Concert Review: Kasabian @ Kool Haus, Toronto, Canada

In England, Kasabian are a massive, massive band, headlining multiple consecutive, sold out nights at the O2 Arena in London, and even playing a New Years Eve show there. On New Years Eve, I decided to get drunk and watch fireworks for free, which sounds a lot more lame now that it’s written down for the world to see. In North America, Kasabian are still building their fan base, meaning lucky fans (like PeteHatesMusic correspondent, Millar), get to see them in smaller venues. Last night, the sold-out Kool Haus in Toronto, was one of those venues.

The show was moved from it’s original location at the Phoenix, meaning I lined up for hours at the wrong spot and got the hint when I was the only one there come show time. Once more people learn about the awesomeness that are Kasabian, soon we’ll be lining up outside the Air Canada Centre. Next album, lads!

At 9:50 PM, the stage was bathed in blue light and atmospheric bass-heavy intro-music came over the loudspeakers. The crowd, ranging in age from 8 (not my date – honest!) to about 58 (not my Dad – honest!), gave the band a racous greeting before being blasted with the first song of the night, ‘Days are Forgetten’.

Upon its completion, lead singer Tom Meighan (sporting hip, indoor sunglasses) told the crowd, “It’s nice to see you Toronto, we haven’t been here in a long time”. As far as I know this was Kasabian’s first visit back to Toronto to play a gig since September of 2006 (but fact checking is at a minimum here at PHM). Sergio Pizzorno is sporting a Spinal Tap-esque haircut that I just can’t get the nerve to try myself.

The next song was a well-known fan-favorite from the Empire album, ‘Shoot the Runner’. Following that, guitarist and main songwriter of the band, Serge started “Velociraptor!” off solo before the rest of band joined in. Along the way, the lyrics in the chorus were cleverly changed from ‘Velociraptor’ to “Toronto-raptor”. The crowd reacted with obvious enthusiasm at the mention of their terrible home-town basketball team.

The first two songs off of Kasabian’s third album, “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum”, came next with the band playing ‘Underdog’ and ‘Where Did All the Love Go?’ before moving on to “I.D.”. A few lines of The Doors’ “People are Strange” were added to the end of ‘Thick as Thieves’, fitting as both songs do sound quite similar.

‘Black Whistler’ was dedicated by Pizzorno “to all the pot smokers”, adding “I know there are a lot of you, I can smell it”. Come on, Serge – this isn’t drug-riddled Miami, where they make out with trees. The crowd seemed quiet during this song, seeming not quite familiar with this non-album track.

They weren’t quiet for long though as the hard-hitting “Club Foot” followed, allowing for maximum crowd participation, singing-along to this hit from the band’s first album. A newer single, “Re-wired”, kept the pace going before Kasabian launched into their hit, ‘Empire’, from 2006. The best part of hearing this song live is always the crowd singing along to the “we’re all wasting away-a-a-a” line.

Next, the band slowed it down a notch, playing another new tune, ‘Man of Simple Pleasures” (introduced as “another song off ‘Toronto-raptor!'”), before launching into the driving “Fast Fuse”. This ‘barn-burner’ of a song had everyone fully rocking out. L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever) from Kasabian’s self-titled debut disc received a big ovation with Pizzorno leading the crowd in a singalong at the song’s end as the rest of the band left the stage.

After a brief encore wait, the electronic-y loop sound from the start of “Switchblade Smiles” came over the loudspeakers and all the stage lights began flashing on a giant mirror-ball hanging over the centre of the audience while the band made their way back onstage. 2009’s ‘Vlad the Impaler’ and ‘Fire’ finished the concert off. The crowd went nuts for these last two songs, and the “fun police” were on alert as a mosh pit might have been in danger of breaking out, with most of the crowd jumping up and down like crazy.

Overall, this was a great sounding show. Kasabian sound every bit as good live as they do on record. Also, they looked like they were genuinely having a good time on-stage. It has been too long since they last rocked Toronto and I hope they will return soon to do it again.

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PHM Rating: 8.0 out of 10
Setlist for Kasabian @ Kool Haus, Toronto, Canada – March 29, 2012

Days are Forgotten
Shoot the Runner
Torontoraptor Velociraptor!
Where Did All the Love Go?
Thick as Thieves (plus a touch of The Doors’ People Are Strange)
Black Whistler
Club Foot
Man of Simple Pleasures
Fast Fuse
L.S.F (Lost Souls Forever)

Switchblade Smiles
Vlad the Impaler

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4 Responses

  1. robert fraser says:

    even though you’re obviously a fan, you’ve given a fair review. i’ve been in to Kasabian since the first album (must have had something to do with living in England…), and was feeling hugely fortunate to see them in such a small venue. you wouldn’t be able to get that close to them in Europe even if you were neighbors.

    the best part was the sound. mind you, this is a hard charging rock and roll outfit, but there are beautiful subtleties in all their tracks, between the keyboards and guitars, between the vocal harmonies, and nothing was lost in the near perfect mix at Kool Haus.

    another brilliant aspect of this show was that it didn’t rip your head off decibal wise – a sure sign of a band confident enough in the power of the songs, needing not to overpower you with volume.

    a seriously talented band rolled through Toronto last night.

  2. Dale says:

    Killer review. The 8 year wasn’t my date, either! Great show from a fab band.

  3. Amanda says:

    When I first heard they were coming to town and to such a small venue I have to admit to thinking that I’d hit the jackpot; I’d never have been lucky enough to have seen them like this if I’d have been in the UK.

    As Robert says, the sound was great, and the band themselves seemed to enjoy the evening. This gal feels extremely, extremely fortunate to have seen them before they – surely? – take off here in North America.

    Terrific show. Terrific band.

  1. 2012/06/19

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