Jeff Rosenstock The Opera House, Toronto ON, July 28
Published Jul 29, 2018Jeff Rosenstock, one of the most beloved figures in punk, descended upon "the 6" (which he cheekily referred to Toronto as on multiple occasions) Saturday night (July 28). Marking the band's first performance in the city since POST- boldly dropped on New Year's Day, Rosenstock and co. delivered bombastic performances of new and old cuts alike, much to the delight of their enthusiastic all-ages audience.
Following a mass sing-along to Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know," Rosenstock took to the stage to express his disgust and outrage at the fact that women in the crowd were being groped at their shows. He enforced the importance of looking out for one another and being mindful and respectful of those around you, a sobering and vital message that enveloped the room in a sense of positivity that heightened the audience's compassion.
Kicking the set off with a raucous bang, the group tore into "USA," POST-'s visceral protest anthem. Brandishing his guitar like a badge of honour, Rosenstock's energy was frenetic, palpable and relentless. His liveliness served as a catalyst for the audience, who moshed and crowd surfed for the night's entirety. New cuts like "Beating My Head Against a Wall," "Yr Throat" and "All This Useless Energy" garnered just as positive of a reception from the crowd as longtime fan favourites like "Nausea" did. The pinnacle of the performance arrived in the form of a four-song succession as Rosenstock and his band mates seamlessly churned out the last eight minutes of WORRY. with even more charisma and vigour than heard on record.
Featuring the exceptional Zack Mykula of PUP behind the kit, Rosenstock's accompanying band mirrored his expertise in terms of both technical ability and enthusiasm. Despite the frontman being the main focus of the night, each member proved themselves a dynamic addition. It was clear that years on the road and dozens of shows had helped to strengthen them as a cohesive and seasoned unit.
Jeff Rosenstock maintained a collective energy throughout the duration of the night, imbuing the show with a sense of conscious positivity that cannot be found just anywhere. Transcending the strength of what's heard on record with an even stronger, more personal live performance, Rosenstock smashed the fourth wall to connect with his impassioned listeners in a way that felt both personal and communal. Whether shimmying his way around the stage, playing his saxophone from atop of the bar, or crawling over the audience, the punk rocker's charm was consistently captivating.