KEN mode's Toronto Show Put a Fresh Spin on Classic Noise The Baby G, November 8

With Greber, Sarin and Frail Body
KEN mode's Toronto Show Put a Fresh Spin on Classic Noise The Baby G, November 8
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
Throughout KEN mode's headlining show at the Baby G, there seemed to be a constant acknowledgement of the past while looking to the future, each act excavating their own sonic history while also showcasing where their futures might be headed.

The night opened with Cambridge sludge/grind duo Greber, whose performance acted as the Toronto release show for this year's Fright Without. New album cuts "Nosebleed" and the surprisingly melodic "Larkinitis" were undisputed highlights, setting the standard for the evening incredibly high.

With members set to move on to new projects following the performance, Sarin's bittersweet set brought things closer to the chest. Highlights included the extremely emotional crescendo of "When you Melt" and punishingly heavy "Thick Mire"; it was a fitting send-off for one of Toronto's most prolific metal projects.


Frail Body were the final opener for the evening's festivities, powering through a furious and highly cathartic set. Closer "Your Death Makes Me Wish Heaven was Real" capped off a blistering and surprisingly celebratory performance.

By the time KEN mode finally took the stage, the crowd felt prepped to be fully obliterated — the Winnipeg four-piece didn't disappoint. Despite being together for more than 20 years, they performed with all the vigour and energy of a new band, bursting out the gate with new album heavyweights "A Love Letter" and "But They Respect My Tactics."


Inarguably elevating the band's live performance is newest member Kathryn Kerr; her incorporation of electronic sounds into the bands classic material and her ripping saxophone solos (particularly on fan favourites "Blessed" and "The Illusion of Dignity") created an incredibly satisfying sense of atmosphere and fullness, bringing their caustic onslaught to new heights. 


The band did an excellent job of incorporating new material while throwing in a few classics throughout — new track "Lost Grip" is a magnetic addition to the band's live performance, its slow burn energy perfectly bridging the gaps between the frenetic riffage that permeates much of KEN mode's catalogue. However, the band closing with Venerable classic "Never Was" was still the undeniable emotional high point of the set. It was an impressive night of music capped off by KEN mode's newly heightened presence, eloquently celebrating their past catalogue while introducing a burlier and even more exciting era of the band going forward.