Iron Chic

The Horseshoe Tavern Presents

Iron Chic

Big Nothing, Junior Battles, Numb World

Wed, August 28, 2019

Doors: 8:00 pm

The Horseshoe Tavern

Toronto, ON

$15.50

This event is 19 and over

Advance tickets also available at Rotate This,  Soundscapes and The Horseshoe front bar

Iron Chic
Iron Chic
Iron Chic’s new record is two things: both the same as previous releases, and absolutely
incomparable to them. Due out on October 13, You Can’t Stay Here addresses the same big
questions that have plagued the Long Island punk group from their outset: anxiety, depression,
relationships, substance abuse, mortality, life, death, what it all means, why we’re forced to
experience them. But this album is punctured with grief and devastation; while these are all
familiar concepts, they’re relayed with an added desperation, and the claustrophobic,
inescapable reality of them. There’s no punchline, no immediate silver-lining.
Jason Lubrano, the band’s singer, is aware of the absence. “On the past records, we generally
try to throw in an optimistic note here and there. That might be the one thing that this record is
lacking.”
That pervasive darkness goes right back to the record’s title, a line from the song, “You Can’t
Stay Safe.” It’s a manifestation of a general anxiety, a permanent lack of peace. “No matter
what you do in this world, there's always some danger or something lurking there for you,”
Lubrano sighs. “Even when you kind of think you're okay, you might not be. That was just sort of
like a desperation there: you can't really be safe anywhere.”
It’s hard to not hear all of this as a product of the loss the band suffered in January 2016, when
Rob McAllister, Iron Chic’s founding guitarist, died unexpectedly. The band is still coming to
terms with McAllister’s passing. “I’ve dealt with loss before in my life,” Lubrano says. “I lost my
dad when I was 21, but he was sick and we kind of saw it coming, and I was able to process it in
that sense. Rob was a unique thing because it was one of the first times a close friend has died,
and someone my age.”
The loss of McAllister loomed over the creation of You Can’t Stay Here. “It does definitely
permeate all aspects of it,” Lubrano remarks. “It’s just hanging there.” Some of the tracks had
been written with McAllister, compounding the pain of his absence. Written and recorded in
guitarist Phil Douglas’ house, working on the record was a sort of coping mechanism for the
bandmates. “It definitely brought us closer on as friends to just have this to focus on and put our
energies into and help keep our minds off of things,” Lubrano explains. That utility is something
he wants to share: “I hope that translates and I hope that people can get a similar feeling from
it.”
Despite the subject matter, the band’s aptitude for unbridled anthemics is on full display here.
Flickering into life with a rising wave of distorted bar chords, “A Headache With Pictures” is a
crass, unabashed introduction, with throttling gang vocals and “whoa-oh!”s layered over
slashing guitars. The band’s self-production is evident and bracing; guitars are thick and
gnarled, immediate and relentless, while drums are taut and driving. Lubrano’s voice is more
earnest than ever, and when the collective comes in for the big sing-along choruses, it sounds
almost comforting; there’s still an indelible element of coldness to their choir of voices, but when
they sing out in unison, there’s a flicker of hope.

