Comeback Kid @ Black Cat Tavern, Saskatoon, Canada

Words: Miljan Milekić

Not too many things can make one’s blood rushing and adrenaline pumping like rolling, bone-crushing drums, steadily raising the tension until the explosion of the first scream of Comeback Kid’s classic ‘False Idols Fall.’ An opening like that, delivered by one of the best hardcore bands of their generation, could only mean one thing – we were in for a treat! This was the fourth time I saw the band live, but I don’t think they ever sounded this good and had this much fun on stage.

Taking a foot off the gas seemed like a non-option, with the combination of ‘Heavy Steps,’ ‘Do Yourself a Favor,’ and ‘Talk Is Cheap’ following right after. And this takes me to one of the things I especially liked about this show. Comeback Kid have been a band for more than two decades now, and during that time, they had a couple of lineup changes, while exploring different styles and sounds. I’ve seen a show or two in the past where it was possible to differentiate old and new fans as each new song would kick in, but here this was definitely not the case. And if there was any doubt, they were all wiped out after ‘Trouble In The Winners Circle,’ the song that’s barely out for a couple of months, wreaked havoc in front of the stage.

Comeback Kid @ Black Cat Tavern, Saskatoon / Photo: Miljan Milekić

Balancing between old and new continued with tracks like ‘Somewhere, Somehow,’ ‘G.M. Vincent & I,’ and ‘Broadcasting…’ all coming from different eras of the band, but each and every one an absolute banger and fan-favourite. At that point, it seemed like the band could not go wrong with whichever song they pulled up from under their belts, and everyone would go crazy, but when those songs were ‘All in a Year’ and ‘Absolute,’ the outcome was guaranteed. It was during the first one that singer Andrew Neufeld mentioned that Comeback Kid is slowly closing in on 25 years of being a band and took a moment to thank everyone who’s been with the band over the years. That being in between serving as a Lost and Found operator, and helping fans with locating their shoes, hats, and phones, lost during the pit, of course.

The closing of the show, as basically the whole set, was reserved for the heavy hitters, starting with ‘Wasted Arrows,’ one of the songs with a bit unusual trajectory. Without ever being a single or being accompanied by a video, the song had slowly risen to the ranks of fan-favourite and staple in the band’s sets, causing chaos in the pit. It was quickly followed by ‘Should Know Better,’ an open call for a crazy circle pit, before everyone once again went crazy for the traditional closer – ‘Wake The Dead.’

In their typical fashion, Comeback Kid brought tons of energy and once again showed why they are one of the best hardcore bands around, but they weren’t the only ones to hit the stage on the night. Spy, who are following the Winnipeg band on the entire Canadian tour provided direct support. Not really my cup of tea, but with the set they delivered, it’s clear why the Bay Area band is getting more traction in the hardcore scene. The opening slot was reserved for Regina’s young nu-metal mob Flash Back, who provided a solid set to an already packed, sold-out crowd of Black Cat Tavern. They have the songs, they have the energy, and with a bit more polishing and stage experience, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take off. The big nu-metal revival in recent times, and being part of shows like this can only help.

Comeback Kid @ Black Cat Tavern, Saskatoon / Photo: Miljan Milekić

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