Ok, let’s just preface this entire review with the fact that I know these bands are not for 40-year old me, nor are they geared toward an undergrad post-grunge gen-Xer me, but here I find myself. Good Charlotte and Silverstein existed on my periphery, but neither were a band I found myself regularly listening to, and both Movements and Palaye Royale were the wildcards on this bill as I was going in without any preconceived notions.
Movements are a power pop-punk band out of California who have never been further from home than they have been on this evening in Halifax. They are admittedly not an upbeat or positive band, but this emotive four-piece has some devout fans here in the Schooner Room. While they are not of the stature of headliners Good Charlotte, they are a band that would certainly benefit from a stint or two on the Warped Tour bill to build and grow their existing fan base. Movements were a solid opening act who woke the crowd up and primed the Haligoons for the acts to come.
Palaye Royale are my fucking spirit animals! This indie glam rock band may hail from Las Vegas, Nevada, but damned if they aren’t born out the depths of both CBGB and the Whiskey-a-Go-Go. They have a definite sneer and snarl of the best, most debauched hair metal bands of the ’80s. The unabashed energy and fervour of this act is infectious and got the Schooner Room rocking. While I mentioned earlier that this bill wasn’t for me, this indie glam-rock (think a modernized Buckcherry) 5-piece is the anomaly of the night as Palaye Royale is squarely in my wheelhouse. While my familiarity of the band was non-existent when I entered the Schooner Room, rest assured I will be familiarizing myself while they blast out of my speakers on the way out of here. This potent band channeled the spirit of rock n’ roll on Saturday night, and knocked the crowd in the Schooner Showroom on its collective ass with a scintillating show stealing set. (Oh, did I mention they also tossed in a cover of My Chemical Romance’s “Teenagers”?!)
Silverstein is up next, and have the unfortunate slot on the bill following those Vegas lads; but if anyone would be up to the task it would be this hard-rock outfit from Ontario. As far as this bill goes, this Burlington band is the heaviest of the night, with a set that ranged from quieter emo-fare to complete bombastic hard-rock. Silverstein may be the most prolific of the opening acts having recorded 8 albums since 2003; it explains the rabid and appreciated reception provided by the crowd, but it’s hard not to notice that the Haligoons in attendance appear a bit spent after Palaye Royale’s fiery set. Silverstein front-man Shane Told did an excellent job of playing to the crowd and has clearly honed his crowd work skillset. It was a tough spot the band found themselves in, and while this set was dialed up to eleven and appealed to its fan-base, it just missed the mark for my old guy status.
This lineup did an excellent job of covering off the rock/punk/pop-punk spectrum. We had some definite angry emo offerings from Movements, we checked off the indie glam rock/hair metal box with Palaye Royale’s set, and Silverstein treated the crowd to a heavier dose of rock and pop-punk. The crowd was certainly fired up for the headliners of the night, and what a diverse crowd it was. Considering Good Charlotte enjoyed huge success in the early 2000s, one could expect the room to be packed with disenfranchised thirty-somethings, but instead this is not a room packed with only those Good Charlotte OG’s. Due to the breadth of the lineup, it drew in a far more varied crowd, as it was a room of young and old fans alike, many of whom were frequenters of Hot Topic and/or Spencer’s; but there is that portion of the crowd that was indeed older and had grown up with Good Charlotte as part of their angsty teen soundtrack.
As the final layer of gear was peeled off the stage, the giant illuminated G. and C. were revealed, book-ending the stage. It was then time for the Madden Bros. (Joel and Benji) and their cohorts to hit the stage, and Good Charlotte blasted into their smash single “Anthem”. It was a tune that was sung back to the band as loud as it was emitted from the stage. The crowd was clearly here for Good Charlotte, as they lost their collective shit during the opening salvo. I must say that these Maryland lads sounded far better than I expected, and the songs translated remarkably well to a live environment. It didn’t hurt that the band genuinely seemed happy to be playing for a rabid crowd of Haligoons.
For a band that has been around for 17 years and managed to survive/evolve through a downturn in the music industry and an aging fan base, they sure know how to work a room. Not only does the band enjoy working through their back catalogue, but they are champions for the downtrodden and disenfranchised. They are making the most of their soapboxes, and it doesn’t come off as preachy, instead more of a concerned friend. It’s refreshing to see a band cultivate that relationship with its fan base. The band culled their catalogue and put together a set list that spanned Good Charlotte’s entire career, including tracks from the band’s latest album Youth Authority, as well as fan favourites such as “The River”, “I Just Want to Live” and the night’s closer “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. The entire show put a smile on the faces of a legion of GC fans (new and old alike), and was an impressive showing in a room that is more accustomed to Country acts and Comedians. This was my first high energy room in the Schooner Room of Casino NS and hopefully it won’t be the last. This was a great night of high octane pop-punk which seemingly went off without a hitch. Good Charlotte and Sonic Concerts knocked this one out of the park.