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Converse Rubber Tracks Live Tour with High On Fire in Toronto

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Converse Rubber Tracks Live Tour with High On Fire in Toronto

Converse Rubber Tracks live poster

Who:  High On Fire and Blackest
Where: Adelaida Hall, Toronto ON
When: August 14, 2014


Normally when I’m invited to a corporate rock show I expect it to be little more than a short lived set followed by a ton of advertising being rammed down my throat.   However, this was not the case with the Converse Rubber Tracks live tour featuring High On Fire at Adelaide hall in Toronto last night.
Matt Pike high on fire

The Converse Rubber Tracks was born out of the sneaker brand’s desire to give back to the music community and provide opportunities for artists who might not be able to afford studio time. Since the flagship studio opened in Brooklyn in July 2011, over 800 emerging artists have had the opportunity to record original music alongside the Converse Rubber Tracks team of experienced engineers at no cost.  At the end of their studio time, the artists retain all of the rights to their own music.

In the past two years, the program has expanded beyond the studio in Brooklyn with Converse Rubber Tracks Live and Converse Rubber Tracks “pop-up” studios.  Converse Rubber Tracks Live is a free music series, which offers musicians exposure in performing in front of live audiences. Converse Rubber Tracks “pop-up” studios have brought the Converse Rubber Tracks experience on the road to vibrant music.

The initiative also helped some local bands in Toronto earlier in the month when CONVERSE Inc. announced the local artists selected to record at the second Converse Rubber Tracks “pop-up” studio in Toronto at Noble Street Studios from Wednesday, August 6 to Sunday, August, 10.  Musicians of all genres in the Toronto area were invited to apply for free studio time to record their original music alongside a team of experienced engineers at no cost.  At the end of their studio time, the artists retain all the rights to their own music. Local artists selected to record at Noble Street Studios include Waterbodies, Comet Control, PKEW PKEW PKEW, Levar Allen and Pursue The Empire.

In fact Converse Rubber Tracks has touched down in cities such as Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Montreal, São Paulo, Beijing, Amsterdam and Mexico City in the last few years.   More information and how to apply can be found here:

Last night was the Toronto installment of the mini North American segment for 2014 and I was eager to find out what the buzz was all about.

I arrived as openers Blackest hit the stage.   Within minutes I was given my media credentials and granted full access which is a always a beautiful thing.

Blackest played an intense set that converted many hard stoner metal fans, with their brand of hardcore metal.

Chris Marotta Blackest“Don’t don’t” said singer Chris Marotta as he joked with the audience about beating up a guy near the front.  The new convert came up to the front saying “that would be super cool”  as Marotta reached out for a handshake.

Hailing from New York and joinng the East Coast portion of the tour, Blackest, are an energetic band that you should put on your radar  It was easy to get some high energy pics of the band on stage as they gave it their all.

After their set, I roamed throughout the venue while waiting for Stoner Metal favorites High On Fire to melt the crowd.

Posters for converse were visible throughout the venue and it was enough to get the point as to who was throwing this show, but there wasn’t much more being mentioned about the shoe company.   I was hoping for some free swag, maybe a door prize where someone wins a pair of Chuck Taylors or maybe even a drink for sporting my own.   The real-estate on the stage was used to project a psychedelic/satanic banner which was by all means, fitting for the show and a breathe of fresh air.  However,  and this will be the only time I’ll probably say this, there wasn’t enough branding at this event.   Many of the fans who won tickets online probably had no idea why this ‘FREE’ show was happening, and those who did pay last minute were there for one reason only and it wasn’t to show off their kicks.

I waited in the balcony area behind the stage for the headliners.  as soon as the show started a familiar face approached me.  It was Wilson Flores the guitarist for Blackest. After showing him some photos on my camera and congratulating him a solid set he offered me a beer, which was soon followed by another.   It was clear from this interaction that they were happy to be in Toronto and happy to be on this bill.

My attention was soon drawn to the stage as frontman Matt Pike welcomed the crowd.  Pike who also plays with Sleep suffered some heath problems a few years back and hasn’t played many Toronto dates in recent years.   This was a real treat for die hard fans as the band played a crushing set that spanned almost 90 minutes.   The oldest song they played was Baghdad from 2000’s The Art of Self Defense.    A few newer tracks were throw in the mix and overall it was a very satisfying set with little left behind.

High on Fire set list Adelaide Hall Toronto“This is our encore” said Pike without taking a break as the band pummeled into “Fire Face” followed by the epic “Snakes For The Divine”.    There would be no messing around and no official encore, as the band left the stage with guitar and bass feedback, similar to what I experienced twice at Soundgarden this summer.

Overall it was a worthy experience as about 400 locals packed Adelaide Hall on a Thursday night. Hats off to Converse for supporting the local music scene, and putting on a kick ass show, however, I’m still wondering if anyone noticed what I was wearing on my feet.

By: Darrell Shelley