Knuckle Puck / Citizen / HUNNY / Oso Oso Opera House, Toronto ON, May 12
Published May 13, 2019Knuckle Puck have been a band for a decade and are one of the most talented bands to come out of the modern pop punk scene in a while. Their 2015 debut, Copacetic, drew in a loyal fan base that has had their back ever since. Their 2017 release, Shapeshifter, drew in more fans and has helped cement them as a mainstay in the scene. On the third night of their current headlining tour with Citizen, they played to a packed Opera House in Toronto.
Oso Oso were first to take the stage, playing a set of slower, poppy songs that got the people's heads bopping. The band broke up the lull with bouncy guitar solos and catchy sing-along choruses. They saved the two more upbeat songs for last, getting the crowd to clap along to the beat. "Reindeer Games" was the most memorable song, the line "I mean if you want / we can just stay here" sticking out. Oso Oso played technically very well, but lacked stage presence.
Californian rock band HUNNY brought an '80s dance pop vibe that was, at first, quite refreshing. The pink-haired lead singer commanded the stage, wearing an acid wash denim jacket and dangly earrings. Almost every song had a signature driving bass line and thumping kick drum, causing the floor to shake. During the last song, the band's frontman stood on the barrier and sang directly to the first row, causing a few fans to scream. HUNNY played a fun and upbeat set, but the songs sounded so similar they blended into each other.
Citizen opened with fan favourite "Jet"; the first three rows were a squishy mess of determined guys and screaming gals. People weren't afraid to shove others back and throw some elbows in order to keep their prime spot. A never-ending wave of crowd surfers made their way to the stage, kicking some faces along the way. Lead vocalist Mat Kerekes delivered every song with conviction.
Knuckle Puck vocalist Joe Taylor used every inch of the stage to his advantage, getting even the fans standing by the speakers headbanging. The band played fan favourites "Evergreen," "Double Helix" and "Gone," and had every person in the room singing along to every word. Halfway through the set, Taylor asked for a circle pit, which upped the chaos in the venue. The band closed the show with "Plastic Brains" before jumping back on stage to perform "Fences" for the encore. After playing a set that flawless, there is no doubt that Knuckle Puck will be a household name in pop punk for years to come.