Teenage Kicks Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, ON, March 21

Teenage Kicks Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, ON, March 21
Photo: Ian Gormely
Teenage Kicks' slow rise to headlining status at the Horseshoe was well earned; the band have been leading the charge for back-to-basics rock'n'roll in Toronto through a series of EPs and 7-inches. So it was no surprise to see an added spring in their step as they strode on stage.

Led by singer-guitarist Peter Van Helvoort, the quartet played with a confidence of a band who know they're hitting their stride, opening with slow burner "Brooklyn Bridge." Teenage Kicks are slowly amassing an arsenal of rock anthems, including heavy hitters like "Middle of the Night" and "Heart of Darkness," but other material falls flat in comparison, leading to several lulls during the band's set.

Van Helvoort enthused about the band's upcoming trip to California, where he joked he would become addicted to all kinds of drugs, and acknowledged the group's former guitarist Patrick Marchent, who was in the audience cheering his former bandmates along.

Oozing equal parts sweat and swagger, Teenage Kicks' set came across like a well-deserved victory lap.