By Trevor Morelli
CALGARY – Don’t get us wrong: hardcore shows are pretty good these days. But… Toronto’s No Warning miss the times when going to see your favourite punk rock show meant there was a good chance of leaving with a broken rib.
“I liked when hardcore shows were scary and you thought you might get killed by some scary asshole from a hard crew or something,” rails frontman Ben Cook.
“That felt like a rush, and the musical portion of this experience was perfect!”
For adrenaline seekers like Cook, shady venues and reckless thrash bands painted the scene for some of his favourite memories.
“Seeing bands like Merauder years ago in sketchy venues in Buffalo,” were one highlight of a life well-wasted. “Or seeing one of the shows when the Cro-Mags first came back, when CBGB’s was still around.”
Those were the days, alright. These days, Cook is all business. It’s nose to the grindstone promoting No Warning’s latest effort, Torture Culture(2017), a venture that will take him and his bandmates, guitarists Jordan Posner and Matt DeLong, bassist Ryan Gavel and drummer Jesse Labovitz, across Canada, working their way from Quebec to Victoria.
Nowadays, it’s a bit different, you know everyone in the room basically because of Instagram, but you don’t really know them at all – and the energy is much more light, not intimidating, and soft,” Cook notes.
“It’s still anxious and awkward, as hardcore shows always are, but in a different way. I can appreciate both sides of my hardcore experience in my life, and I still very much like seeing new bands and meeting and collaborating with new people.”
That said, if you’re waiting for Cook to ‘heart’ your Instagram snaps from their shows you’re gonna have a bad night, as Cook lists the narcissism platform as one of the stupidest trends in music. The singer-songwriter’s other peeves extend to “Anything involving trap EDM drum samples, pretending you skate and white guys singing in a falsetto baby voice to jazz chords.”
Tough love, indeed.
Even after 20 years of doing things himself as a musician, booker, promoter, and provocateur Cook says some people close to him still can’t wrap their heads around his choice of careers.
It’s funny when friends, or family, don’t really understand what you do, and don’t think you have a real job!”
Being hardcore is hard work, especially when it comes to a dedicated self-starter like Cook.
Since it’s not a regimented schedule, you have to be quite disciplined to make shit happen.”
No Warning plays with Comeback Kid and Higher Power September 25 at The Garrick (Winnipeg), September 26 at Louis’ Pub (Saskatoon), September 27 at The Starlite Room (Edmonton), and September 28 at Commonwealth Bar & Stage (Calgary)
Comeback Kid, commonwealth Bar & Stage, Higher Power, Louis' Pub, No Warning, The Garrick, The Starlite Room, Tortured culture club