Show Review: Leftover Crack At The Opera House

By Grace Guimond, Feature Photo via FTLoP//taken by Dawn Wilson

The last time NYC crust-punks Leftover Crack tried to come to Canada, in 2007, they didn’t make it across the border due to priors, with lead vocalist Scott “Stza” Sturgeon proclaiming, “I’ll be back up to Canada, they wish they could keep me from sneaking into their psuedo-liberal [sic] nation. I will play there again.” Nine years later, I find myself frantically slamming the refresh button on TicketWeb for a Leftover Crack show at the Rockpile. The event sold out within hours. Considering what happened in 2007, coupled with the Rockpile’s history of occasionally not cancelling shows when headliners bail and then refusing refunds (re: Slim Jesus’s mic snatch), this was somewhat of an accomplishment—although selling out a punk show in a couple hours with strictly online tickets isn’t very punk. A few days later, a second show at the Opera House got added, so I sold my tickets and got new ones. Because, y’know, Etobicoke.

We got to the mostly empty Opera House midway through the second opener, Last Imprint, a kind of nu-metal rock band that didn’t really seem to fit the bill (but that could just be me being bitter considering that Days n’ Daze, the Houston thrash-grass four-piece opener for every other night on Leftover Crack’s current tour, was sidelined for a selection of local bands—the other local band being Stinkbox). Tickets had long since sold out, but there was still ample room by the time Leftover Crack went on. Although it was an all-ages show, it looked like I was one of the youngest there.

I went with my boyfriend, who was super eager to relive the nostalgia of his first punk show—he’d seen Leftover Crack at their first Toronto show 15 years ago, promoting their first full length, Mediocre Generica. At the 2001 show, the entire room was one gigantic, inescapable circle pit, which left him in tattered rags. The 2016 crowd, however, was underwhelming—no fights broke out, no teeth were lost, barriers were set up to prevent stage diving, and although there was plenty of singing along to “Fuck the police! They’re gang control!” and “One dead cop/No more donut shop/More dead cops/Might make the hurting stop,” no one actually got rowdy. It was super tame for a punk show—I’ve gotten more bruises at emo shows. The venue could have had something to do with it. The Opera House is spacious, security is strict, and drinks are priced too high to incite rowdiness.

The best part of the night was the handful of Choking Victim covers the band played (for those unfamiliar, Choking Victim is one of the many branches of the Leftover Crack family tree, mostly all tying back to Stza).

Bottom line is, Leftover Crack and Leftover Crack shows aren’t what they used to be. The crowd was totally different than what it would have been ten-15 years ago, and that made a palpable atmospheric difference. It’s not “cool ”to listen to Leftover Crack anymore—all of the crusty freight-riders have moved on. But I’m not about to turn down an opportunity to scream along about anarchy with a few hundred people, so I still had a decently solid time. ACAB, etc.

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