Royal Tusk hits The Mansion

Tight-knit rock band delivers on an adrenaline-fueled evening

Royal Tusk played The Mansion on March 3.
From Royal Tusk Facebook

In the grungy, low-ceilinged upper room of The Mansion on March 3, Royal Tusk performed their sound check. Hardcore fans milled around, their murmuring escalating in the room as they excitedly anticipated the evening’s main event.

The Edmonton-based rock headliners, Royal Tusk, stopped into Kingston’s The Mansion on March 3 as part of their winter 2020 tour, Thunder of the Tundra. Toronto-based alternative rock trio Ready the Prince, local band Listen Up Kid, and heavy rock band Brkn Love, opened for them.

A wall of merch embossed with band logos and lyrics lined the wall, opposite the elevated stage with a red and yellow banner hanging above bearing the Royal Tusk logo. When they were ready to start, bassist Sandy MacKinnon yelled into his mic, “Are you ready?” and the crowd screamed.

The opening tracks set the tone for the evening. The group is polished, their sound tight and united, thundering through the speakers.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Daniel Carriere sipped a small can of pineapple juice between songs. At one point he pauses and leans into his mic asking, “Does this look stupid? F—k it, I’m going to keep drinking my juice.”

In addition to MacKinnon and Carriere, the group is comprised of guitarist and back-up vocalist Quinn Cyrankiewicz, and drummer Calen Stuckel, who effortlessly play off the audience both during and between songs. This is a sign of the seasoned band’s ability to navigate the pitfalls and adrenaline-fueled highlights of live shows.

Royal Tusk was formed in 2014, and the original crew recorded their first EP Mountain that same year. Since then, the group has released a diverse mix of singles, EPs, and albums to an ever-growing fanbase.

Following the release of their 2018 album Tusk II, Royal Tusk embarked on an international tour, spending time in the US and Europe.

After the show, Cyrankiewicz mentioned how eager the group was to continue on their Canadian-based tour after spending years touring outside of their home country.

On stage, the group proclaimed their love and admiration for their Kingston fans, saying that the show is reminiscent of a house party. A single disco ball revolved above the head-banging members of their audience, which was a mix of young college fans and older punk rockers.

Their set was smooth, each song leading effortlessly into the next. The band transitioned between slower, softer rock and heavy punk without trouble.

The easy progression through musical styles is reflective of the shifting formation of the band. Speaking to the evolution of their sound, Cyrankiewicz stated that the lineup of members has changed over the years.

The most recent departure of their keyboard player has resulted in a heavier tone overall, with the other musicians now compensating to maintain a full and balanced sound.

After this lively show, the members of Royal Tusk are looking forward to more Canadian shows as they continue their Thunder of the Tundra tour.


This article has been corrected to reflect Listen Up Kid's presence in the lineup. 

The Journal regrets the error.

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