Pointed Sticks Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON March 30

Despite 25 years of silence between their last live performance and a recent string of reunion gigs that have seen them perform both in their native Vancouver and across the Pacific in Japan, these first wave punk vets managed to sound every bit as exciting and vital in 2007 as they did in 1977. While Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern wasn’t as close to capacity as some may have anticipated, a receptive crowd gathered as soon as the band made their way onto the stage, digital cameras snapping away to capture what was clearly a fun moment for everyone involved. Despite aging to the point where songs of youthful heartbreak might seem a little awkward in their delivery, the band blasted through a set of Canadian punk classics with enough of a wink in their eye to let you know that they got the joke. Never the flashiest of performers, vocalist Nick Jones hardly broke a sweat as he casually wandered across the Horseshoe’s stage, letting the small pit that formed in front of him take turns at doing some of the work during "Out of Luck.” These guys really were the Canadian answer to Buzzcocks, and their insanely catchy pop punk songs are every bit as good as what you’ll find on Singles Going Steady — a fact perfectly demonstrated by the rabid crowd response to "Lies,” a song that could still be a radio hit today. While Jones held his own out in front, sounding every bit as good as he did in his 20s, the rest of the band matched his unaffected performance with their own energetic sonic explosion. Ultimately, the show proved to be a great opportunity for the band to go back and revisit a part of their youth, while giving the audience a chance to go back with them, even if they weren’t lucky enough to be there the first time around.