O-Town @ The Mod Club
The Mod Club
April 25th, 2017
Backstreet Boys or 'N Sync? It was a common question among pre-teens in the late 90’s of who their favourite boy band was. Mine was neither. My prepubescent crush belonged to the members of O-Town. Lesser known to probably many, they were put together on a reality TV show in 1999 called Making The Band. Omg just writing 1999 makes me feel so old!
I was thirteen at the time and spent every Friday night glued to my TV watching the series unfold during ABC’s TGIF. I feel bad for my parents since I made them endure every single episode on the upstairs TV with me while I also taped it simultaneously on VHS on the downstairs TV, eliminating all forms of alternate viewing for them. TGIF? Taped? VHS? Omg I really am old.
The series was short lived at only three seasons. Season 1 is the only one that really mattered to me to be honest- I can quote full episodes I watched them so many times. My VHS player is now broken, but thanks to modern technology they are not lost! I found a Youtube channel that has all the episodes broken down by season and in three-part episodes that I’ve binged watched.
To be honest I never really kept up with the band once they disbanded in 2003. I never got to see them in concert when they were in their prime, which was disappointing for me as I was a huge fan. I realized they were back together making music and playing in Toronto last year, but was too late to the party and it was sold out before I could get tickets.
This year I started following them on Instagram so I wouldn’t miss any announcements. In February they posted they were doing a short 9 date tour, one of which included Toronto. I bought them the day they went on sale at $72 USD for the pair.
My boyfriend was the lucky one I was going to subject to a night of 90’s feels. We drove to Toronto after work and parked a few blocks from the venue for $8 CAD for the night. The concert was taking place at The Mod Club- a place I hadn’t been to since I was living in Toronto almost 11 years ago. It was 7:30pm and doors were opening at 8pm, but we were starving so we went across the street to Burgatory. It was a cute little burger place that had a small menu based off of the 7 deadly sins and heaven verses hell. We ordered the Greed and Wrath burger and split a large serving of Cajun Dry Rub hand cut fries. It was very delicious, but I found it a bit overpriced for the small size of the burger.
We ventured back across the street around 8:20pm and it was quick to get in, drop my coat off at coat check ($3 CAD) and make our way to the stage. The interior has changed a lot since the last time I had been there. I remember it being velvet-y and large. It seemed a lot smaller, but much more modern with a bar that takes up almost the length of the place. I thought it was going to be much more crowded but we were able to stand four rows from the front. I’m sure everyone standing behind my 6'4" boyfriend loved him.
He’s just that excited to be there. He was also 1 of probably 4 guys attending the show. 1 of which was front row, 1 knew every lyric and 1 danced the entire night away.
There was an opening act that started at 9pm and by 10pm the members of O-Town were making their way out onto the stage. I should mention that one of the original members is no longer with the band as he decided not to join in the reformation. Ashley Parker Angel= My favourite one= Crushed. I can’t follow his Instagram because his page is very NSFW. He got ffiinneeeee compared to the other four members who have definitely aged over the years. I would have barely recognized Erik if I saw him out in public.
Their stage setup was very simple as it was literally just them and a MacBook on a table. Despite this fact, they put on one of the best sounding concerts I’ve been to quality wise and had enough energy between them to fill the entire room.
When I told my boyfriend they were a 90’s boy band his first thought was lip-syncing and them wearing those mics that wrapped around your head a la Britney Spears. There was none of that during this show and it was 100% all live.
They opened with Chasin’ After You and I immediately had a stupid smiling grin on my face that remained there for 95% of the show. I was just so happy I was finally seeing them. Although Liquid Dreams is one of their most known songs it was never really a personal favourite of mine, but when they performed it (OG dance routine and all) it was one of my favorites of the night.
Before they played Love Should Be a Crime it was announced that it was Jacob’s birthday. Trevor got the crowd to start signing Happy Birthday and as a surprise Jacob’s girlfriend appeared on stage cupcake in tow.
Combining DJ Snake/Justin Bieber’s Let Me Love You with their original song Girl was brilliant. It went so good together and highlighted how you can make what’s old new again.
They made mention a lot to their Kickstarter that is funding their upcoming EP. I’m bad and admit I did not contribute to it.
