Metal on Ice Concert Review The StoryTeller Series

Metal On Ice Live

Metal On Ice Live

Metal on Ice: The StoryTeller Series and the Handing Over the Torch

Saturday Night, May 10 2014, a night to celebrate Canadian Hard Rock and Heavy Metal from the 80s and a chance to experience one of Toronto’s brightest of a new crop of hard rock bands, TimeGiant turned out to be a night to remember.

TimeGiant, a special guest for the show, played a 10 song set that was mind-blowing for an opening to the later acts. T-MAK World has seen the band countless times and tonight the boys rose to the occasion to show the pioneers that their mark on Canadian hard rock was measurable. Time Giant more than admirably represented the current generation of bands that are changing the landscape of Canadian Hard Rock and Metal in 2014. See our coverage of CMW 14 as an example of the incredible talent in this city at a time where commercial respect is very hard to earn for such music.

Metal On Ice - TimeGiant

Metal On Ice – TimeGiant

Before the introduction of White Window, Time Giant Bass Player Pat Wilken noted that he was going to play the next song with Geezer Butler’s pick from the recent Black Sabbath Show in Hamilton courtesy of T-MAK World. Music Editor John Perfetto had the luck to have Butler give him the bass pick he used  from the 1st row of the show. {Ed. Note – review of that Sabbath show is here.}

Pat Wilken of TimeGiant getting Geezer Butler's pick from John Perfetto of T-Mak World

Pat Wilken of TimeGiant getting Geezer Butler’s pick from John Perfetto of T-Mak World


Other highlights of their set included the too brief story of touring with Helix. Next time more juice, we are all adults and you were amoung friends. I guess we cannot fault them as that was also true of the other artists throughout the night. On the musical side the epic After the Battle of Mt. Megiddo and the Queen cover Hammer to Fall stood out of a great set. However the best part was watching Tyrone Buccione climb the equipment at the end of the last song and end the show by jumping over bass player Pat Wilken. Guitarist Ryan Watson and drummer Charlie McKittrick were at the top of their game as well.

Metal On Ice - TimeGiant

Metal On Ice – TimeGiant


Now on to the night’s main event. Queue the time warp, ala Wayne’s world, back to a time more reminiscent of the 80s and Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven or Gasworks. The reason; celebrate the work of Canadian Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Pioneers from the 1980s and early 90s. Car…. Game On….

Metal on Ice is a book and a CD, but to really get a sense of the magnitude of these pioneers, what better way than to hear them tell stories and play a few of the classics live.

Up first was MC Christopher Ward, who quipped that if you knew who he was, you were old. Ward was the long standing VJ on MuchMusic and a Canadian pioneer himself.

Metal On Ice - Christopher Ward

Metal On Ice – Christopher Ward

The format of the night was a houseband that would welcome one of the 5 vocalists throughout the night. The band had a tough job as they had to perform flawlessly on a variety of artist’s songs, and they passed with flying colours. Shout out to the musicians that were Tim Welch (National Velvet, Dalbello, Carole Pope) guitar Daryl Gray (Helix) – bass Dave Langguth (Nelly Furtado, Gilby Clarke, Wild T) drums Stephan DiMambro (Pyramid Theorem) keyboards. The first headliner to delight the crowd was Brian Vollmer from Helix.

Metal On Ice - Brian Vollmer of Helix

Metal On Ice – Brian Vollmer of Helix

Christopher Ward noted that Brian Vollmer has been rocking Canada for 40 years. Vollmer started the classics that were to come with Heavy Metal Love. After playing Vollmer reminisced on the Gasworks and received huge recognition from the crowd and it might have been the Gasworks but they knew what was coming next. Vollmer told that story that the video for the next song was shot at the Toronto brickyards with a few topless women just as a few intro beats started and the crowd new it was time to Rock On. Open completion Vollmer acknowledged the bass player who has been Helix’s bass player since 1983. Vollmer can still rock it, what a great start.

Metal On Ice - Sean Kelly

Metal On Ice – Sean Kelly


Next up Christopher Ward introduced Sean Kelly the man behind the book and the night’s event and the man on guitar for the night. After a few light hearted jokes about how this really fulfilled Sean’s dream to play with his heroes from his days growing up in North Bay, Sean educated the audience that he wrote the book to tell the story of Canadian Heavy Metal from the perspective of the bands.

Metal On Ice - Sean Kelly

Metal On Ice – Sean Kelly

Next up Nick Walsh from Slik Toxik. Walsh now also has his own band Famous Underground and is in Moxy. You could almost hear the female hearts in the Opera house skip a beat as he ran out to take center stage.

Metal On Ice - Nick Walsh

Metal On Ice – Nick Walsh of  Slik Toxik

Walsh opened with Helluvatime , a Slik Toxik song written to their fans about what it is like to be on stage.

After completion of the song, my favorite part of the night was when Walsh called out Christopher Ward and remembered his City Limits show on CityTV, playing videos until 3AM with a guy named Mike Meyers who had a character called Wayne that in time became known to more than the select few who watched City Limits.

Metal On Ice - Brian Vollmer and Nick Walsh

Metal On Ice – Brian Vollmer and Nick Walsh

Walsh took a different direction with his second song by noting that he was not just part of the project but also a fan of the other Canadian hard rock bands and decided to play Kick Axe’s On the Road to Rock for his next song.

