20 years ago, Canadian hardcore punk band Comeback Kid dropped their masterful debut album, Turn It Around.
The album was blitzkrieg fast, melodic and positive, but heavy enough not to be lumped in the emo sound that was de rigueur during the early 2000s.
Furthermore, it wasn’t the traditional hardcore song structure as the five-piece band from Winnipeg made sure the songs had their own identity from one another. The fact that songs remain a staple of Comeback Kid’s live performances to this day despite putting out eight albums proves its vitality and power.
“We still play songs from this record in every show,” corroborated vocalist Andrew Neufeld a few minutes before the visiting band’s show at Eastside.
“Listening back to it, I judge the production and it brings back a lot of memories. We were switching from analog to digital.”
“We started Comeback Kid to have this old school hardcore sound with melodic influences. We’re lucky to have it and it resonates with people to this day.”
True enough, over 400 people packed this new and popular gigging place at the boundary of Cainta and Antipolo. Having attended a bunch of shows in that venue that included the Deadstring Records roster launch and Sandwich’s 25th anniversary show, this one was not only packed, but it had everybody going off – moshing, pogoing, jumping off the stage, and plain going nuts.
Clearly over in this side of the world, people know Comeback Kid and their songs – including the new ones from the latest album, “Heavy Steps.”
“That was a better reaction than we expected,” commented guitarist Jeremy Hiebert, one of two original members left in this quintet along with Neufeld. “It was a solid, sweaty, and true hardcore show. The crowd brought it.”
Neufeld was ecstatic about the reception to “Heavy Steps” even if the album isn’t available domestically with fans only ordering it online.
“When you go out of your way to order a record that isn’t available here, we’re happy, dude,” enthused Neufeld. “I love the production on ‘Heavy Steps’ and we pushed ourselves on it. You can tell it is an elevated sound that leans to metal with heavier guitar tones.”
“Song-wise we pushed ourselves to write the best songs we could. As we say, the proof is in the pudding when people go off on the new songs.”
And boy did they get off.
The first song on the almost hour-long set was the title track of their latest album, “Heavy Steps.” And the crowd sang back the chorus to them.
Comeback Kid lit the fuse and the capacity crowd detonated with spastic abandon. It was a mosh-fest for almost an hour with the energy not slackening one iota.
“Back in Winnipeg, I have a lot of Filipino friends and they have been telling me to visit the Philippines. Granted we’re flying in and out and we’re not even here for 24 hours, there is still an impact. We’d love to go back and go around.”
Hiebert said they were pleasantly surprised when Sleeping Boy Collective, the concert promotional outfit brought them over. We’ve been around, but this is a first here. We just love going to new places. And to know there are these fans of our band here makes it even sweeter.”
Image credits: Rick Olivares