Last summer, when I first heard that YOB was playing some dance club at Church and Adelaide, I must admit, I had my reservations about the Courthouse (as the members of a certain local metal message board may remember). But that changed almost as soon as I walked into the place–or perhaps, more accurately, once local legends Sons of OTIS took the stage and I could feel the bass hit my face. Last nite’s HOMTGOS tour only served as confirmation–this is probably the best place in town to catch a doom metal gig, though the going rate seems to be about one a year…
Though it’s normally a dance club, the kinda place that charges a $20 cover (although it says here ladies are free before 11 pm), this venue just oozes doom. Once you descend the stone steps towards the entrance, you’re then led up three flights of rickety wooden stairs to a great hall with a massive medieval stone backdrop. The speakers hang down from the ceiling and really pump out the volume–even the tunes played between bands sound massive–while the contoured stage allows you to get up close and personal. The professional light show only adds to the proceedings, illuminating the artists at just the right angles. And while they don’t serve horns of mead or Devil’s Pale Ale, booze prices here are still slightly cheaper than the Mod Club.
Don’t get me wrong, the Courthouse wouldn’t be any good for a thrash metal show, or the kind of sludge bands that sound best in a dank, smelly basement. Seeing Weedeater play here would be weird, for instance. But the overall atmosphere lends itself well to the slow, pensive, mind-altering vibes of an intelligent doom metal artist. If Candlemass were to bring their yet-to-be-booked North American farewell tour to Toronto, I could think of no better venue to host it. Let’s just hope the place isn’t already booked for Broken Dance night.