On the evening of July 5th, I had the opportunity to see Kris Roe (of The Ataris fame) play an acoustic show at The Kathedral in downtown Toronto. It was something that felt very special because a) it was an acoustic performance, b) it's been 6 years since I've last seen him perform, and c) he was basically my highschool hero. His music was quite an inspiration and spirit lifter for me when I was in highschool and part of university (1999-2003).
The show opened up with 4 local bands: Dead End Girl, The Knockouts, Future's Past, and Outspoken. None of them really stood out and at least for this particular night, it was clear that the crowd was here to see Kris Roe pick up the acoustic guitar and jam the night away.
His set was filled with just about every fan favourite song. To top it all off, the last 4 songs were performed with Outspoken for a full rock out experience. I was surprised that they did "Boys of Summer" as I've heard that he loathed it for what its done to the band. But I suppose these days after all the personal trauma he's been through, that he's a bit more forgiving, opened, and welcoming to the fact that many of their fans discovered them through this single.
His setlist included (approximate order):
-Unopened Letter to the World
-I Won't Spend Another Night Alone
-Your Boyfriend Sucks
-Fast Times at Dropout High
-My Hotel Year
-I.O.U. One Galaxy
-So Long Astoria
-The Hero Dies in This One
-The Last Song I Will Ever Write About a Girl
-Broken Promise Ring
-Summerwing Was Always Our Song
And four bonus full-band songs:
-In This Diary
-random cover song
-Boys of Summer
-San Dimas Highschool Football Rules
I had the opportunity to talk to him for about 5 minutes during one of the support acts and he seemed to be in a pretty terrific mood. He was excited to be in Canada for this tour. I asked him how he felt about spending July 4th in Canada to which he said he doesn't care, "I ain' that patriotic". He also told me about the new album they've been working on. This fall they're recording a bunch of demos (some which are completed), and he hopes that the new album will be out early next year.
I'm glad he's doing these low-key acoustic shows just to get in touch with his hardcore fanbase, away from the glitz and glamour of those stadium stage shows of the past. I hope all the best for the guy and that all the personal shit that happens in life doesn't detract him from making music.
If you want to see more pictures of the show, you can find them here.