Show Review: Tiny Moving Parts At Sneaky Dee’s, Bled Fest

By Grace Guimond, Feature Photo via Bandcamp

Last week, math rockers Tiny Moving Parts (TMP) and southeast emos Free Throw (self-described as “the Drake of punk”) hit up Sneaky Dee’s as part of Tiny Moving Parts’ first headlining tour, in support of their latest release Celebrate. Prawn was also on the bill, but Prawn is kind of boring and a bit too beard-core for my tastes, so they will be notably absent from this review – sorry dudes.

The crowd was pretty small, even for the venue size. Possibly because Homesick was throwing one of their infamous (i.e lame) “Emo Nights” in the space after the show. As an aside, if you’ve never been to one, save your $5. Last time I went, songs included “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit, and “All Star” by Smash Mouth. Very emotive hardcore of you, Homesick.

Every person I talked to that night told me that the draw for them was the local support (Growing Fins), which was kind of odd and made me kind of sad. TMP, Prawn, and Free Throw are all pretty big, generally selling out plenty of American tour dates and attracting huge draws, so I found it weird and slightly disappointing that there were so many door tickets available, and that most people didn’t come to see the touring bands anyways– however, Nestor from PUP and a couple of the guys from Seaway totally did.

Free Throws set had maybe like, four or five people in the “pit” –for lack of a better word– and TMP had maybe, like, fifteen. The audience for the Sneaky Dee’s show mainly hung out in the back, and I kind of got the impression that a sizeable chunk of people were unfamiliar with everyone but the local support, and mostly there for Homesick’s Big Shiny Tunes Night. Chatting with the bands after the show, we told them that we were driving down to Michigan the next day to see them play Bled Fest (Big Love’s Education Festival, an annual and intimate emo/pop punk/metal festival currently in its twelfth year).

Free Throw’s first Canadian show was cool, but their Bled Fest set was ten times cooler. The crowd was super, super into it, sang every word, and was positively huge compared to the Toronto show the day before. The pit was dope; the twenty or so odd crowd surfers landing on my head slightly less so. Not that I have anything against crowd surfers per se, but when the stage is level to the floor, the audience is nearing fifty percent teenage girls, and you’re a big and burly six foot dude who spends the entirety of a set stage diving, maybe try also being aware of the space you’re occupying. Bros, fall back!

Nonetheless, I emerged from the pit bruised, triumphant, soaking wet, and really glad that Free Throw got the crowd they deserved, which Toronto abhorrently failed to deliver.

My favourite part of Free Throw’s Bled Fest set? Right before they started: “We’re Free Throw from Nashville and this is our first year playing Bled Fest! And there’s people here who saw us play in Canada last night and drove all the way down here to see us play again today!” My first shout-out. Tight.

Tiny Moving Parts Bled Fest set was equally intense. The crowd was infinitely bigger, infinitely more into it, and very obviously fans.

Bled Fest highlights: a pleasantly surprising lack of The Story So Far tees in lieu of “Defend Girls, Not Pop Punk” ones; a bro asking me if my Daniel Johnston tattoo was “from his friends’ band” (because random Canadians have totally discovered your boys’ power violence three-piece vis a vis Myspace and decided to permanently commemorate it on their bodies); Cameron Boucher from Sorority Noise recognizing me after seeing his band for like, the fourth time and stopping to chat; Andy Maddox, vocalist for The Saddest Landscape, jumping into the pit during their set and dishing out a round of high-fives; the four people who complimented my hair; The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die’s soundcheck (which took like, ten minutes. And watching the soundcheck guys flounder against the stacked lineup they clearly hadn’t anticipated was a funny joke); street tacos; and the amount of bands selling beer cozies, which I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen at a merch table before. I got a Grey Matter cozy and my friend got a Free Throw one. “Make America Skank Again,” and “1999 BYOB Champions,” respectively.

Other highlights included walking across an honest-to-god cornfield to get to the venue. Rural America, you are weird. Bled Fest downsides: bros in the crowd unprimed on how to act at all-ages events, the exchange rate, and the dude who grabbed my neck in a chokehold in an attempt to crowd surf. Thanks for letting me practice my elbowing skills.

Some sets I caught: Aaron West (side project and alter ego of Dan Campbell from The Wonder Years), The Saddest Landscape, Sorority Noise, Old Grey, Tidal, Free Throw, Tiny Moving Parts, The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, and Knuckle Puck.

Overall, I was super surprised at how little the crowd was into the Toronto shows, but the intense energy of everyone in Michigan more than made up for it. I’ll take overly passionate–albeit a little pushy– bros over unenthused stragglers any day. Bruises come with the territory; apathy shouldn’t.

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