By: Cassandra Popescu
Who: USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker)
When: July 11, 2015
Where: CIBC Pan Am Park
On a hot summer day in July USS turned up the heat even more and brought the party back to Toronto with an electrifying performance, handstands, hilariously bad puns and epic dance moves. USS already has that type of sound that reaches down into your soul, compels you to dance and shout beyond control, and brings nothing but good vibes. Seeing them live, however, is a whole other experience. They really know how to engage the crowd, and get everyone up on their feet. By the end of their set, even the hesitant members of the crowd were dancing and singing along. With a combination of acoustic guitar, alt-rock, dub step, and other electronic elements, it’s no surprise that this duo puts on a performance that cannot be replicated.
USS opened their show with Yo Hello Hooray (Everyday) and instantly brought up the energy. This song urges the listener to remember the good memories and not to take things seriously, which was a perfect choice to set the mood of the show. Looking around to the crowd I could see people laughing, dancing, freaking out and having a great time. Needless to say, USS and their fans are the perfect example of how music brings the positivity out of everyone. Anti-Venom, a faster-paced and more edgy number followed, and brought out the shufflers who couldn’t resist the beat.
A few songs in, they brought things down a notch to perform an acoustic version of 2 and 15/16ths, with Ash on guitar and the “Human Kebab” taking a step back from the turntable to do some beat boxing; claiming that this was an experiment to see if they could perform at a giant campfire if all the power in the world went out. Since they succeeded in their endeavor, and it was awesome, I definitely want to be invited to the next USS bonfire. This is the Best followed and the crowd went wild. I might have freaked out a bit, too. This high-energy number was paired with an exhilarating performance and a huge reaction of shouts and wonderfully excited off-key singing from the crowd. Simply put, This is the Best is the BEST. Actually.
A few songs in, USS figured that the crowd was getting tired and we needed a break to stretch. They got everyone to put their hands high in the air, but knew that we couldn’t possibly stretch without some nice swaying music so they kindly played us a sample of Careless Whisper by George Michael. Shortly after, they brought the energy back up by urging us to jump around, to the tune of Jump Around, of course.
The last three songs of their set were non-stop power, featuring a crazy epic dance solo and guitar playing from Ash during N/A OK, who was probably just consumed with awesomeness and had to somehow release it. The crowd went wild during the blast from the past Hollow Point Sniper Hyperbole and the more recently released, Yin Yang.
After walking off the stage, the audience was craving more and they returned for a generous three-song encore, ending the show with Damini. Technically, though, the show was closed with a nostalgic, unifying cover of Hakuna Matata. Ash sang a cappella, and the audience joined in while Ash slowly took a decrescendo until the song was just a whisper and the voices of the crowd took over.
Overall, the show was a big party full of fun times and positive energy. I would 100% recommend seeing USS live, and even though this was my second time seeing them I’m still craving more. Even better, this show was free thanks to Panamania, and there will be many more free events to come full of amazing Canadian talent. So get out there, support the local scene, and be proud to be Canadian!
I’ve been involved in music my whole life and have developed a passion for helping out or working in the industry any way I can. I’m interested in helping talented artists gain the recognition they deserve in this crazy business. I am currently studying Communication Studies at York University in Toronto, and working at a local theatre doing marketing and communications, as well as helping out a local festival called Rock the Coliseum. Indie, alt-rock/pop, and metal are my favourites but I’m open to all music genres! If I’m not at a show, I’m doing yoga, grabbing coffee, or looking for some craft beer.