On Mar 5, I got the chance to meet Dawn Reynolds, a grandmother, at the Royal Tusk concert held in Maxwell’s Concert House, Waterloo. “I heard of Royal Tusk for the first time last year,” Reynolds who loves the metal genre, said. “I heard their music, and I really liked what I heard. That’s why I’m here today.”
Royal Tusk is a hard rock/heavy metal band of four that started out in Edmonton, Alberta in 2013. After years of hard work and dedication to their music, they reached the level they’re at today. Royal Tusk is band with a local fan-base, three Billboard charting singles, and in the middle of their nationwide tour just after finishing touring in the U.S.
When I reached the concert venue, I suddenly became the recipient of judgmental looks from several pairs of eyes. It turns out that the stereotype of rock bands having a ‘black, leather jacket donning, tattooed and pierced’ audience was in fact, a reality. I was sticking out like a sore thumb in that environment with my bright silver shirt and no makeup.
What was shocking was that the audience was formed mostly of elderly and middle-aged people, with very few younger people in attendance. Maybe the genre itself is popular amongst the older demographic, but according to Dawn, most of the audience were there to support the band because they were from Canada. “I just like metal. But they are Canadian. I like to show support to as many Canadian bands as possible.” Other people echoed the same sentiment.
However, there were a few groups of young university students who were there to de-stress from academic pressure and enjoy a night out with friends. “I’ve never heard their stuff before,” Aleksandra Polensky said, “Just dropped by with my friends cuz this place always has good music and good alcohol.”
The evening started off with a performance from the Waterloo-based band, Amberwood. The audience responded enthusiastically, as a lot of them knew the band members personally. That combined with their charisma earned them an instant connection with the audience.
The next band, Toronto-based Ready the Prince, managed to bring in a high level of energy that brought the entire room full of people alive. They jumped around and performed in a way that bared their soul to the audience.
The third band to perform were BRKN Love, who recently released their debut album of the same name. Despite their inexperience, they performed smoothly and with confidence, showcasing amazing vocals.
The audience cheered for them in kind, welcoming them.
For the grand finale, we finally got the performance from the headliners, Royal Tusk. The environment completely changed.
Most of the audience had been eagerly anticipating this performance, and the sudden high level of charge in the air was palpable.
The very first strum from the guitarist got the entire audience on their feet and closer to the stage. Their experience and skills shone through, and it was an arresting conclusion to the wonderful night.
According to an anonymous staff member at the venue,the audience seemed more keyed up to him than the regular crowd. Such is the effect of good music.
At this point, I’d like to add in a note for people like me who have never been to a rock/metal concert before but want to try it out. Do wear ear protection (concert earplugs)–as amazing as the heavy bass vibrating inside your chest feels, having your ears ringing for two whole days afterwards is not fun. According to the lovely Dawn, they are available online for $35 a pair.
Overall, it was an evening well spent away from the throes of assignments, exams, and deadlines. It brought back my early teenage phase of obsession with rock/metal bands such as Linkin Park, and with the colour black. Amberwood, Ready the Prince, BRKN Love, and of course, Royal Tusk are all fantastic bands that everyone can enjoy and nod their heads to, so be sure to check them out on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Spotify. Royal Tusk has a lot more tour dates remaining if you want to book tickets and enjoy an invigorating night out with some friends.