The first time Cancer Bats played The Pavilion, it was 2005 and the Toronto punk band only had 11 minutes of demo tape recorded.
"We did Misfits covers to fill out our set," laughs lead screamer Liam Cormier, over the phone from Ottawa. That trip was Cancer Bats' first set of shows outside of Toronto, and cemented their future as a band that wanted to make it.
"It was never meant to be a full-time band, or as big as it's gotten," says Cormier, adding that once he and fellow bandmate Scott Middleton decided Cancer Bats was worth pursuing, Cormier took the train from Toronto to Montreal each weekend to jam with Middleton. Fast-forward five years and Cancer Bats are now a four-piece, with the addition of Mike Peters and Jaye Schwarzer, was nominated as New Group of the Year in last year's Junos and released its third full-length, Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones, in April.
Having just finished a tour of the States, Cormier says Cancer Bats had a chunk of free time and decided to put together this "crazy, little quick tour." "Little" doesn't really do it justice---the band will have driven from Vancouver to Halifax in 16 days.
This Saturday's show at The Pavilion is the all-ages venue's first festival and fundraiser, and has revolved around Cancer Bats.
"They are definitely one of our core Pavilion bands over the past six years," says manager Chris Smith. "I am stoked to have them play this year! When I found out they were looking to come out east, we moved our festival a week earlier so they could play it."
Cormier reciprocates. "The shows are always good. It's where we first started getting big. Having such a connection to it [The Pavilion], we definitely wanted to do it."
The show starts at 1pm with a barbecue outside The Pavilion, and bands start inside at 2pm. If you ask Cancer Bats nicely they might play Misfits covers, for old time's sake.