Toronto, Ontario - One of the bet things about this job is discovering new bands and new music. There have been occasions where I have booked gigs to specifically shoot opening acts like LA's ART OF SHOCK. Typically however, the headlining act is the main draw. On October 12, 2022 I landed a gig for Digital Beat Magazine to shoot another LA band. This time, it was LA rockers L7.
The opening act on this night was Canada's Punk Rockers, The Black Halos. With a new album titled How the Darkness Doubled, ready to hit shelves at the end of November 2022, and a new video for "Tenement Kids" already hitting over 20,000 views in just 1 week, the band has hit the road.
I was definitely not familiar with the BC natives, despite the fact that they were formed close to 30 years ago by lead singer Billy Hopeless and guitarist Rich Jones. Immediately, the band peaked my interest as Billy Hopeless came out swinging a chain, in the band's opening track "A History of Violence", from their upcoming release. It turns out, this is the band's first live show in 2 1/2 years, but WHERE HAVE I BEEN FOR THE PAST 3 DECADES???
The balcony at The Opera House was open to patrons on this night. A clear indication of the ticket sales, but I'm not certain they were all there to see L7 exclusively. As I turned to leave my photographer's station after our standard "First 3 songs in the pit", I looked into the crowd to see a completely packed house. Once I got into my standard spot at the side of the stage to take in the show for this review, I see, people around me singing along with the lyrics of the band's tracks.
The Black Halos, with their tattoos, chains, leather, boots, leopard print jackets and the like were straight up kicking it hard on the stage. With a little comedy thrown into the mix as guitarist Rich Jones proclaims "We used to tour in the 90s, so we're really fucking old!", this was going down as one of the most fun shows I've seen all year.
One of the cooler things at this event though was bassist John Kerns' mile high microphone, ala Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmeister, although this was Lemmy's mic on steroids. It didn't stop there with the bassist either. The 4 string was down on John's knees, and he often bent right over, bass guitar nearly touching the stage floor as he played. Such a super cool visual. Rock and Roll at its finest!
As the set nears its close, frontman Billy Hopeless asks the crowd what will make their day better. Before they can answer, he provides it for them. "Buy our merchandise!!!" Another bit of tongue in cheek fun from the band. As they close the set with "Some Things Never Fall", Billy hops into the photo pit and climbs onto the security platform as he belts out his lyrics.
As I'm watching the performance, I already know in my head that this will be a strictly black and white photo gallery. I purposely left the photos a little grainy as well. It has to fit the overall esthetic of the band. On occasion, it could be a tricky decision on my part. In this case, there was not question. These guys were straight up ass kickers, and I loved it!
A History of Violence
No Tomorrow Girls
3 Sheets to the Wind
Some Things Never Fail
show date: October 12, 2022
What was the most surprising opening act you ever saw? Share your comments below!