Less Than Jake / Allister / Hidden In Plain View The Phoenix, Toronto ON - April 14, 2005

Less Than Jake / Allister / Hidden In Plain View The Phoenix, Toronto ON - April 14, 2005
This show got off to a bad start after word began to spread that openers Kane Hodder had not made it to the city due to van troubles. Recent Fueled By Raman acquisitions, Hodder's arrival was eagerly anticipated by anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing their brilliant The Pleasure To Remain So Heartless. The lack of an opener meant a near-two-hour stretch of boredom and nothingness from the time doors opened to the time the walking emo stereotype that is Hidden In Plain View took the stage. Successfully incorporating every imaginable cliché of the genre into each of their songs, the band became so horribly predictable that for some in the audience a rousing game of "sing/scream along perfectly to a song you don't even know" developed. Allister's energetic set of pop-punk tunes was less offensively unoriginal and more generally boring, although the band was able to get quite a rise out of the crowd during more popular numbers such as "Somewhere Down In Fullerton." When Less Than Jake finally took the stage to the theme from Anchorman, the bizarrely eclectic crowd of 14 year olds, skinheads and ska kids buzzed with energy and excitement. While the band hasn't released any truly great material since 1998's Hello Rockview, in a live setting this barely matters. Even material from 2003's boring as all hell Anthem sounds just as fun and powerful as any of their best work - a true testament to the band's live chutzpah. Acknowledging this prevalent feeling among many of the band's older fans, guitarist/singer Chris Demakes sarcastically introduced "Automatic" as being "from Losing Streak, our best album." Good or bad albums seem to barely even matter when you can pull off a show with this much wonderful energy.