Review by Chris Servais, photos by Alex Grattan

It’s midway through soundcheck that the first isolated shouts of “M.G.K.” begin to rise out of the growing crowd. A chant comes together almost immediately, pummeling the stage with anticipation and setting the tone for a night as relentlessly driving as if it had been fired from the mouth of a gun.

Machine Gun Kelly hit the Bay on December 16, kicking Crocks’ insides out, as part of his Raging With Reindeer II cross-Canada tour. Official support came from the equally unquenchable Dilemmanade (marking his first time visiting Thunder Bay), with an additional opening performance by local act Beatfarm. The result was a thunderous, can’t-stop-fistpumping riot of beats and rhythms that drew a big crowd and made for a hell of a night. You know you’ve found the party when so many people have been bounced for craziness before the headliner even hits the stage that the DJ makes an announcement asking everyone to keep it together.

M.G.K has developed a substantial following for his hurricane vocal delivery, but even more powerful is his ability to bring the audience into the performance – everyone is in on the show, and everyone is caught in the music. It’s immediately clear that the entire crew is having an awesome time and this infectious spirit can be felt thrumming through the room; the energy never drops, and each new moment somehow manages to ratchet the already peaking excitement to an even bigger place. Beatfarm and Dilemma also turned out memorably intense performances, warming up an already boiling crowd and clamoring as much as anyone for the moment when M.G.K would hit the stage. A fantastic, cathartic, exhilarating show, and highly recommended.

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