Dangercat The Windsor Hotel, Winnipeg MB, September 26

Dangercat The Windsor Hotel, Winnipeg MB, September 26
Photo: Kaitlyn Emslie Farrell
Winnipeg pop-punks Dangercat packed an enthusiastic hometown crowd into the Windsor Hotel to celebrate the release of To the Moon, the band's second full-length album, which drops on September 30.

The nearly 50-minute set kicked off with the first three tracks off the new record, and while they sounded fine it wasn't the most energetic beginning to their performance. Maybe it's because it was 12:30 a.m. and the band hasn't played much this year, opting only for the odd slot opening for Ten Second Epic or Sights & Sounds. People might also need time to warm up to these tunes, since To the Moon isn't quite as upbeat as 2012's Where I'll Be.

Either way, both the band and the crowd start to liven up when vocalist/guitarist Keith Dueck shouted "This song is about smoking weed and getting high" before launching into "Head in the Clouds," which has been a staple at shows since 2011 when the band released an EP of the same name. Over the last three years, Dangercat has built a reputation for being gruff yet poppy, and this track still showcases that well. They also tossed in "Exit Lights," a tune that sounds like something Banner Pilot might have written and features a catchy opening bass line courtesy of Ryan Roemer.

As the night continued on, it was clear they were more focused on rocking than talking. The most notable thing they mentioned was that they shot a music video for "Bummer Summer" and have plans to release it soon. Ultimately, that's one of the best tracks off To the Moon and also the catchiest by far, so the decision isn't that surprising.

Props also go out to guitarist TJ Stevenson (ex-Hope Atlantic/ex-Sick City) for being the one member that wasn't afraid to move around the stage. He and drummer Casey Fiorante (who still plays in Waster) joined over a year ago, but To The Moon is the first Dangercat record to feature those guys, and also the first that's been recorded as a quartet instead of a trio. The band sounds good as a four-piece, but they could probably add even more energy into their live show.

Basically, the guys kept alternating between newer material and older material before wrapping things up for good with two older tracks. "Go Wolves" inspired a sing-along from the crowd and even got Stevenson jumping into the pit near the end. Then the audience demanded an encore and Dangercat gave them what they wanted by delivering one of the best performances of "Where I'll Be" they've done yet. Dangercat fills a void in a city that doesn't get many established punk bands touring through.

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