The OBGMs Rivoli, Toronto ON, September 12
Published Sep 13, 2014The energy in the room was already electric as final openers Pkew Pkew Pkew wrapped up their rowdy set and descended the beer-soaked stage to make way for the men of the hour. The OBGMs have been on an absolute tear as of late, flooring crowds on a winding, summer Winnebago tour that included statement-making stops at both New York's AfroPunk Festival and Budweiser's massive Made In America showcase in Philadelphia. Last night's sold-out release party proved the perfect hometown celebration for those recent successes, and a chance for local fans whose senses weren't already completely clouded by beer to get their first live taste of cuts from the band's fresh new debut full-length. It also marked somewhat of a class reunion with a line-up of bands who were there from the party-punkers' beginning, and the boys soaked it all in from the middle of the dance floor, bopping, throwing elbows and crowd-surfing before their own call time.
The party toys tossed to the centre of the stage and the GoPro strapped firmly to frontman Densil McFarlane's chest during setup gave clear signs of the coming insanity and, after one final pre-show huddle, the OBGMs unleashed a thorough thrashing, with little letup from beginning to end. Screaming and stomping their way through a dirt-stained, bottom heavy set, the band had the sweaty and, by then, seething crowd hanging on their every command, bouncing along to the rapturous groove as the well-worn Rivoli floorboards undulated beneath our feet. New cuts seemingly squealed and groaned under their own weight, drudging through grimier territory for a bruising sound almost too brawny for the room. Synth-triggered phaser sounds from Jemuel Roberts cut through the dizzying barrage as both Mcfarlane and thundering bassist Joe Brosnan bounded across the stage, with drummer Cola Humphrey's tireless rhythms drilling it all home.
Beer was sprayed and shirts were lost; things were getting pretty sloppy out on the dance floor by the time the OBGMs announced one final send-off. They soon returned to the stage to ring in the birthdays of both Cola and Brosnan with a giant red OBGMs cake which, fittingly, was quickly mauled by fans in the front row and would eventually be tossed into the crowd and end up plastered across the entire venue floor. After departing and then diving into their fans, the band powered through one last tune and ended the night slipping and sliding around the now sugar-coated floorboards to the DJ's choice dancehall selections.
Last night's Toronto return was the necessary exclamation mark to close off a whirlwind stretch for the ascendent punksters as they now shift into the first moments of an exciting new phase.