Author: Alex Sievers
In September 2021, iconic underground music event, Furnace Fest, returned for its belated 20th anniversary – pushed back due to The Rona. It featured a veritable stacked bill from the intersections of hardcore, metalcore, punk, alt, and rock. Everyone from Underoath, Killswitch Engage, Taking Back Sunday, Zao, He Is Legend, From Autumn To Ashes, Thursday, Evergreen Terrace; to Dying Wish, END, Silent Planet, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, Turnstile and more over the course of three insane days. The shit my dreams are made of, basically.
During this multi-day fest, there were many notable moments. Glassjaw gloriously performing 2002’s Worship & Tribute front to back; Underoath playing “When The Sun Sleeps” for the first time in fuck knows how long; a Beloved reunion finally happened – I mean, holy shit – and there was even a Strongarm reunion(!) for a cover of “Advent Of A Miracle” to close out Further Seems Forever’s set. Another big moment – perhaps the biggest – from the fest arrived during Comeback Kid’s afternoon set. In which the Canadians concluded matters with a surprise cover of “The Year Summer Ended In June”, dedicated to their good pals in Misery Signals, and featuring an all-star lineup.
Okay, context. Misery Signals, coming off the back of last year’s exceptional Ultraviolet LP, had to pull out of Furnace Fest, citing logistic issues. To mark the occasion and shout out their friends, a one-off performance of that seminal ‘04 cut, members of Misery Signals, Counterparts, Comeback Kid, Shai Hulud, END, and even an OG member who were in attendance banded together to deliver something special. It’s a moment in time, really, one that probably couldn’t happen without the lineup Furnace rostered.
Stu Ross plays guitar in Comeback Kid and Misery Signals, Andrew Neufeld from the fellow Canadian legends screaming “Year Summer Ended In June” is surreal. As is seeing Brendan Murphy from Counterparts sharing vocal duties, a band that straight-up would not exist as they currently do without the massive influence Misery Signals had upon them. You’ve got the ever-talented Moe Watson, best known for keeping time in Shai Hulud, just crushing Branden Morgan’s drum parts. That’s no easy feat: Morgan is one of the more inventive drummers in metalcore period. Then there’s two Misery Signals ex-pats: Greg Thomas, who now riffs hard in END and produces/engineers cool new metalcore bands like Church Tongue, and even one of the band’s original guitarists, Jeff Aust (from With Honor), join in this goosebumps-inducing performance. I really cannot understate the significance of this. The FOMO is real.
At a time when the idea of shows this size even happening after the last 18 months is minuscule but slowly returning, a one-off tribute like this Misery Signals dedication makes a return to live music feel so triumphant. Hell, I wasn’t even there and that’s how I felt watching videos of this “Year Summer Ended In June” cover all the way from Australia in the comfort of my home. The end result is this awesome crossover of so many bands, of so many friends, creating this incredible moment that clearly means as much to those who played it as those who lost their collective shit for it out in the crowd.