Courage My Love burgeoning on Becoming Tour
2013 has without a doubt been the year for up and coming punk-rock triage Courage My Love, and there couldn’t be a better way to end it than with a new album Becoming and a full-length North American tour to go with it.
The newest record dropped in the summer, and they kicked off the Becoming tour Nov. 17 in their hometown of Kitchener, Ont., and Martyr had the chance to catch them on their fourth show of the tour in Toronto at the Virgin Mod Club on Nov. 22.
Composed of twin sisters Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn, and their newest bass player and long-time friend Brandon Lockwood who joined the group this year, Courage My Love has exploded in the last little while. The new album is symbolic of who they have become.
“All of these changes happened to us while writing Becoming,” said Mercedes. “That’s what the album is really about, growing not only as a musician, but as individuals too and becoming that person.”
When asked about how the tour is going, Lockwood had a slew of comical responses.
“It’s the fourth show so far and I’m already beaten and bruised,” laughed Lockwood. “I broke my bass last night, so you know it’s been good.”
Mercedes interjected “It’s been wild, definitely off to a good start!”
This night also doubled up as a big event for co-headlining Toronto band Crystalyne. After releasing their first EP Navigate back in 2012, this show served as the release party for their newest EP The Remedy.
Lead singer for the group, Marissa Dattoli, explains that this EP is extremely important to the band, much like Becoming was to Courage My Love, for similar reasons.
“It’s definitely nice to be able to finally put out these songs that we’ve been working on and playing for a year now,” said Dattoli. “It’s great to play some new material.
“We called the new album The Remedy because it was written during transitional times in our lives, and we find the band, and each other, has been our remedy.”The gig had three opening acts before the co-headliners went on. The first band, which not a single person knew of their name, had an extremely Simple Plan-esque style with higher vocals, which really stood out during their cover of Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.”
After they came off their high – vocals that is, the next band up was an interesting one. Calling themselves DiverseCity, the group is multi-faceted in both cultural members and collective musical styles. Blending rock, folk, hip-hop, and some drum and bass, the young teens at the tender ages of give or take 17, aim to achieve both their musical and sociological goals of highlighting diversity in the city of Toronto, as well as music all around. Simply put, the band represents the new generation of homegrown musicians.If you think these two bands were a stretch away in terms of genre from the headliners, wait until you get an impression of the third group that took the stage, and crowd by storm.
The show was broken up in the middle by a group of two girls and two guys that call themselves the Wet Bandits. This troop of sample spinners and bass droppers got the audience hyped up with an unexpected display of awesome electronic music and live vocal performances. The set featured solo artist Samantha Savoia who lent her vocal talents and stage presence adding a nice touch to the group dynamic on stage.
After these three openers set the mood and warmed up the crowd, it was time for the main events of Crystalyne and Courage My Love.Dattoli took stage front and center to a raucous crowd of cheers and whistles as the band set up. The lights flickered blue, pink, and teal, the colours off the cover of the new EP The Remedy.
Crystalyne has an enigmatic energy on stage, and every member of the band complements each other in a synergetic fashion. Guitarist Josh Given does backup vocals alongside Dattoli on stage and it creates a perfectly powerful harmony, given that Given’s falsetto vocals accent hers immaculately.
Crystalyne played songs old and new, like “Weapon” from Navigate and “Secret,” the first single from The Remedy. They even played their cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” for their adoring fans.
“We’ve been posting covers on our YouTube channel along with our originals,” explained Dattoli. “It gives us a chance to not only reach out to new fans who like those songs, but also to grow as songwriters and creating different arrangements.”
After Crystalyne’s set dissipated, Courage My Love gave the crowd 15-20 minutes to regain their composure and get a second wind before getting the second dose of female-fronted power-punk.
Mercedes Arn-Horn is something else on and off stage. For such a youthful and vulnerable girl, her mature mindset and strong convictions make her a perfect fit for punk-rock lifestyle she’s leading. And with her sister Phoenix behind her at every show and by her side the rest of the time, they really are a force to be reckoned with on their playing field.
Lockwood adds a great dynamic to the band with his lackadaisical disposition, goofy antics, and thrashing stage style. He’s a pretty good bass player too, when he’s not breaking them.
The tour continues on to the east coast of Canada throughout the end of the month, then flows into the States for a total of 25 shows before Courage My Love retreats home for the holidays with family.
“This is definitely our longest tour so far,” said Mercedes. “We’re looking forward to playing more shows in the States and meeting all our fans there, it’ll be great.”Story by Devin Size, Photos by ftfphotography.