They are only half way through their 34-date, Twentyshredventeen tour, but Hamilton punk metalheads Voltang are gearing up for one hell of a farewell party when they play Old East 765 this Saturday, April 29.
“This is the show the tour has been building to so far,” vocalist Jake Reimer says. “Let’s pack it full. It’s going to be the place to be on a Saturday night.”
The unusual trio of acts – two metal bands and a comedian – have been on the road for about a month now, eating real east coast donairs and living out of vans. They head across the prairies to Alberta and back following their London show.
The band first met Mercedes Lander (The White Swan) and Necrosaurus Rex playing an Alcohollys show in London. It was an eclectic lineup, Jake says, and their first time playing in London. Voltang is pumped to share a stage once again.
“It was a really funny bill to be put on,” he says of their first encounter. “We’re all angry and yelling and spitting water everywhere and they are singing these adorable pop songs and everyone is dancing.”
But a great show is a great show, he says. Once the genres are stripped away, what is left – what is the common ground – is performers who have a great time on stage and pass that energy on to the room. That’s a recurring motif for a traveling punk-metal-comedy-rock-and-roll show.
If it sounds odd to have a comedian touring with a metal show just wait until you see it, Jake says.
For a band that describes themselves as ‘raunch and roll’, a stand up comedian is a perfect fit. Wally Warwick’s got enough rawness and raunch to be right at home with the Voltang crew.
“Having (Wally) on the tour has been so cool,” Jake says. “He knows how to work a crowd. He’s not going to come up and do knock-knock jokes. He knows how to work a room.”
This is Voltang’s most extensive tour to date. What makes it such an accomplishment for the band is that it’s entirely DIY. There are no labels, no promoters, no outside backing. The entire tour is funded by the shows they play.
“We don’t have a bunch of personal money to put in this,” Jake says. “All our money is Voltang money.
We’re all in – that’s what we do.”
He notes every dollar they get from merch or the door goes into getting to the next place – Voltang and Warwick in an extended van with an old dirty mattress and Dumpster Mummy in a more posh ‘soccer mom kind of thing,’ as Jake puts it. From London they head north to Timmins and Sudbury before crossing the prairies to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Fans have been incredibly supportive along the way, he adds. Part of that is due to their wide reach, largely thanks to their youtube videos.
“It’s really cool that when we get to a place someone is like, ‘I’m a fan and I’ve never thought you’d come’,” he says. “We’ll go to a show that’s nowhere close to home and some guys will come up and I’ll sell them their first Voltang CD but they know all the songs and all the words.”
Axes and allies
Part of what makes their tour successful is pairing with local headliners wherever they go, Jake says. Locals know the venues, bring the crowds and are always willing to support traveling bands. However, he adds it’s a give-and-take situation.
“In return when we come home to Ontario we can flip that around – we know the venue, we know the people,” he says. “If you can take care of your hometown and they take care of theirs.”
They will be touring in Alberta with Dusty Tucker, another weird metal act Voltang hooked up with in the Hammer.
See you Saturday
But back to their London show. Jake says this is the lineup they’ve been most excited for so far – and the show that promises the biggest energy yet. While it’s going to be a farewell of sorts for Dumpster Mummy and Wally Warwick, it’s also going to be one hell of a party.
“This is our big last one and we want to go wild for it,” Jake says. “We want to go out so hard.”
Feature photo via Twitter / @F**kingVoltang