Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Hardcore icons Comeback Kid co-headlining Whistler’s first punk show in ages

Winnipeg band joins fellow hardcore stalwarts Cancer Bats and Misery Signals at Garf’s on April 24 
E-Arts1-Comeback-Kid-29.16-PHOTO-BY-BETHAN-MILLER
Winnipeg hardcore stalwarts Comeback Kid will co-headline Whistler’s first punk show in ages on April 24 alongside Cancer Bats.

Without the usual catharsis of playing in front of a live audience available to him, Andrew Neufeld had to get creative whenever he wanted to blow off a little steam during the pandemic. 

“When we weren’t able to tour, I felt really caged up,” he says. “I think the main thing about being off-tour and not being able to play shows was that I had no other way to release my energy. It’s definitely cathartic, in a way.” 

The lead vocalist for beloved Canadian punk band Comeback Kid, whenever Neufeld was feeling itchy, he would head down to his empty, Toronto rehearsal space, fire up the band’s latest tunes, and start what I can only imagine to be the world’s rowdiest one-person mosh pit.  

“I would literally sing along with it, karaoke-style. I’d take off my shirt,” he recalls. “Luckily there was enough room in the rehearsal spot for me to mosh around a little bit.” 

Fortunately for Neufeld, he’s had plenty of company in the pit lately. Comeback Kid’s latest tour, which kicked off last month, saw them join fellow Canadian hardcore icons and longtime friends, Cancer Bats. 

“It’s just a great, really comfortable atmosphere to be coming in and doing these shows,” Neufeld says. 

Although originally hailing from Winnipeg, these days the band—which counts guitarists Jeremy Hiebert and Stu Ross, bassist Chase Brenneman and drummer Loren Legare, along with Neufeld—are all scattered throughout the country, so “it’s almost like every show is a hometown show,” he says. “There are friends and family coming out. It’s definitely a family vibe.” 

Never ones to sit on their hands for too long, Comeback Kid used the downtime of the past two years constructively, writing and recording their seventh studio album—and first in five years—Heavy Steps, released in January through German record label, Nuclear Blast. 

While the lyrical content of the record doesn’t address the pandemic head on, it’s clear the themes Neufeld tackles—owning your struggles and persevering in the face of pain—were borne out of the uncertainty of the past two years. 

“What I hear in the lyrics when I listen back to what I wrote is desperation, resilience and just clawing your way up. Do or die. All bets off,” Neufeld says. “None of the songs are about the pandemic, but it forced us all to make some hard decisions, I think, and that’s what we did. That’s what a lot of the songs are about, whether it’s in relationships or making changes in your life that you need to make.” 

As Comeback Kid has crossed the country on their latest tour, Neufeld has been heartened to see how vibrant the hardcore scene is these days, especially coming out of COVID, a period that has in its own ways inspired a return to punk’s DIY roots. 

“What I’m seeing is a new breed of hardcore kids putting on their own local shows. Especially in Alberta, you’re seeing all these festivals, like the Wild Rose Hardcore Festival, and a couple others in Vancouver, too,” he says. “I feel like a lot of people are eager to make events happen and are willing to put themselves on the line to do some really cool things. Everyone wants it, everyone needs it, so people are taking the initiative.” 

In what will be Whistler’s first punk show in ages, Comeback Kid hits the Garfinkel’s stage on April 24 along with Cancer Bats and Misery Signals. Doors to this 19-plus show open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $31.50, available at eventbrite.ca/e/cancer-bats-comeback-kid-tickets-194759981347