Silverstein / Protest the Hero / Ill Scarlett / Devil Wears Prada Kool Haus, Toronto ON February 8

Over the years Silverstein had played an hour from their home of Burlington numerous times, but to see them headline at a sold out Kool Haus was a monumental occasion. Ill Scarlett delivered their fun, pot-smoking brand of ska-punk that was a nice break from the semi-tough guy atmosphere of people drinking Rock Stars and doing the two-step. Enter Devil Wears Prada. These guys are young and talented, but they are more annoying than their performance is worth. DWP did command a great deal of respect from a wide crowd that got to make good use of their extra energy with ADD windmills and the always funny fight with the invisible ninja. The evening’s saviours came in the form of five teens from Whitby, ON who have come so far, done so much and stole the show. Protest the Hero’s technical vileness knows no bounds and they delivered what was one of the best metal performances I’ve seen in a long time. With so much going on musically — since no one in the band uses fewer than six strings — one might think lead singer Rody Walker’s voice might get lost in translation. Instead he opened his bag of vocal harmonies, screams and growls that really completed their calculated use of sound. Protest ripped out total fret board obliteration from Kezia and Fortress without missing a beat and made it impossible for the headliners not to bomb. It’s sad to say there may be no way to save what Silverstein have become. They’ve officially lost the tag of screamo — congratulations — and adopted something that is far more frustrating: a blend of pop (at times rock) fused with a scream for respect and a vocalist who’s listless. Maybe this is a result of forgetting your roots and how you became a great band, because now they’re just bland.