After more than three years in stasis lock that which might as well have been four million years stuck in a volcano, The Cybertronic Spree finally performed at Capital Ballroom in Victoria.
Transformers Hot Rod, Arcee, Shockwave, Unicron, a Quitesson Judge and Rubmle rolled out on stage to cheering crowd after having to reschedule the show three times since the original date of April 2020. We’re all well aware of what happened back then.
The band from Cybertron originally “landed” in Toronto in 2013 where they drew crowds performing covers from the soundtrack from the 1986 Transformers movie. A decade later, they’re touring in support of their debut album of original music released in August called ‘Ravage’.
This group is definitely more than meets the eye. Hot Rod describes their show as the biggest car crash in the galaxy. They’re not just cosplayers on a concert stage. These robots can really rock and the fact they can do it so well with the challenge of playing instruments in their robot forms is impressive. Playing guitar gloves withhhhhon and playing drums with large robot head and arms can’t be easy.
They kicked off the show with a high energy 80s rock inspired original ‘Run For Your Life’ before going into the movie version of the Transformers theme song. Throughout the set they performed other classic theme songs of 80s/90s childhood including The Thundercats, Power Rangers and Mortal Kombat. They also covered some rock classics by Heart’s ‘Barracuda’, AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ and Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’ were in Tuesday night’s setlist.
With a crowd full of Transformers fans it was surprising that there was only one audience member in costume. Transformer Perceptor could be seen dancing in the front row.
For a band based on a childhood line of toys and cartoon, there was some adult humour mixed in between songs. Hot Rod let drummer Shockwave speak to which Shockwave quickly blurted out “F*** you Hot Rod,” in a barely audible robotic effect. They then talked zbout checking out Cherry Bomb Toys in Victoria where Shockwave bought something. He showed the audience a bright purple vibrator.
Before performing Transformers soundtrack classic ‘The Touch’ Hot Rod proclaimed that the songwriter Stan Bush “wrote the soundtrack to our lives. You know the film I’m talking about right? Boogie Night! That’s right, Boogie Nights built this band.” That 1997 film featured a scene of Mark Wahlberg’s character Dirk Diggler singing ‘The Touch’ poorly in a recording studio.
The Cybertronic Spree are a band that clearly appeals to a comic-con crowd and they play to it very well. Those not into 80s and 90s kid show nostalgia may wonder what exactly is going on, but they’re probably still going to have a good time because The Cybertronic Spree are actually really good band. Both Hot Rod and Arcee have excellent stage presence and vocals and Unicron shreds a solid guitar solo. If only we knew who are behind the masks.
Opening the show was alternative hip-hop artist Wordburglar. The Halifax rapper’s set was very… how do we put this?… Nerd-centric? Rap songs about about Transformers, G.I. Joe, getting his name in Nintendo Power magazine for getting the high score in the video game NARC, and a diss track about his disappointing encounter with a comic book writer hero of his were all in his set. While the subject matter of his music is an acquired taste geared towards a specific demographic, his lyrical deep dive into that subject matter was impressive. Wordburglar even effectively freestyled a song after interacting with audience members up front.
The Cybertronic Spree and Wordburglar would be a perfect show for the next time Capital City Comic Con returns.
If you missed Tuesday’s show and can get to Vancouver Thursday September 21, 2023. They’re performing at the Biltmore Cabaret.
Cybertronic Spree setlist:
Run For Your Life
Transformers The Movie theme
The Hero (One Punch Man Opening)
True Survivor (David Hasselhoff cover)
Barracuda (Heart cover)
Dare (Stan Bush cover)
Thundercats (theme song)
Thunderstruck (ACDC cover)
Doom (theme song)/Power Rangers (theme song)
Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover)
Instruments of Destruction (N.R.G. cover)
Mortal Kombat (theme song)
Nothin’ Left to Lose (Spectre General cover)
Pokemon (theme song)
The Touch (Stan Bush cover)/November Rain (Guns N Roses cover – last part of the song)
Hunger (Spectre General cover)
The Raccoons “Run with Us”
Dare to Be Stupid (Weird Al cover)