KEN mode & Birds in Row @ Bovine Sex Club, Toronto, 26 October 2018
Following the release of their impressive new album Loved in August, KEN mode has hit the road to bring the new songs to life. After a solid run of dates in the United States, the tour made its way across the border to Toronto at Bovine Sex Club. Joining KEN mode on the tour and for the first time in Canada was the French hardcore trio Birds in Row.
The show was opened by Digest and Life in Vacuum who both put on insanely impressive performances and couldn’t have done a better job to set the tone for what was to come.
As Birds in Row were setting up the mood started to change. The stage lights were dimmed except for two large floodlights illuminating the amps in the back and what followed was a very intimate and personal set. They informed the crowd that this was their first time playing in Canada and you got the sense you were witnessing something special. They demanded your attention and were incredibly passionate about the songs they were playing. The touching melodies mixed with harsh screams and destructive drums really brought these songs to another level in a live setting.
Birds in Row
KEN mode was set to hit the stage next and you could feel the anticipation. The lights went red and they were all business from the second the feedback started blaring from their amps. They opened with “Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Should” from the new album Loved and continued with a few more tracks from that to warm everybody up with. Frontman Jesse Matthewson has an uncanny ability to really take audiences out of their comfort zone and take them on a trip through what feels like a psychiatric ward. His dramatic facial expressions and shrieking vocals make it hard to take your eyes off him. With sweat and bodily fluids being spewed into the air all over the place they played a variety of songs from their last few albums and did it better than they maybe ever have. Shane Matthewson on drums and Scott Hamilton on the bass, of course, being the other culprits.
KEN mode closed the show with the very fitting “No Gentle Art” and did it very well, leaving our ears ringing and wanting more.