On any given day, regardless of where you are or who you’re talking to, if you asked somebody to name three musical acts from Montreal, Quebec, there’s a ridiculously high probability that you’ll get answers like Simple Plan, Céline Dion, or Arcade Fire. What about Kataklysm? What about Quo Vadis? I’m even willing to bet that most music efficianados don’t know that Voivod (one of the many stops on the road of Jason Newsted, formerly of Metallica) is actually from Quebec. Maybe you’re reading my work for the first time, so I’ll keep it simple… I love my city, but, goddamn, do I hate for what we’re known musically. Metal and hardcore in Montreal is alive and well though I nearly started to forget this myself until this past Friday at Foufones Electriques when I was asked to not only review, but to work as a stage hand for the return of Montreal’s lady metal pride and joy, The Agonist.
Now, if you’ve ever been to a musical performance of the heavier and slightly darker variety in Montreal, be it metal, hardcore, punk, or whatever the hell tickles your fancy, you know that bands from any of these genres tend to perform in packs. Big packs. Five bands, if not more, kind of big packs. This show was no exception. First up to bat were the newcomers of the bunch, Temptist. I am a man that believes in growth and improvement, and this is a band that needs both. Music burns bright in the hearts of these young chaps, but there is a painful sense of dissonance in their craft. Each member certainly gives it their all. The problem, however, is that they each seem so focused on making their respective parts as cool as possible, neglecting to create a unified force to be reckoned with. Think less every mean for themselves and more Power Rangers.
Next up were Red Skies. Oh Red Skies…these boys will never cease to amaze me. They will also never cease to piss me off for being better at everything I do. Do you remember that time I wrote a review about one of their performances and I said they’d played better? Well, they did this really cool thing this time around calling shutting me the fuck up. How did they do that, you might ask? Just go see them. Ambiguity for the win, bitches.
Now, show of hands: who remembers the first band I ever reviewed? For those of you who actually raised your hand, stop falling for that joke! You’re seriously an idiot. For those of you who don’t actually give a shit, it was BornBroken. It was about a year ago, and they were opening for The Agonist. History repeated itself here only this time the band had a slightly smaller, less ginger singer. This was the first show the band has done with new vocalist Jeff Boisvert (ex-Forbidden Sin) and drummer Steve Burns (Mythosis). There were some noticeable differences between this time and the last, and not just in average weight of the band. Without getting into crazy detail, the overall sound of the new shit gives off a much more deathcore vibe, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The only thing I would suggest to the boys of BornBroken is to remember the importance of stage presence.
As we near the end of the evening, the audience is asked by Ogenix upon their arrival on stage if they are ready. If you’ve heard of this band before now, I am actually quite jealous. Furthermore, I feel like an idiot for only discovering them now. When Ogenix hit the stage, you either saddled up and enjoyed the ride, or you were trampled. Stocked to the brim in sample and effect, which typically doesn’t sit well with my stubborn and old ways. They were tighter than a pin prick to make up for it. There wasn’t a single beat to which I didn’t want to lose my shit.
By this point, metal had been coming out of your ass all night. This trend was about to continue, only now, there’d be a lady making it come out of your ass. A big welcome to The Agonist and their dashing new singer Vicky Psarakis! I am going to pretend for a moment that you guys have no idea who The Agonist is. Big, beautiful, fast, destructive…and did I mention big and beautiful? Any melodic death metal act tends to live by these words, and our homegrown heroes are no different. Notable mention goes to the fact that the band seemed so much more connected than in previous endeavours.
As per usual, I was spitting over the general shit show that is the sound quality at Foufs, therefore critiquing the power of the band’s new singer versus that of the old just wouldn’t be fair. With that said, the only criticism I can give to our headliner was that the brand spanking new frontlady didn’t quite grab the room by the balls as I am sure she is more than capable of doing. Remember, singers across the world, if you’re not holding an instrument, just start scaring people. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it.
As I said before, metal in Montreal has always been alive and well. We just need to remember the beauty of finding ourselves in everything that we do. Never strive to be the next someone else. Dream of being the first you. Or being drunk. I like both, but drunk works out just fine for me…and quite often…