Moneen The Phoenix, Toronto ON - September 15, 2005

As one of the openers on a bill of mediocre pop-punk, the anticipatory feeling leading up to Moneen's set was not shared by the entire room. A clump of the emo faithful could be seen at the front, while a line of jocks and their girlfriends waited to get into the venue's small bar area. Despite sound problems, which pushed back the start of their set, when the band finally took to the stage, there was no doubting their intention to deliver a stellar performance. Always a picture of positive energy and enthusiasm, lead singer Kenny Bridges burst into the opening refrain of "Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now?," igniting the front of the crowd into a massive pit of shared energy. After the band got a few of their popular songs out of the way, they began to introduce some of their newer material, one of the drawing points of their set that night. The song "Bleed and Blister," which was posted online earlier in the summer, took on a brilliant new intensity in a live setting that the recording lacked. Backed by darker instrumentation to match Bridge's obsession with the ideas of mortality and human frailties, the song is a driving number in the vein of "Tonight, I'm Gone." The only other new song to debut demonstrated many of the same characteristics, featuring lightning fast drumming by all-star rhythmic Peter Krpan. The song was also a departure from what seems to have become a glut of Bridges-led songs, with strong vocal performances from bassist Erik Hughesk, and guitarist Chris Hughes completed the song nicely.