Quicksand Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, January 9

Quicksand Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, January 9
Photo: Fil ZuZarte
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Exactly three years ago, Walter Schreifels told me over the phone that he didn't think this would happen. Back then Schreifels was doing press for the newly reunited Rival Schools, and when asked about a Quicksand reunion, he said the idea was a nice one but unlikely. Two years later, the highly influential post-hardcore legends were making their TV debut on Fallon and playing select dates.
Now on their first North American tour in 15 years, the NYC punk vets strolled into Toronto looking as fit as they did when they called it a day in 1999.

Short on words, the band launched into "Omission," their oldest song and an obvious favourite of the mostly seasoned original fans. The set was composed solely of material from Quicksand's two albums — 1993's Slip and 1995's Manic Compression, along with their cover of the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now" and compilation cut "Shovel" — which meant that a rumoured, unheard third album was to remain just that.

With only a half-dozen gigs under their belt, Quicksand showed little rust. Frontman Schreifels, bassist Sergio Vega, drummer Alan Cage and guitarist Tom Capone all maintained a youthful glow, dashing around the stage, thrashing the chunky riffs and executing the songs with more urgency than the recordings. In fact, they rolled 17 of them out in just over an hour, stopping only a few times to mostly take the piss out of some hapless stage divers.

Schreifels had some playful jabs at the divers, saying, "This is great but we could be a little more adventurous on the stage diving," before suggesting Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance" to help the stage invaders out (one of whom was pleading with the crowd to catch him during "Thorn in My Side").

Acknowledging all of his "wonderful friends in Toronto," Schreifels dedicated "Dine Alone" to Joel Carriere, who named his label (home to City & Colour, Tokyo Police Club, Yukon Blonde) after the song.

At the end of the night, the audience was left wondering why Quicksand even split in the first place, considering the obvious harmony within the band. But with the 20th anniversary of Slip happening this year, we can only hope and even assume that there's more to come. Because as Schreifels pointed out in Boston, "damn, they look (and sound) good."