Suicide Machines / The Snips / The Heatskores Mod Club, Toronto ON December 30

Suicide Machines / The Snips / The Heatskores Mod Club, Toronto ON December 30
Not unlike Black Sabbath, Turbonegro, Cher and an onslaught of performers before them, Detroit's hardcore-influenced skankers the Suicide Machines have been calling it quits, reuniting and going back on hiatus so many times over the past half-decade, it's somewhat of a joke. But you can't blame the quartet when it's taken them some 20 years to gain any degree of notoriety. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes the impending threat of dissolution to make fans finally stand up and support their beloved band.

Such was the case this evening, whereby fellow on-again, off-again ska fiends the Heatskores opened a gig rife with old bands unsure of their own destiny. Having thrown in the towel for almost one-third of their duration, these Torontonians have had so many reunion dates, it's a wonder if they know what it's like to be apart. Still, as they tore through a set composed of everything from classic favourites referencing anal sex and Thursday night to a new tune reflecting on their days of performing in drag, their raucous energy and upbeat dynamics never failed to amuse, making the Heatskores a fiery introduction to the evening's festivities.

Strange then, that they should be followed up by Welland, ON's formerly punk, now overtly em-influenced the Snips. While the quintet were impressively tight and eventually got a few ladies dancing, they were also incredibly saccharine, coming off a lot less inspiring than their predecessors and not to mention a bit choleric. Poking fun at the one guy with a mohawk multiple times for "taking hours to do his hair" is pretty lame when your own image is obviously preened to exacting standards. While the Snips have their music down to a science, that's about all it felt like during this performance: a carefully plotted methodical discipline, not an impassioned onslaught.

Regardless, as premiere ska-core outfit the Suicide Machines casually stepped onto the Mod Club stage, all previous efforts were rendered pointless. Admitting that their last show was nowhere near as grandiose or well-attended as this capacity evening, vocalist Jason Navarro led the band through a series of songs pulling from every facet of their history from Destruction By Definition through War Profiteering Is Killing Us All with no lack of enthusiasm.

Rousing the crowd into a state of near frenzy, the front half of the venue became one massive circle/pogo pit as fans duly engaged the band during their disturbingly brief set. Then again, when songs such as "Punck" and "Jah" rage out at a whopping four seconds, what do we expect?

Taking an expedient break before their equally ephemeral encore, which included a version of "Filler" even Minor Threat would nod in appreciation at, the band were gone within an hour, leaving us to wonder if this truly is, as Navarro jested, "the last time you'll ever get to dance... to us."