I went to see some shows the past few weeks, here are my highly subjective thoughts & experiences from some of them:
Public Animal, Yardlets, Mountain Dust, Dead Ranch – Turbo Haus, May 14
This show didn’t seem that interesting until I heard this:
It then became an absolute must. ‘The power of the riff compels me’ as they say. Dead Ranch was cool but Ian Blurton’s Public Animal stole the show. They were the perfect good time Saturday night rock’n’roll band.
It’s too bad the four-band bill only started at 10:30. The place was dead & deserted for Yardlets, who ended at 2:30am. Shows should pretty much always end with enough time for people to catch the last metro.
Chelsea Wolfe – Theatre Fairmont, May 16
Abyss is a pretty great album; that Chelsea Wolfe came through Montreal a 2nd time since it’s release is lucky for anyone who hadn’t heard it in time for her show back in September (ie: me).
As hoped & expected, most of Abyss was played. And the crowd was super hot for it, pretty-much every song was cheered as soon as it started. The crowd’s energy was surprising given the chill gloominess of the music, but it served as a testament to how powerful the music actually is. The room was filled with a sense of personal connection and intimacy to what was being played, and so it came with the overwhelming appreciation to match.
Clutch & Corrosion of Conformity – Higher Ground, May 18
Corrosion of Conformity were disappointing. They have the songs (they stuck to their 90’s classics) and the sound (riffy, heavy rock), but somehow didn’t put it all together. They sounded out of synch & as if all the songs were being played slightly wrong. Dedicating “Vote With A Bullet” to Bernie Sanders was kind of weird but the crowd still popped.
Clutch rules. Their completely unassuming, no-nonsense approach to being the best band of the last decade** makes me like them even more. If you saw them in the Dunkin Donuts next to the venue, you wouldn’t have looked twice. And on stage it’s just heads down getting business – no fancy lights, no rockstar moves, just killer jams. Last year’s Psychic Warfare was featured heavily but they also played songs from throughout their catalogue – “Minotaur” & “Spacegrass” were nice surprises. It’s a shame they haven’t played Montreal in 7 years!
**In the last 12 years they have five great albums and only one non-great album (2009’s Strange Cousins From The West).
Five hours round-trip on a Greyhound to Burlington + four hours sleeping on a bench waiting for the 4am bus back to Montreal: totally worth it. And what did I do after getting home at 7 in the morning? Stayed up listening to Clutch for another hour… It was that kind of show.
Vulgar Deli & Scare – Piranha, May 20
Despite having seemingly 60% new members since the last time I saw them – which was probably 80% different than the ‘classic’ line-up (it’s hard to keep track, one batch of ugly dudes looks just like the next), Vulgar Deli continues to be one of the best bands ever. Great songs performed with incredible intensity, no frills needed. It’s that simple.
Quebec City’s Scare were on right after and fit perfectly with their sludgy, sometimes upbeat, hardcore. An enthusiastic crowd who knew all the gang vocals made me feel out of touch for not already knowing them. Gladly, touch has been reacquired…. for now….
Touch this with your ears:
Weedeater, Author & Punisher, Today Is the Day – Petit Campus, May 21
Author & Punisher is the best thing going these days. There weren’t a lot people at this show and there were even less (30?) when he played at Katacombes last fall. So a lot of you need to be wised-up: A&P is one-man band made up by a engineer-metalhead who plays a custom rig of home-made machines. Totally unique, super heavy & completely fascinating.
Pouzza – Outdoor Stage (Clark x De Maisonneuve), May 22
When I was 16 and went to Polliwog for the first time, my mom gave me a ride down to Jeanne-Mance park. Upon seeing the crowd of degenerates and lowlifes at the fest she commanded “Johnny, stay in the car” (which, for the record, didn’t happen). The best part of hanging out at Pouzza on a Sunday afternoon was seeing all the parents who brought their (way less than 16 year old) children out for afternoon of punk in the park. Warm fuzzy feelings all around.
Accidentally walking in on the Montreal Salsa Convention at Place Desjardins was pretty good too, & definitely more interesting than Les Breastfeeders (headlining the Pouzza outdoor stage). Incidentally, it was MCed by CKUT’s own Juan-Carlos Quintana (Macondo, Fridays 8pm).
Getting to see your favourite band at your favourite venue on your favourite holiday sounds pretty sweet right? Too bad it didn’t sound like anything – the show was cancelled! One of the dudes in Dopethrone (Vince, singer/guitar) broke his leg a few days before so they had to nix a bunch of shows. Bummer!
At least this got new locals Deathbringer on my radar; and if you like cavernous death metal, get them on yours:
& While we’re at it, here’s the new Dopethrone track:
The Body, Profane Order, Skin, BYHD – La Vitrola, May 30
The highlight of this show was walking out on to St-Laurent in between bands and seeing some dude fucking. Directly across the street, third floor, right in the window, lights on, no curtain. His partner went unseen but the warm summer air carried all the sounds down to the small crowd watching from in front of La Vitrola. At one point his foot ended up outside the window, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Good times….
Seeing new locals Profane Order for the second time in less than a week wasn’t so bad either. If you like your metal Bolt Thrower-y, keep your eyes & ears open for them.
Monolord – Montreal Earslaughter Fest, Katacombes, June 5
Without a doubt, the past year and a bit has been the best ever for live heavy music in this city. Ufomammut, Electric Wizard, Yob (twice!), Bongzilla, Sleep, Neurosis, Earthless, & WIndhand were just some of the highlights. Take a second to reflect on how ridiculous that list is (and if you don’t really know those bands, take my word for it: it’s an extremely ridiculous list). Now imagine how amazing Sweden’s Monolord must have been to be better than all those bands.
Comparing them to the aforementioned Electric Wizard & Sleep, while perfectly describing what they sound like, makes them sound like knockoffs. The thing is Monolord aren’t worshipping at the altar of the greats; they are building their own.
Super heavy, mega riffy, ultra captivating & pure zone… while all accurate, none of those adjectives do the show justice. Neither do the couple of terrible quality videos on YouTube. Oh well, you missed it, show of the year.
Luckily, you have a chance at redemption: Monolord are playing in Toronto on September 1st. Get in touch if you want to carpool.
So, anyway, let’s recap, in the last month we had: most of one of my favourite albums from the past year, the best band of the last decade, one of the best bands ever, the best thing going, my favourite band (almost) & the show of the year. None of that is hyperbole! It was a pretty great couple of weeks of music. The next few aren’t too shabby either. Some standouts include: Atari Teenage Riot – SAT June 17, Groovy Aardvark – Metropolis June 18, Nails – Foufs June 20, & Power Trip – Foufs July 11.