The grief scattered across the record is blunt and overwhelming. “Too fucking tired to bother to
dial the phone, I’m still mourning the life that I left behind,” Lubrano bellows on opener, “A
Headache With Pictures.” Later, he contemplates our existence: “It’s hard to be a human being.
How can we, when we’re not quite sure what being human means?” These aren’t dressed up,
flowery, or even terribly artistic. They feel conversational, like a page ripped from a diary. Most
diary entries go unshared; the strength in Iron Chic is that they share it all, in hopes that it might
help us.
“If it's a sense of feeling like somebody understands what they're going through, or just that
there's people who think the same way, or even if they ascribe some story to what they're
hearing and they can relate to it, that’s ultimately what makes me feel good,” Lubrano says.
Lubrano is worried there’s no bright note on You Can’t Stay Here, no reprieve from the
suffocating darkness (Although, as the dust settles on the album’s final moments, a
preprogrammed melody from an old Casio keyboard rings out. Lubrano chuckles, “Phil was like,
'Is this too goofy?' and I'm like, 'Nah, I think I like it.’ It kind of breaks the tension at the end”).
But the record is the bright note. The feverish admissions of anxiety, the blunt discussions of
mortality, the struggle to stay afloat in tar-thick clouds of depression; these are all dark, yes, but
the externalization of them, casting them into light and setting them to a fierce, determined
melody, is a cry for survival and perseverance. These are tributes to fortitude, not weakness.
Iron Chic has been through a hell of a fucking year. They’re still standing, and they made a
record together. That’s the bright note.
Big Nothing
Big Nothing
Melodic punk band from Philadelphia, USA.
Junior Battles
Junior Battles
Did you ever see that episode of the original Twilight Zone where the journalist had the haunted typewriter? It worked like this: He'd sit down, type a made up story and the next day that shit would really happen, giving him the ultimate scoop on all his dumb journalist friends. Pretty good episode, actually. Well, there's a band of kids from Ontario called Junior Battles who seem to have that sam...e kind of thing going on right now, minus the typewriter. It's almost like one of 'em has a genie crammed up their ass or something. Take the story of their success for example: One night, they're sitting around wildly dreaming about being able to put a record out on Paper and Plastick and the very next day they get an email from P&P overlord, Vinnie, out of the blue, asking if they want to do a record. Next, they asked for the best bio in the world and hey! What do you know? Anyhoo…these canucks are more than just Kreskin-like predictors of the future, they're also ushering in the bold new era of what can only be referred to as post-beard rock, playing heartfelt, angular pop punk that reminds you of your favorite bands without being derivative, and they're bringing it to you people with Idle Ages, their full length debut, coming out on P&P on June 28. You heard it here folks!

Hey! What else? Well, for one thing, Idle Ages boasts an amazing cadre of guest musicians, including Damian from Fucked Up, Franz Nicolay of Hold Steady and Against Me! fame and Matt from Bomb the Music Industry. The album title, I'm told comes from the notion of being stuck in a mid 20's malaise, and living paycheck to paycheck (they spell it cheque, which, let's be frank, is adorable) and the results are the kind of meat and potatoes punk influenced rock you've come to expect from the P&P stable with an emphasis on weariness and dare I say, ennui. The dudes in Junior Battles cite influences like Jawbox, Jawbreaker, Superchunk and Jesus Lizard, which are pretty goddamned unimpeachable, and Idle Ages features pop-punk that's bouncy, herky-jerky and destined to sit them at the smart kids (nerd) table, somewhere between the professors in Bad Religion and the poetry kids in Brand New. Beyond that, these dudes decided to spruce up the gash a bit and read ancient Japanese texts backwards into the mix all while subtly layering pianos and timpanis over their new take on a classic punk sound. If it wasn't for the fact that these are the kinds of dudes that sleep on floors and force their poor drummer to eat at Waffle House against his will every day on tour, you may be tempted to say that shit sounds pretentious, but in fact, in the world of Junior Battles and Idle Ages, it's nothing more than the attention to detail that is part and parcel with doing shit the right way.

Junior Battles will be touring their dicks off in support of Idle Ages. I mean, look at the writing on the wall, people: They're young, they're disenfranchised and they're feeling trapped by their age and their jobs. The opportunity to hit the world stage and rock out for any and everyone sure beats the hell out of sitting around Ontario saving up enough bile and vitriol for a follow up. So expect the courtesy you've come to take for granted from the Canadian citizenry at large, accompanied by a healthy respect for the roots of aggressive rock and roll and a dick-melting dose of gumption as brought forth by only the types of kids who can put together a record with all the idiosyncrasies, all the crazy guests and all the ambition of Idle Ages. They're gonna rock your town's nuts off, thank you for coming and fall asleep on your floor without realizing that they just renewed your faith in punk rock. You'd be a real asshole to miss out on that, eh?
Venue Information:
The Horseshoe Tavern
370 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON, M5V 2A2
http://www.horseshoetavern.com/