The Toronto-based record label for all things heavy, New Damage Records, has sent off a trio of iconic, contemporary, Canadian bands to brave the (not-so) cold February weather and tour Ontario and Quebec for their Fiends of Winter tour. On February 19 the tour stars Niagara hometown heroes Heavy Hearts, Sparrows of Toronto, and Life In Vacuum of Waterloo and stopped at the L3 Nightclub Downtown with local opening act Output starting the evening off rockin’.
In September, Sparrows released their new album entitled Let the Silence Stay Where it Was, and in some ways, the album is a sign of the band coming back from the dead. Dan Thomson, the group’s frontman describes 2014 and 2015 as “kind of rough years for reasons that were out of [the band’s] control. We had numerous physical injuries with band members that were all flukes.
“Our old bass player broke his finger playing basketball and then re-broke it while we were on tour — so he made it worse because we didn’t know it was broken — and we ended up having to cancel almost three weeks of shows because the doctor was like ‘if you keep playing you are going to split that bone open completely’.”
“Then we had a Fall tour that was looking like it was going to be incredible and on the first day I slipped and fell and tore my tricep, and that just destroyed the rest of the year. Our Draggin Hell EP had just come out at that point, and we only played three shows in support of it,” he continues.
Thompson then assumed that he would be better in a few weeks and Sparrows booked a show. “So I took my arm out of the sling and played guitar for the first time in I think a month, and I wanted to throw up I was in so much pain”.
Thompson says that “a lot of [Let the Silence Stay Where it Was] is the resulting self-doubt and trying to deal with the complexities of having stuff that’s out of your control control what’s happening. There’s a lot of me being angry too because I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a control freak, but I like to be involved”.
If Sparrows has been reanimated into a rage fueled zombie, Live In Vacuum has become somewhat vampiric, never stopping, never sleeping, and endlessly touring the globe, not that the band would have it any other way. “If my count is not off, this is our 25th tour; we just do our thing. We practice, write songs and play shows,” says Ross Chornyy, the band’s drummer.
Ross says that he and his brother Sasha “grew up in Ukraine. We got into playing music when we lived there. We played in different bands, we went to the same shows and were just together all the time. However, we never really played music together, but when we moved to Canada, we didn’t really know anybody, so we started this band together like 10 years ago.”
Sasha comments that “[the band has] been lucky the last couple of years to go to South America, Mexico, Europe. We really didn’t do any Canada/U.S., apart from a few dates here and there. We got to go to Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and then Europe for a month. So we haven’t been back in Ontario in a long time.”
All four bands played amazing sets and captivated the packed crowd.