The Burlington Post-Hardcore Story: Prologue

Spark and fade out, like you have before. You gave me nothing, I needed something.”

I feel like this is something that requires documentation. Although there have been music scenes before this, and there are more scenes to come, this is the one scene that is a portrait of life in the suburban sprawl know as Burlington, Ontario. Although the scene is still very much alive, it was just over ten years ago when everything really blossomed.

The Burlington Scene.

It’s hard to really give it a name, but not for the lack of trying – I will refer to it as the Burlington Scene, mainly because the Mecca of post-hardcore is the Burlington YMCA.  It’s not a punk scene or an emo scene, the bands range from pop-punk, to hardcore, to metal, to everything between.  It’s not exclusively Burlington either, it’s not the entire GTA but it reaches as far as St. Catharines comfortably.  Other scenes exist in nearby areas but this is arguably the most influential. I guess the real question is: have we put ourselves on the map?

I like to equate our scene to the Levittown, New York scene that bore Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Glassjaw, Bayside, and countless others.  In the bigger picture, the scene is just a corner of a musically rich area. For the sake of space and organization, I’m only going to write about the post-hardcore community, but other parts of the GTA have amazing scenes in other genres such as hip-hop and pop.

Like fertile soil for farming, the suburbs are a fertile ground for the genre.  Both the Long Island scene and the Burlington scene share a similar distance from a thriving metropolis. Perhaps the suburbs are comfortable enough for teens to find outlet in their angst through music. Regardless of the reason, there’s something about the suburbs that brings out the music.

The depth and intensity of the scene parallels the punk scene of the ‘70s and the Seattle grunge scene of the ‘90s, perhaps it even runs as deep as the East and West Coast rap scenes.

The Post-Hardcore Family.

We just happened to be in the right place at the right time. In a decade we have seen: Alexisonfire, Boys Night Out, Dead and Divine, Counterparts, Saint Alvia, Billy Talent, and on and on ad infinitum.  There’s no shortage of bands from the area, even the less-than-international bands have had immense local success.  Bands such as Moneen, The Fullblast, The Reason and Life Ruiner are just a few of the household names of the local youth.

Looking Back.

When I reflect on the past ten years of my life and how I’ve viewed what is affectionately regarded as the scene.  My aim in writing this is to document a lot of fond memories that the local youths have shared and taken part in, hopefully from the perspective of some of the people that made it possible.  From my perspective there’s a whole psychology and set of ethics and logic to explore. I’d like to explore the Burlington YMCA, the bands, the fans and their stories. The who, what, where, when, and why’s of the scene, and the future of it all.

I hope this will become a mix-tape collaboration of writing, that many artists will lend their thoughts to this collection.

If you’d like to share a story or offer information, please e-mail Bryan at

By Bryan Myers

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