Though I seem to have seen fewer concerts this year (I think I’m growing…deaf), what 2016 lacked in concert quantity, it more than made up for in quality–to these ears, anyways. In any given year, any of this year’s Top Six could have easily been Number One, but when it comes to the overall best live concert experience, well, the winner was undisputed. But let’s start at the bottom, shall we?

10. Dopethrone/Sons of OTIS/Electric Magma @ Bovine Sex Club, September 30

“Though they’ve been building quite a name for themselves in Europe and on the underground sludge/doom scene, Montreal’s Dopethrone had never actually played Toronto until last Friday. These guys are pretty much Canada’s answer to Weedeater and/or Bongzilla; a no-frills, super-slow-mo sludge trio well worth the wait.”



9. Brujeria/Cattle Decapitation @ The Agora, Cleveland, Oct 6

“There weren’t even enough people in the crowd to catch the stagedivers, but when a guy took the stage in a Donald Trump mask, he got hit with at least a dozen beers. Hey, I still enjoyed seeing ’em live for the first (and likely the only) time. And I didn’t even hafta deal with la migra!”



8. Napalm Death/Melvins/Melt Banana @ Opera House, April 19

“Actually, this was a co-headlining gig, with Napalm going on last and both them and the Melvins playing for about an hour. I guess as some of these bands from back in the day start getting up there in age, we might see more such ventures in the future. But from my vantage point, I gotta say, the Melvins had a much more punishing pit!”



7. Earthless @ Lee’s Palace, March 14

“No frills, no fancy set-up, no vocals (not until the encore, anyways)…they just set up, plug in and groove for a solid 70 minutes, barely pausing between extended numbers. While some initial riffs might have sounded familiar, these jams would veer off in all kinds of different directions, eventually coming home to roost.”



(Photo by Gustavo Scuderi @ The Headbanging Moose)

666. Iron Maiden @ Air Canada Centre, April 3

OK, so I didn’t bring my camera to this one. I wasn’t even on the floor, so I couldn’t have taken any decent shots, anyways. But Iron Maiden playing Toronto on my birthday was pretty much the best present ever. These guys might be getting up there in age, but they (over?)compensated by bringing the most impressive stage show I’ve ever seen–and I’ve seen Maiden a few times already!


5. Boris plays Pink @ Lee’s Palace, August 11

“For a band with such an extensive, yet varied back catalogue, Pink is often the gateway drug–the record you recommend to someone who doesn’t know where to start. And while they might have busted out Absolutego at a festival a few years ago, there’s no doubt that if they were to give one album the full tour treatment, it would be Pink.”



4. Sleep @ The Phoenix, January 22

“Seeing Sleep at The Phoenix wasn’t just another gig–it was a religious experience. Let’s just say there might have been more than one bearded dude bowing down to the almighty riff last night. And when the whole band came in at the beginning of “Dopesmoker,” everybody up front started headbanging in unison, like a buncha drugged-out monks.”



3. Saint Vitus/The Skull/Witch Mountain @ Grog Shop, Cleveland, October 8

“Now, I’ve seen Saint Vitus a couple times before, but when I got word that Scott Reagers was rejoining the band for this tour, I felt it was worth the trip to Cleveland. It didn’t hurt that there were two solid supporting acts–The Skull, which features Eric Wagner of Trouble fame, and Witch Mountain, one of my favourite female-fronted doom bands.”



2. Black Sabbath @ FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton, February 21

“Of course, I had seen Sabbath a couple times before (make that a handful if you count Heaven and Hell), but the deal here was that the first 10-15 rows were reserved for VIPs, at prices ranging from $400 to $1,500 and up. I was not prepared to pay top dollar for front-row tickets, but I did want to get close enough to actually see them play, where I didn’t hafta look up at the video monitor. I ended up in Row 10.”


1.Psycho Las Vegas @ Hard Rock Resort, Las Vegas, August 26-28

“When I first saw the lineup for Psycho Las Vegas back in February, I knew I had to be there…and they hadn’t even announced the headliners yet. There definitely hasn’t been such an impressive lineup of stoner/doom/heavy-rock outfits anywhere in North America before–this was the kind of bill you’d expect from Roadburn, before Roadburn started booking black-metal bands.”




Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for