It was a scorching hot evening of modern rock last Friday at Sugar Nightclub, as the boys from Hollerado got turnt up for their first visit to Victoria since their main stage show at Rifflandia back in 2015. So far, 2017 has been a busy year for the Ottawa indie rock quartet, starting with them joining Sam Roberts Band for a chunk of Canadian and U.S. dates, then opening up for Sum 41’s “Don’t Call It A Sum-Back Tour” tour with shows in the UK, Belgium, and Finland, plus an appearance at March’s SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas thrown in for good measure. The band then dropped their third studio album Born Yesterday on April 14 and is currently in the midst of their own headlining Canadian tour that will wind up at the end of this month in London, Ontario.
The Sugar show featured a couple of opening acts, with Montreal-based Everett Bird leading off and Toronto garage pop outfit Little Junior upping the ante before the main event. The latter group intensified the proceedings as their set wore on, appealing to the crowd with their discordant, bombastic sound and satirical lyrics, and closing out with a cover of Wheatus’ anthemic ode to angsty youth everywhere, “Teenage Dirtbag.” This easily elicited the biggest crowd response of their performance with everyone belting out the lyrics at full volume—definitely a great choice of closing songs.
Hollerado then graced the stage for their set, and as advertised, they delivered a searing, high-energy performance that whipped the fervent crowd into an absolute frenzy as they swayed to their favourite tracks like “Americanarama,” “Pick Me Up,” “Juliette,” and “So It Goes.” The band also featured several songs off their new album, including “Eloise” and the title track, “Born Yesterday”. Between songs, frontman Menno Versteeg peppered in some entertaining personal anecdotes about his previous experiences in Victoria, keeping the mood light.
One thing that impresses us most about Hollerado is the frequency in which they get airborne during a show. The amount of jumping while guitar-playing seems akin to a high-intensity plyometric workout, and the inherent dynamism of the band’s effort here is echoed back at the stage by the audience, resulting in a few instances of crowd-surfing, much to the security staff’s dismay.
In the latter part of the show, black lights illuminated the mystery of an ostensibly plain white sheet that had been hanging at the back of the stage all night. The long-wave ultraviolet light revealed hidden runes painted on the sheet, as well as the band’s instruments. Turns out these mysterious runes were just replicas of the hand-drawn peace sign that serves as the album artwork for Born Yesterday, but we can still pretend there is some hidden deeper meaning behind the imagery.
All in all, Hollerado turned in a stellar performance and we look forward to their next trip to the Island.