By Johnny Papan
CALGARY – 16On the grind for more than a decade, Comeback Kid has been a dominant force in the hardcore punk scene. Founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba at the strike of the new millennium, their fast, heavy, aggressive and melodic sound has gained them notoriety both nationally and internationally, recently taking the quintet through South America and Europe.
“We do a lot of international touring,” explains rhythm guitarist Stu Ross, who joined the band in 2012. A member of metalcore icons Misery Signals and formerly of pop punk at Living With Lions, Ross has recently acquired the job of talent booker at The Cobalt, one of Vancouver’s most notorious live music venues. Ross recalls some of the band’s craziest experiences performing abroad.
“A few years back in Bandung, Indonesia we had a show cancelled due to what local police chalked up to permit issues,” he says.
“The promoter ended up moving the show onto a military police base about an hour from the city. We had to surrender our passports upon entry.”
Without any idea of what to expect, the band was taken to a defunct bunker where they were greeted by a roaring crowd of more than 700 people.
“The place had dirt floors, a concrete stage and a hole in the ground to piss in, but there was a regular functioning P.A. system. The show was super fun and well worth the wait.”
Another show was cancelled in Tel Aviv, Israel. Last minute, the band was invited to play at a 200 capacity DIY venue instead. “The show was fucking nuts. Wall-to-wall people, hotter than hell, so much energy and excitement. It made for such a memorable experience.”
In 2014, during a South African tour, shows went smoothly and CBK performed in front of hundreds of fans each night.
“The craziest thing was the actual travel through the country, city to city, the townships, the countryside. We got to play with cheetahs, horseback with giraffes, and swim with sharks. So that whole trip was pretty nuts over all.”
Recently, the group showed their charitable side, playing a full set of mosh-worthy tracks at the For the Children festival in Los Angeles. A charity event, attendees were required to donate toys upon entry, which would be given to children in need.
“It’s a cool festival with a really great cause. We were happy and honoured to have been involved with such a special event.”
Comeback Kid headlined this two-day festival, packing the Union Hall alongside some of the grittiest punk bands from around the globe. The angelic nature of the event, however, would not stop the show from becoming a heavenly combustion. A video of Comeback Kid’s set, which can be found on YouTube, shows fans thrashing from all angles, toppling over each other, jumping on stage and throwing themselves back into the thunderous sea-like pit. The band would end the night with one of their biggest hits, “Wake the Dead.”
Alas, a truck would leave the venue jam-packed with toys, and rowdy audience members would exit with proudly worn battle-scars.
Comeback Kid is currently writing the follow-up to their 2014 album, Die Knowing, anticipated for a Summer 2017 release. Perhaps some new songs will be tested out on this tour, but perhaps not: regardless, the shows will have attendees swinging from the rafters in jubilation.
Comeback Kid performs May 24 with Cro-Mags at The Park Theatre (Winnipeg), May 27 at Marquee Beer Market and Stage (Calgary), and May 28 at the Rickshaw Theatre/Red Room (Vancouver).Comeback Kid, Cro-Mags, The Park Theatre