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The Headstones play the Hammer

Twenty five years ago, The Headstones graced us with their album “Picture of Health”, but if you were at FirstOntario Concert Hall last night, you would swear that it sounded as fresh and full of power as it did the first day the album came out.

Kicking off their “Picture of Health Tour” last night in Hamilton, Hugh Dillon threw the rules out right from the beginning, telling their fans “they didn’t matter tonight”.

Seconds after finishing “It’s All Over” he jumped off the stage , microphone in hand, and was absorbed by the crowd.

Not missing a beat, he started “Heart of Darkness” encouraging fans to sing along as he made his way from one end of the row to the other, stopping every now and again to pass the microphone to a member of the audience.

For the fans that were closest to him, it seemed surreal, a moment in time they would remember forever. Not to mention the countless selfies that were being taken as the band played on.

By the end of the fourth song (Tweeter and the Monkey Man), Dillon stopped playing and said (something to the effect of) “Now, can we put down our phones and have some fun!?” Cheers and whistles immediately followed as “Absolutely” started.

As if out of nowhere, and certainly not on the setlist, The Headstones magnificently started playing a cover of “House of the Rising Sun” then flowing into a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Time” before returning to their predetermined setlist.

Midway through the concert, Dillon took a moment to pause and thank the audience for helping them make this reunion tour:

“We honestly have the greatest fans, if you hadn’t pushed us and crowd funded us, we wouldn’t have come back. You got us to get back into it.”

Fan favourites, and classics like “Judy” were also not forgotten.

“Normally, we wouldn’t play these songs, but because of you guys, we are”.

Towards the end of the set list, the band strung the opening notes to their song F***k U” that came with a humorous disclaimer:

“This is an ear muff song for the kids, and Hamilton’s Christmas song”

Not long after, Gord Lewis from Teenage Head joined during the second act and joined in on playing “Let’s Shake”.

As the night came to an end, Dillon used the time to once again thank Hamilton for coming out.

“Just so you all know where this all came from, it came from right here, in Hamilton. We grew up watching Gord and the hip right here in this city”.

The fans understandably went nuts, bringing to an end to what was a truly wonderful and, dare I say, rocking evening.

While The Headstones May have been the headliners, local legends “The Castor Troys” nearly stole the show with their opening performance. Singing songs about true stories, while throwing down some serious chords, choreographed jumps, strong riffs and powerful vocals, it was a great reminder for the audience the purpose of an opening act — to warm the crowd up — and that they did.

When I met with the guys from Castor Troy afterward, they seemed overwhelmed with joy. “I don’t know how to process this!” said Aaron, as he greeted fans at the merch table”.

When asked what it was like to open for The Headstones, the band didn’t hide their excitement.

“We started this band over The Headstones, to play this show, we’ve been wanting to play since we were sixteen has meant the world to us. I really truly don’t have words for it other than it’s completing a bucket list check for us, and it’s going to be hard to top this for a long time”.

It was the best way the band could have kicked off their EP release ahead of their show at the Corktown next week.

Rounding out the show was Matchstick Skeletons who themselves brought their own renown energy and music to the stage. Their melodies and riffs had the audience moving, bringing energy and amplification to the crowd.

Picture of Health follows The Headstones release of their critically acclaimed album Little Army, which was their highest debuting full-length album in over a decade. They will continue their tour through Canada tomorrow in Oshawa, before heading out west with multiple stops along the way.

Were you at this show? Let us know in the comments!

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