MAN WITH A MISSION at Adelaide Hall, Toronto
Toronto couldn’t get enough of MAN WITH A MISSION.
On September 21st, wolf-headed rockers MAN WITH A MISSION performed in Toronto for the first time in about five years for the penultimate show of their Chasing the Horizon World Tour 2018/2019. While the band’s overseas following has grown considerably since the previous show, thanks in part to a number of high-profile anime tie-ups, the concert was held at Adelaide Hall.
Before the show, fans were told that no photos were to be taken during the concert, and most respectfully put their phones and cameras away. Once the lights dimmed, the band walked out and quickly launched into the upbeat rap-rock of 2045 and Left Alive, which immediately had fans jumping, singing and reaching their arms out towards the stage. The relatively small stage seemed to barely have enough space to accommodate the five wolf-men and their white-masked support guitarist E.D.Vedder, but it also left the crowd close enough to the members to reach out and touch them throughout the night.
The venue was packed from front to back with fans of all different ages, backgrounds and genders, and its low ceiling seemed to trap extra heat around the stage. After the first two songs, it was already sweltering. The band kept the energy level high with two more upbeat rap-rock tracks before Jean-Ken Johnny addressed the crowd, asking if they were hot. When the audience responded affirmatively, the wolf-man laughed. “What’re you guys talking about? Look at us!” he said, gesturing to himself and his bandmates.
One interesting point was that, while many of the fans called out to him in Japanese, Jean-Ken Johnny spoke to the audience almost entirely in English. For example, hearing a cheer of “Kakkoii!” from a male fan, Johnny simply responded with a jovial “Thanks brutha!”.
The set continued with the catchy Get Off of My Way, which saw DJ Santa Monica lead the audience in jumping and waving their arms up and down to the chorus. Winding Road and Emotions also drew strong responses from the eager,
Afterwards, drummer Spear Rib and DJ Santa Monica were left alone onstage and took the opportunity to battle it out with their beats. Once they had finished leading the audience in the band’s signature wolf claw pose and taking some final bows, they headed back for a break and Jean-Ken Johnny returned with E.D.Vedder. He told the audience that MAN WITH A MISSION have always dreamed of travelling the world and encouraged them to pursue their own goals. They then launched into a touching acoustic rendition of Chasing the Horizon. After they left the stage, the lights went out.
The darkness lingered for a bit before Johnny came out again, stating that the audience was so hot and sweaty that the video they had been intending to use wouldn’t play. He offered to kill time in other ways, asking the audience if they knew any good jokes, but it proved unnecessary, as the rest of the band was soon back in formation and ready to start up again. They launched into the hard-hitting track My Hero, but it was the fast-paced Take Me Under that really made everyone go wild. Fans jumped and pumped their fists, and DJ Santa Monica let loose as well. His eyes suddenly began to glow bright yellow, and he dove into the crowd at the climax of the track.
Next came 86 Missed Calls, a new track from MAN WITH A MISSION’s upcoming single Dark Crow that was created in collaboration with Fall Out Boy vocalist Patrick Stump. The song’s catchy chorus had fans singing along, and the following rap-infused cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit got even fans less familiar with the wolves’ music to sing.
One of the highlights of the set was undoubtedly FLY AGAIN 2019, which drove the audience into a frenzy and saw almost every set of hands up in the air doing the signature side-to-side arm wave that accompanies the chorus. Bassist Kamikaze Boy’s eyes lit up this time, and he went wild with the crowd, playing the bass with his teeth and chomping down on the neck of his instrument. “Are you guys any good at singing?” Jean-Ken Johnny asked to introduce the final song of the set, Seven Deadly Sins. “I heard no, but I’m going to ignore that.” He continued, making the audience laugh. The fans eagerly joined in the “Wo-ohs” with frontman Tokyo Tanaka and shouted along as the wolves counted to seven.
Calls for an encore started almost immediately after they left the stage, and the band didn’t keep the hot, sweat-drenched audience waiting long. “I know you asked for one more song,” Jean-Ken Johnny said, “But we have a few more for you.” The fans cheered wildly, and MAN WITH A MISSION finished the show off with the crowd-pleasers Dead End in Tokyo and Raise your flag.
The members hadn’t even begun to leave the stage when a call for another encore started. They quickly waved it off, looking exhausted, but Jean-Ken Johnny told the fans they were now free to take as many pictures as they wanted. A flurry of phones and cameras immediately shot into the air as the wolf-men struck poses. It was clear that they were overjoyed with the response they received, and from the shouts of “Arigatou” from the audience as they exited the stage, it was clear that the fans were just as happy they came.
2. Left Alive
4. Hey Now
5. Get Off of My Way
6. Winding Road
DJ & drum solo
8. Chasing the Horizon
9. My Hero
10. Take Me Under
11. 86 Missed Calls
12. Smells Like Teen Spirit
13. FLY AGAIN 2019
14. Seven Deadly Sins
15. Dead End in Tokyo
16. Raise your flag
MAN WITH A MISSION will release their new single Dark Crow on digital music distribution platforms worldwide on October 23rd, the same day as its physical release in Japan. More details on the release are available here.
MAN WITH A MISSION