unique sound, Separate the Magnets, the band ploughed through an unbelievable set of every track from Separate, nearly all of their landmark Under the Radar, as well as three songs from their more metal Headfirst Straight to Hell and a single track from their first full-length, And Such is Progress. Concluding the night with a drawn-out "The Inefficiency of Emotion,” the band were able to prove that screamo wasn’t always about girl-cut pants and 40-dollar haircuts — a mighty achievement in today’s musical landscape.