They played songs off their upcoming EP including: Shady Business, Giants and Cut the Cord. In the latter of the songs Jacob and Trevor jumped into the audience to sing. I tried to make a screencap of my video but they were moving so fast. That’s what I found about most of my photos- they never stood still!
A week before they released a track called Empty Space on Yahoo so I knew that song in advance as I’ve been listening to it on repeat.
I know it was a small venue but O-Town had the most fan interaction I’ve ever seen at a concert. During These Are the Days, the guys took phones from people in the audience and filmed themselves singing/each other and filmed the crowed in general, which was really cool. I don’t know how they keep track of which phone belongs to who.
I remember in one of the episodes when they were vying to make the cut Trevor had this saying in the commentary of, “If you put the work in you’re gonna get it out of it. That’s the way I look at it. If I put the work in I’m gonna get better.” He definitely meant those words because he has become such a better singer since they first started.
For anyone familiar with O-Town you’d know that All or Nothing would be their last song. Jacob even did his signature mic flip during it. Here is a short video I took of the opening of the encore with Dan and Erik:
When the show was over there was an announcement that if you purchased a $60 CAD package bundle from the merch table you would be able to meet the band after and take pics with them. I didn’t know if I would ever get to see them in concert again in my area, or how long they would stay together in the future so I jumped on the chance.
Prior to this announcement I had seen on Instagram about the $250 VIP package they were offering. It included a pre-show sound check that would include an acoustic song not played in the regular set, meet & greet and photo with the band, VIP laminate and lanyard.
As a bonus you would also get front of the line access to a post show selfie with the band members as well. I didn’t think that was worth $250 and was glad I had the chance to meet them for $60 CAD.
I did see a video later on Youtube that showed the acoustic song they played was a song Jacob actually wrote for their first album called Take Me Under. This was ironic because as I was watching the show I honestly thought how much I wish they would play that song. It’s an amazing version they do now- completely different from the original. I would also love to see them bring See You Again back to life.
The large poster and T. Swift 1989 vibe t-shirt that was part of the package:
My poor boyfriend had to now wait outside in the cold because he wasn’t allowed to stay in the venue with me if he didn’t buy the merch bundle and security kept kicking him out so that was tough.
About 20 minutes later the band came out to take individual pictures with each person. They were not signing anything during this meet and greet.
Breakdown! (This can alternatively be titled how I make random small talk and take selfies in bad lighting with the band)
Dan Miller: First up was Dan and he was so nice and welcomed me with a hug right away. I mentioned how I had listened to an interview with them on Sirius XM the previous week about their fashion choices of the late 90’s/early 2000’s and how baggy everything was. He laughed about all his XXXL choices and said he still likes to wear baggy shirts but sticks to skinnier jeans these days. My phone camera was broken so we had to go old school with a real camera.
Jacob Underwood: Next was Jacob and even though he probably heard it 40 times already I wished him a happy birthday. The only thing I asked him was where he got the cake from in his Instagram picture posted earlier. Yes, cake is literally what I asked him about. For those curious he said it was from The Underground. When I presented my camera he said that was fine as he “grew up in the 90’s so I know how to use one of these things.”
Erik Estrada: During one of their songs Erik was pretending to fan Jacob off with a towel on stage. Immediately it brought me back to the Baby I Would days where he would always get in trouble for throwing it into the audience. I told him I was waiting for it to happen. He lit up and said he really wanted to throw it, but realized he only had one towel on him. He gave me two hugs during that time and it made me realize how tiny he is! On the TV show he seemed so tall, but I felt like I might break him!
I honestly thought he had rotten teeth when I saw him onstage, in reality though he has braces. It didn’t affect his singing though. He was just as great as he always was.
Trevor Penick: I didn’t really know what to say to Trevor when I got to him, which I thought was odd as he was one of my favourites on the show. He always seemed like he would be the easiest to talk to out of the group but I had nothing. I got my hug and picture and left.
It truly felt like a revitalized comeback tour for the group and not a “we need money” gimmick. I’m looking forward to the release of their upcoming EP, which I will be adding to my guilty pleasure playlist.