Who: Skullfist, Adrien Sawyer
Where: The Hard Luck, Toronto
This is an interesting combination. This night, instead of doing the usual, bring 2/3 other bands out to support you, Skullfist instead decided that their homecoming show (fresh from Japan!) would be a double set with a stand up comedian going in between. Alrighty.
The first set that Skullfist’s played was dedicated to all brand new material. The band definitely sticks what they know best: Awesome, soaring melodic speed metal. While nothing appears to trump classics like Head of the Pack or No False Metal, the new material did seemed overall better then the songs from Skullfist’s that haven’t become crowd favourites. I also noticed a slight Gamma Ray-esque power metal element creeping in (they do play melodic trad/speed, so this kind of evolution is to be expected), especially in regards to the choruses which were a lot more focused on choruses which were more majestic and grand. [7.5]
As the intermission began, stand up comedian Adrian Sawyer came to the stage. I’m not sure if he’s friends with the band or something, but he seemed to have a good style and was definitely funny. He made a few jokes about Barrie, which is where most of my family is from, and to say it influenced my personality would be an understatement, so obviously I enjoyed those. Although I think there was only four other Barrie people there, so a lot of his jokes were lost. As for the rest, although nothing was gut bustlingly hilarious, it was incredibly memorable ( his jokes about food basics and asking for an Amber alert on his stolen McCain super-fries have already been personalized into inside jokes between my greasy peer group) and I think he’ll get only better with time. He tended to rely on the same transition phrases between jokes which got a little annoying, but that’s it in terms of negative aspects. 
Skullfist part II, as front man/guitarist Jackie Slaughter put it, was based around their pre-existing set and with that we got a much more focused, better rehearsed show. I wasn’t aware of the decorations during the first set, but the props and such were great. Fake Halloween skulls placed on mic stands, on the floor and other parts of the stage, which was awesome, and overall the stage looked more a kin to what a doom or black metal band might play on. Anyway, as for their performance, it was as energetic and full of flair as any show one might have seen in the 80s. The duel guitar wizardry and stunts would remind anyone of the stage dynamics that bands like Iron Maiden and Van Halen applied, being full of lead guitar tradeoffs, acrobatics and other various co-operative stunts by the band. There was even a fan who was feeding the band beer during guitar solos, showing just how well this band has its live show together. Hell, lead guitarist Johnny Exciter jumped up on Jackie Slaughter’s shoulders and both played their bits just as well (Johnny’s guitar smashing a light bulb in the process, but I feel that was planned). Simply put, I don’t think I’ve seen another band with this much energy and charisma. This was a great show, and I’m sure Skullfist made the Japanese crowd go insane during their stint there. I hope the new materiel see’s the light of day soon and I can only recommend these guys if you love any sort of traditional heavy metal or just love the flair 80s rock bands added to their shows. [8.5]