Updated: Apr 10, 2019
Thursday, April 4th, 2019
On Thursday night, Barrie was treated to a taste of Italian metal as N E K E R made their debut at The Foxx Lounge Rock Bar & Hotdoggery. It was the second stop on their nine day Canadian tour in support of their album “Louder”, having played Hamilton the night before. The show, put together by StS Promotions, featured support from Collingwood’s Halfway Through Hell and Toronto/Barrie quartet Anneliese.
The Foxx Lounge was filling up quickly with excited family, friends, and fans as N E K E R finished their sound check and Anneliese set up to kick off the night.
Formerly Heavy Hands, Anneliese has taken time off to regroup, reform, and rebrand. With an arsenal of new material ready to unleash, anticipation was high as they took the stage. Vocalist Joseph Jargstorf, guitarist Bram van Leliveld, bassist Nathan Belcourt, and drummer Brandon Pellatt wasted no time making sure that they made one hell of a first impression.
The opening song Demoralizer was powerful, and though Jargstorf doesn’t look like your typical metal frontman, he belted out savage screams and melodic harmonies with ease.
Their second song Cancer was recently released as a music video (check it out here). The breadth of Anneliese’s music influence was clear as elements of 80’s thrash gave way to more modern metalcore riffs and hardcore overtones. As they went into their third song Lester’s Night, what really stood out was the incredible drumming by Pellatt (who is also in the Barrie rock trio All My Life). From blast beats to double bass, tempo changes to rapid-fire fills, Pellatt made it all look easy.
The remainder of Anneliese’s set continued to keep the growing crowd on their toes with their chaotic but well-executed arrangement. One song was even dedicated to “the orange monkey south of the border”, which, even without knowing the lyrics, was clearly not a dedication the monkey in question would approve of. All in all, Anneliese had a great first set at The Foxx Lounge and I look forward to seeing what they can accomplish, as well as to hearing their debut full-length album currently being recorded.
N E K E R
It wasn't long before N E K E R began their set with A Kind of Man – a breakdown-heavy sonic assault that immediately had the crowd moving. I should note that “N E K E R” is the assumed name of founding member Nicola (vox/bass) as well as the name of the band. I digress. Despite being on their first Canadian tour, the trio from Italy exuded confidence and commanded the stage as they unleashed No Faith, the second song on their most recent EP ‘Louder’. Southern influence blended with a doomy tempo overlaid with a range of vocal styles to create an enjoyable follow-up to their explosive introduction.
Just when I thought I had their style pinned down, The Worst Music (also on their recent EP) introduced a whole new amalgamation of metal, rock, and hardcore elements. By now, the crowd was feeding on the energy of the band and filling in the pit. Even the notorious “crossed-arm, straight-faced” concert-goers were nodding their head in approval as the set went on. Even I became so enthralled in the show, my note-taking suffered (sorry boss!). However, by the end of their set, it was clear that N E K E R refuses to be “just” a metal band – they are a dedicated and experienced musical force.
Halfway Through Hell
One of the many things I love about this job is the opportunity to showcase incredible local bands. Halfway Through Hell is a band I have been looking forward to covering, and they provided no shortage of material to write about. Over the past year HTH have been developing their sound and building a solid fan-base. Consisting of Jason Hodgson (guitar/vox), Jack Garrett (guitar/vox), Colton Morrish (bass), and Doug Leahy (drums), this quartet has as big of a presence offstage as they do onstage.
Halfway Through Hell carried on the night’s unofficial theme of refusing to stick to one genre. Though “metalcore” would be the most fitting, it fails to truly do HTH justice. What defines their music is the combination of early 00’s metalcore with a modern feel. The crowd didn’t dwindle despite HTH being the last band on the bill.
Through their first three songs, Sleepless, Horizons, and Slaves, Halfway Through Hell rained… hell… upon The Foxx Lounge with driving verses, heavy breakdowns, and incredible solos from Hodgson. Garrett dished out aggressive riffs and screams throughout, with Morrish and Leahy never faltering in the rhythm section. Together, these four create a force to be reckoned with who truly put on a raw yet developed show full of emotion, heart, and energy.
Be sure to visit each band on social media, check out their music, and give them some love!
Photography by Kalei Lynn