I first stumbled upon Edmonton electro/punk band Shout Out Out Out Out by accident at a street festival in 2006, right around the release of their debut album Not Saying/Just Saying. I didn’t know anything about the band, but decided to stay for their set. When they took the stage with four bass players, they immediately captured my attention. I don’t remember much beyond that, except that they rocked out so much, they turned Yonge and Eglinton into a sweaty dance party (I’ll give you a second to picture that).
Fast forward six years to this show at the Horseshoe, still only the second time I’d see the band. It was about 12:30am, and three other acts had already played sets. I was tired, having been there since before the first opener had started, but was standing close to the stage and counting on what I remembered of the band’s performance to bring my energy up.
Turns out I didn’t even have to wait for the band to start: moments later, the tightening crowd began to (aptly) shout, “SHOUT! …Out OUT! …Out OUT! …….. SHOUT! …Out OUT! …Out OUT!” Eventually, the band took the stage to raucous cheering, which only intensified when the band announced that their first live appearance in Toronto had been at the Horseshoe.
Shout Out Out Out are first and foremost a live band. No matter how much effort is put into the recorded album, it’s impossible to fully capture their energy any other way. Hailing from Edmonton, the band is made up of their label’s bosses Nik Kozub and Jason Troock; Whitey Houston members Lyle Bell and Gravy; Will Zimmerman, and Clint Frazier. The current live incarnation sadly didn’t include four bass players, but did include two drummers and a whole lot of synth.
From the beginning of the set right to the encore, the energy was as high as I’d remembered. There was minimal stage banter — the band members danced onstage, moving quickly from one song to the next, which felt similar to a dance-club vibe. The loyal and pumped-up audience jumped, danced, and cheered (more choruses of “SHOUT! …Out OUT! …Out OUT!” ensued). Kozub’s singing was often distorted by a vocoder. The two drum set players often synchronized their beats and twirled their sticks in unison.
Each song was carefully structured amidst the chaos, yet, a lot of the songs seemed to incorporate more melody and softness than would be expected from the dance-punk style (I haven’t heard the album in its entirety, but the songs in question were likely from the band’s new album Spanish Moss and Total Loss). I was most impressed by the band’s performance of these songs; they seamlessly fused the “human” elements into the danceable music, adding creativity and maturity without losing any of the trademark energy.
During the encore, “In the End it’s Your Friends,” some of the audience had finally begun to trickle out. Thankfully, the music had reinvigorated me enough to stay until the very end, and I semi-seriously thought Shout Out Out Out Out should play their own four-hour set (okay, maybe four sets with breaks in between). After this show, I don’t doubt they could do it.