Concert Review – Walter Froebrich Memorial Show (The Rockpile, Toronto, ON, 01/07/2023)

A beautiful tribute to the life of the Metal Mayor of Toronto and his undisputed passion for heavy music. 

INTRODUCTION: AM HERE…

If you have no idea who Walter Froebrich was, let’s say he was the Metal Mayor of Toronto, as I’ve seen many people referring to him as. He was in pretty much every metal concert we all attended i the city in the past 20 years, from Heavy Metal to Death and Black Metal, from Thrash Metal to Deathcore and Viking Metal, and so on, always holding a few beers, always raising the horns, always surrounded by friends, and always supporting metal music no matter what. He even had his own motto, “AM HERE.” Sadly, in November 2022 due to lack of proper healthcare by the Toronto authorities Walter passed away at home after several visits to the hospital, and that brought a lot of grief to all metal fans in the city. If he had received a proper service, if he had been through the required scans and so on, he would still be around us. He will be extremely missed by the metal community in all upcoming concerts in Toronto, no doubt about that. I was going to use the common expression “may his soul rest in piece”, but I’m sure Walter himself would prefer a slight adaptation of it, “may his soul rest in metal”.

WALTER FROEBRICH MEMORIAL SHOW

That’s why on January 7 the Toronto scene came together to celebrate Walter’s life and his passion for heavy music at The Rockpile with the Walter Froebrich Memorial Show, an event organized by Steve Hoeg, Drew Masters, Junior Jr LeClerc and Jake Disman, among others, with no more, no less than TWENTY SEVEN bands playing from 1pm until midnight to a sold out venue, while money for Walter’s family was raised through a silent auction and a 50/50 draw. Unfortunately due to personal reasons I could not attend the celebration, but my friend and photographer Keith Ibbitson of Lower Eastside Photography was there to capture some amazing shots of the entire show, and to provide us with a sense of how awesome everything was and how happy Walter must be whenever he is right now with his homage.

In Keith’s own words, “we raised over 17,000 dollars for Walter’s family. It was a sold out show. All the bands were absolutely amazing! Drew Masters was the MC for the evening. The friends Walter made over his concerts outings just blew my mind! Each one is family, the metal community is one big family, they come together for each other like no other.” And as you can see from the photo gallery below, it was indeed a night to remember, a celebration of life and metal, exactly how Walter would have liked it to be. Here are all the fantastic bands that were on the bill, and as many people have said Walter would have certainly taken a selfie with each one of them…

The House of Haunt
Snake River Redemption
Dominant Species
Madam
Anger by Design
GFU
Dawn Vally
Cowboys from Hell (Pantera tribute)
Disciple (Slayer tribute)
King Moonracer
Byrdy
Fury 44
Sons Of Sabbath
Freeloader
Spades GT
MLC
Omnivert
Devil Witch
The Dominion
The Android Meme
Burdizzo
Crème Flesh
Pillars of Eternity (Down tribute)
Red Lowe (circus performer)
Phear
Chainfall
Gen-X (90’s rock cover band)

In the Facebook page to the event you can find a lot more details about the whole thing, see other photos taken by different attendees, other posts and discussions around Walter and the metal community in Toronto, and so on, as well as a very nice summary of the night on the video below. RIP WALTER! AM HERE!

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