Ceremony thought they would never play in Canada again.
"We had some legal trouble that we didn't see getting fixed," says guitarist Anthony Anzaldo obliquely. "But we did, and we're very excited."
The version of Ceremony that will play NXNE will likely surprise anyone who saw their more chaotic live show before the ban.
Like labelmates Fucked Up, who rocked the same stage last year, this version of the band should be able to command the big, open public space of Yonge-Dundas Square in the afternoon sun, hopefully without scaring too many children.
Though they've always displayed a propensity for stretching the boundaries of their genre, the California punks' latest album, Zoo, their first for indie mega-label Matador, discards their strident 80s hardcore style to explore slower tempos, melody, big, anthemic choruses and gothic, post-punk textures while retaining their angsty, heavy edge.
For a band named after a Joy Division song, the transformation comes as the latest stage in a long-simmering maturation process in which many of their fans have followed along.
"We still draw a lot of teenagers," jokes Anzaldo. "But with Zoo we're starting to get more people experiencing mid-life crises."