When you think of Hardcore Punk, the mind will instinctively go to the big names of American and British Hardcore; Canada would be far beyond the scope of imagination.
That's where D.O.A. steps in. Their bootstrap mentality of heavily touring the US in a van they scrimped and scraped to buy and maintain at the start of their career is what famed anecdote, hyperbolic or true, claims inspired Henry Rollins to become to move his music career from Punk into the newly minted sub-genre of Hardcore.
Their influence on the growth of Hardcore, and the Hardcore-adjacent Metal sub-genre of Thrash, doesn't end there. Their original bass player, Randy Rampage, became the original singer of Canadian Thrash Metal titans, Annihilator, helping push the band toward the success that got them noticed by Roadrunner Records, whom would sign them and release the first two albums of "Alice In Hell" and "Never, Neverland".
Their own success would really take off with their sophomoric album, "Hardcore '81". This is the title they were due to play a 40th anniversary show for in Saskatoon in 2021, postponed to May 6th 2022 by a pandemic that raged on longer than expected by most.
The atmosphere on May 6th at Saskatoon's Amigos was electric. The excitement of D.O.A. fans of a surprising amount of age ranges was evident.
D.O.A. hit the stage at 11pm, slamming straight into their set with the vigor of a band half their age. Joe Keithley rattling his head in sheer uninterrupted syncopation throughout the entire set in a maddening pattern similar to a dashboard bobble head ornament when driving down a heavily potholed road. The crowd went particularly wild for the moments Joe strummed notes with his teeth and played the guitar while poised behind his head. The physical energy of Mike on bass and Paddy on drums wasn't amiss on the crowd either.
Something that did surprise this Metalhead, however, was being reminded of just how short Hardcore songs were back in the early '80s, back before Metal's influence collided with it in the early '90s; bringing Metal's longer run times with it. This was evident in the fact that the entire set for the headliner was done in 35-minutes flat. But, wow, what a punchy and energetic 35-minutes it was.
To put it politely, for musicians of that vintage, they pummeled an energy that reminded attendees of the expertise of their years, while feeling just as youthful as the album they were celebrating the big three-oh of.
- Photos supplied by Tracy Creighton of Copperblue Design