It’s no surprise that the ethereal Metal that comes from Victoria, BC’s Spiritbox has garnered them more than a bit of recognition. Having spent time touring with a number of remarkable acts like Ghost, Underoath, and more, with performances ranging from small, local venues holding no more than 500 people, to stadiums and festivals packing in the thousands, Spiritbox has earned their time in the sun… and finally they have it.
On their first headline tour, Spiritbox traversed North America accompanied by their friends in After the Burial, and the talented instrumentalists of Intervals. This eclectic blend of musical creativity not only brought fans together from across the metalverse but, helped old fans hear something entirely new, and make new fans of their fellow musical acts.
The show had been sold out for some time, with fans traveling in from hours away just to their hands on merch, and witness the experience that is Spiritbox live. And of course, it came with a ton of intrigue.
History is a newer venue in downtown Toronto. It offers ample parking, accessibility via transit, plenty of options for before and after show meals, as well as a variety of other conveniences. Inside, metal detectors greet you, making your move into the venue much faster than many others. There is no pat down, just a simple bag and ID check, your items go into a tray, and you pass on through. There is a water refill station inside, so once you buy ONE bottle of water, you can refill it as many times as needed. Bathrooms are large with plenty of stalls and top notch cleanliness.
Not only can you refill your water but, security will hand out FREE water bottles between sets to keep fans hydrated and happy without having to leave their spot at the barricade. AMAZING! Parking is steep in pricing, and it isn’t the best with only one entry and exit point but, it has unbeatable availability. I could go on about this venue and how it is well-designed, with solid acoustics, and viewing points but, you can see with some of the below photos.
Taking the stage in their hometown, Intervals performed a dazzling set of instrumental tunes that reminded me so much of Final Fantasy, and other RPGS. From vicious boss battles, to wandering dungeons, Intervals created a soundscape like no other that had me, and many fans completely immersed in the experience. The imagery, and vividness that came with every tune, from mild to exciting, built up visions, dreams, and memories long forgotten. It was the perfect, easy opener yet, had the floor absolutely packed with curious onlookers, new listeners, and long-time fans.
Progressive Metal giants After The Burial took the stage soon after, unleashing a firestorm of vocal prowess and maddening instrumentals. From bass and drum beats that bludgeoned the crowd, to distortion and solos that had the mosh pit going absolutely feral, After The Burial came with high expectations, and they brought us their very best.
From “Lost In The Static” to “Behold The Crown“, the band wasted no time in keeping energy at an all time high both on stage and on the floor. You could feel the crowd tighten with every track they played, and when they unleashed the finale, the crowd couldn’t help but scream for more.
When Spiritbox took the stage later in the evening, you could feel the shift in the crowd. The brutality and energy that had come with After The Burial was pushed aside for the heavy fans and followers of the headliner. From young to old, there was excitement in the air, and nervousness in the feet.
“Sunkiller“‘s ethereal beat brought screams to the surface, echoing throughout the venue like an anxious symphony. But, when Courtney finally took the stage, that fearsome symphony grew tenfold. A bit of a mishap with sound made everything a bit off at first but, it was soon corrected, and Courtney’s vocals cascaded over the crowd, bringing the shouts to a dull hum, and pulling attention front and center. It was all peaceful glory until Courtney’s vocals dropped and we witnessed the fearsome growls and harshness that she can belt out with absolute domination. Fans went wild, myself included, and the once quieted atmosphere blew up.
The energy was rising, and “Hurt You” followed up which got fans singing along further, voices cracking to be heard and bodies moving to the melody without hesitation. The heaviness that comes with this track brought out headbangers, head bobbers, and even a few moshers. It was quite the mix and with Courtney’s harsh vocals to accompany that vibe, the chaos only quickened.
“Yellow Jacket” followed up which saw screams echo out, and guitarist Mike Stringer take the place of Sam Carter, which was a welcome addition. Mike’s vocals, accompanying Courtney’s, were both astounding and beautiful. It was the perfect, delicate contrast to Courtney’s harsh and distorted sound on this track. He managed the highs, lows, and impact with grace, as if it were second nature, and it was stunning.
My moment came when “Rule of Nines” began with a crimson backdrop, fire, and blood. My favourite song from the Spiritbox releases thus far, I couldn’t help but go all out, and the crowd’s energy helped to boost my confidence. Word for word, I scream-sang along, letting my heart absolutely fall to pieces. It’s an odd piece, both heavy and melodic, almost bringing a hypnotic state with its vocals and mystifying presence, which I, naturally, fell in love with.
Fans were also graced with the newest release titled “The Void” which had some fans surprised at the lighter, more rock sound, and others enthralled. It’s upbeat, catchy, and very melodic, with speed at its back and vicious drums keeping the beat running strong all throughout. Definitely one of my newer favourites for its melodic beauty, and its catchyness.
“Halycon” followed much to fans’ delight, as well as “Circle With Me” – one of the more popular tracks, that had fans jumping and head-banging even up in the balcony. But, it was their cover of No Doubt‘s “Hella Good” that brought out Courtney’s signature ‘ass-shaking music’ that had fans on their feet and moving around. Not being a huge No Doubt fan in my later years, I was still pleasantly surprised at how solid this cover was both in sound and performance. Fans of all sorts were moving and jumping without a second thought, and it was wonderful to witness.
Favourites “Rotoscope” And “Secret Garden” also took the helm, bringing out wells of emotion from the crowd, and calming things for a brief time. Tears were shed, hands were held, and lighters and phone lights speckled the darkened room, all moving to Courtney’s seamless voice as it washed over us. This lead into “The Mara Effect Pt. 3” as if to give the crowd a breather before the big drop, which fans both eagerly anticipated, and feared.
“Holy Roller” echoed out of the speakers, and Courtney walked the stage, a grin evident as she knew what she was about to unleash. The crowd had lost all sanity and went into madness for this track, bodies shifting from one side to another, and couples getting lost in a sea of head-bangers, moshers, and dancers. It was a rush of adrenaline that had taken hold, and pushed itself through in an array of lights and sound that brought fans to the edge of chaos, happy to indulge.
“Hysteria” followed, as if offering a breath of fresh air while still grasping fans tight with the heaviness that Spiritbox relentlessly unleashed. Of course, the evening had to wind down, and what better way to do so than with the beautiful, and sorrowful sound of “Constance“.
The lighters and cell phone lights once more stood, with signs before us reading they had waited their entire lives for Spiritbox and the music that perfectly conveyed the emotions they’d felt. It was a beautiful moment, one that fans collectively shared with hands clutched to their chests, swaying back and forth and singing softly along.
This energy carried into “Eternal Blue” – the perfect finale. Courtney’s gentle vocals once more fell upon us like rain drops, easy and welcome among a sea of fury and uncertainty. It had both the heaviness we still desired, and the gentleness we needed as if to lull us to sleep. It was like having your hand held, and being told ‘everything will be okay’. You felt the calm, the tranquility wash over as fans began to disperse and whimper in knowledge of the evening’s end closing in.
Spiritbox captivated audiences once more, this time as a headliner, and gave us the perfect setlist of emotion, creativity, and growth. From their early works, to their emotional cliff-hangers, and even brand new tracks, fans were delighted with each and every track, shouting, singing, and dancing along without a care.
I can’t wait for their return, and I know that the only way for Spiritbox to go now is upward and onward!