Darby Mills from The Headpins followed Walsh. Mills played Don’t It Make Ya Feel and Turn it Loud both from 1982’s mega-album “Turn it Loud”. Mills voice is as powerful today as it was back in the 80s. Mills noted that as her age group hits 65 they will be the first to be playing their Led Zeppelin album.

Metal On Ice - Darby Mills of the Headpins

Metal On Ice – Darby Mills of the Headpins

Carl Dixon from Coney Hatch was up second to last. Dixon noted that the first song was not supposed to be on Coney Hatch’s 1st album. When the record company heard the song, it clicked as the song they were looking for and Hey Operator was added to the album. Afterwards, Carl told the story about his car crash (a near fatal incident in Australia) and Andy Curran told Dixon as he was recovering “get better as Hatch still has some rocking to do”. Coney Hatch have regrouped and put out a new album entitled “4” last September including the song Blown Away which Dixon delivered. The only thing missing was Monkey Bars!

Metal On Ice - Carl Dixon of Coney Hatch

Metal On Ice – Carl Dixon of Coney Hatch


The final Canadian Metal icon of the night was the Metal Queen herself, Lee Aaron.

Metal On Ice - Lee Aaron

Metal On Ice – Lee Aaron

Before Lee Aaron started she called out a guy in the audience who called her baby by calling him to the front of the stage and conked him on the head with mic. I am sure he was happy it was not the sword from the Metal Queen video. Key message – DO NOT MESS WITH LEE AARON.

As one could anticipate Lee Aaron started out with What you do to my Body from the album “Bodyrock” which was extremely well received by the audience. Of course the night would not be complete without the next song and to no one’s surprised the next song was Metal Queen.

Metal On Ice - Lee Aaron

Metal On Ice – Lee Aaron

However the night was still not done as Nick Walsh grabbed the stage and told the story about the creation of the song theme song for Metal on Ice and Mills, Aaron, Dixon and Vollmer joined Walsh and the house band to play the song. What a fitting way to end the night.

Metal On Ice

Metal On Ice

Verdict. 4.5 Out of 5. Overall a great night as fans were able to hear stories and relive the Canadian Hard Rock and metal classics from many of the pioneers of Canadian Hard Rock. If there was a disappointment it was that it had to end. All the participants showed they still have it and they were musically on top of their game as they were in the 80’s. 

T-Mak World feels very privileged to see the passing of the torch as bands such as TimeGiant grab the baton and are running to keep #RealRock alive. From what we saw at the recent CMW and events such as Metal on Ice, the health of riff fueled rock in Toronto is still a force to be reckoned with. Kudos to venues such as Opera House and Rockpile that generally cater to the music of both Canadian and International pioneers and events such as CMW and venues such as The Hideout, Cherry Cola’s, Bovine etc. that carry on the tradition.

Most importantly, thanks to Sean Kelly for allowing us to share his dream. Let’s hope this was not a one-time event! We know Kelly had a dream and made it a reality through persistence and passion and that should be inspiration for anyone following their dream. A Metal On Ice book v2.0 featuring Rush, Triumph, Max Webster, Aldo Nova or any other Canadian heavyweights would kick major ass.

Metal On Ice

Metal On Ice

While it was good to see the pioneers on stage, if there was a metaphorical winner of the night it was TimeGiant (and the many young bands at CMW). I guess the veterans should not be surprised as the new guard had the luxury of being able to study from the experts and the force is definitely strong in young Canadian rock bands today. Take comfort that the spirit continues and while your work is not at an end, it is done and mission accomplished. 

Long live rock!

TimeGiant set list

1) Been Here Before
2) White Window
3) Blind
4) The Real Thing
5) Stronger Than Before
6) We Forgot the Reason
7) Hammer to Fall (Queen Cover)
8) After the Battle at Mt. Megiddo
9) Hard Lovin’ Woman
10) I Am The Fire

Metal On Ice Set list

1) Brian Vollmer – Heavy Metal Love (Helix)
2) Brian Vollmer – Rock On (Helix)
3) Nick Walsh – Helluvatime (Slick Toxik)
4) Nick Walsh -On the Road to Rock (Kick Axe)
5) Darby Mills – Don’t It Make Ya Feel (Headpins)
6) Darby Mills – Turn it Loud (Headpins)
7) Carl Dixon – Hey operator (Coney Hatch)
8) Carl Dixon – Blown Away (Coney Hatch)
9) Lee Aaron – What you do to my Body
10) Lee Aaron – Metal Queen
11) Walsh, Vollmer, Mills, Dixon and Aaron – Metal on Ice

Metal on Ice Concert Review –  we leave you with photos from the night.

Review – Michael Litt | Photos – John Perfetto
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3 Responses to Metal on Ice Concert Review The StoryTeller Series

  1. todd says:

    Great show guys love see all you guys on stage perfect

  2. todd says:

    excellentance of rockin roll are on stage canada rocks

  3. Toronto Jim says:

    That must have been one kick ass show!
    Doesn’t Sean Kelly play for Lee Aaron in her band? Just saw Lee Aaron play at the Rockpile East and he sure looks like her guitar player.
    She sure hasn’t lost a beat.
    A Headpins reunion would be great as well.

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