Juliana Theory / Snapcase / Hopesfall The Opera House, Toronto ON - March 19, 2003

On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, you'd think three bands that have their roots in the punk community would take the opportunity to make some kind of statement. But outside of JT front-man Brett Detar's magic marker inner-forearm tattoos stating "War" and "Kills," there was no political opining. Perhaps the intention was to unite the world in rock. If so, all three accomplished that mission. On the last night of an eastern Canada tour that brought together three disparate musical voices, there were no signs of letting up. Playing to a smallish audience didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm either. Hopesfall set the bar high as the screamo quintet wasted no time crowd-surfing and guitar-flailing as their manic hardcore mayhem hit its stride. They were rewarded with cries of "You should be headlining!" Hardcore veterans Snapcase proved that while their music has been refined and redefined over their dozen or so years in existence, they are still a force. Largely showcasing the slower, more groove-oriented chug of their End Transmission disc proved to be a bit of a disappointment to those dying to hear old material, but their performance was that of a band confident in themselves and happy with what they were playing. And it showed why they are one of the most enduring of all bands of the genre. By the time the Juliana Theory took to the stage, a few more bodies had arrived to crowd the front. Detar was still up to his rock star posing tricks, as the band ran through an hour's worth of material both new and old, but the entire set was focused on the more intricate of their material. They offered up a couple of their rock staples, "To the Tune of 5,000 Screaming Children" and "Duane Joseph," while the new material was not the harder stuff from their Love disc but the more textured. They even dusted off "August in Bethany," a tender ballad from their debut. An unlikely teaming of bands, yet it worked on a pure energy level.