While I don’t wish ill will on anyone, Zakk Wylde’s illness turned out to be a blessing in disguise last night. The bill was originally supposed to be Black Label Society, Corrosion of Conformity and Eyehategod at Rebel Nightclub, but after Mr. Pinch Harmonic dropped off, the remaining acts were moved downtown to the Opera House. Eyehategod might be no strangers to serving time in the middle of nowhere, but fortunately their first Toronto show took place in the middle of Riverdale, instead.
You know who else was glad Zakk Sabbath couldn’t play? Local openers Ol’ Time Moonshine and Pale Mare, who got added at the last minute. The former practically worships at the altar of COC, while the latter’s gritty sludge got us ready for EHG.
Unfortunately, Ol’ Time Moonshine‘s set was slightly diminished by a faulty guitar amp, but for the fairly sizeable contingent who showed up early (there was a line outside at 7:30!), they succeeding in setting the tone for the evening with their secret blend of southern-fried doom ‘n spices.
Pale Mare brought a little more darkness to the proceedings, combining some slow, sludgy riffs with a few aggressive hardcore breaks. I was actually surprised they didn’t start a mosh pit…
Now, when I first got word that Eyehategod had a Toronto gig coming up, our esteemed Hellbound founder informed me that they had not made it across the border for any scheduled appearances since at least 1995. So I don’t think anyone had really been getting their hopes up until they posted a border-crossing selfie the night before–with Brian Patton noticeably absent. That’s right, they played their first Toronto gig as a four-piece. And while the muddy acoustics of the Opera House couldn’t quite compare to the cramped confines of The Bug Jar in Rochester for yours truly, the Toronto crowd was very, very appreciative that they’d finally graced us with their presence.
Don’t get me wrong, COC’s first Toronto show with Pepper back in the band was a pretty sweet gig in 2015, but they’ve added a whole buncha seasoning in the two-plus years since, cooking up an even tastier performance this time around. Surprisingly, they didn’t really play anything from their brand new album, but gave us a lot of the tunes that we wanted to hear. And man, those gang choruses were on point!