This past weekend, the Bucketlist crew had the chance to hit up some of the shows happening at Anachronik Festival in Montreal. It’s a relatively young festival currently in its fourth year, and has grown quite a bit in just a few years. So much so, in fact, that to catch all the acts you’d have to bend time and space to your will (…we’re still working on that!) Coop Katacombs, Club Soda, Trh-Bar, and Cafe Campus all hosted events throughout the four-day festival that featured bands and artists which could be referred to as “vintage rock,” but without actually being born before the 1960’s.
According to an April 2014 interview, Frédéric Roy-Hall the chief executive officer had this to say about the festival: “There’s no such thing as vintage music, but we’re trying to create this scene,” he says. “We’re inspired by the rockabilly scene. They are the first rebels of rock and roll. But vintage music is not just rockabilly music. Vintage is what’s pure, what’s a little rebellious, and what has a vintage sound.”
From what we saw of the festival this year, it’s safe to say they have achieved what they set out to do. With headliners such as Strung Out, Danko Jones, and Bloodshot Bill, the fans came out to check out their favorites, to watch bands they had yet to discover, and to dance and have a good time.
The festival opened at Petite Campus on April 29th, and the first highlight was a new group called Nobro from Montreal. They were a last minute replacement for the band Say Yes, who unfortunately were not able to make it. However the three-member punk band Nobro put on quite a solid performance, especially considering they only found out hours beforehand that they had a spot on the bill. Later that evening, playing to a house packed with fans singing along with them was the three piece from Toronto, Danko Jones. They came out hard and didn’t let up. “First Date” from the 2006 album Sleep Is The Enemy was a special fan favorite, with the crowd singing the vocals for the hook. Danko Jones confessed he hadn’t been to Montreal in a long time, and that he was “gonna kiss our ass all night long!” That he certainly did. Heads up for fans across the pond: he and the band will being touring Europe and the UK until pretty much the end of the year.
On the second day of the fest we checked out Coop Katacombes. First up for the evening was the four-piece rock n’ roll band Dany Laj and the Looks, who were celebrating the release of their new full-length LP Word On The Street. Named one of the top ten Montreal bands to watch by CultMtl, they put on a fantastic performance. Their sound is in the true spirit of rock and roll, and they have a stage presence to match. With all the members getting really into it, they have a great dynamic together. “Mr. Rebound” is a fan favorite that they played; you can watch the video for it and others on their site. Next up was Montreal rock duo Les Deuxluxes. They do things a little differently: the gentleman of the duo plays guitar at the same time as playing drums with his feet, including a sideways-framed snare, and a rigged cymbal/tambourine. The lady of the duo plays bass, while they both perform vocals in a theatrical, burlesque-type of act. They are both very skillful musicians, and I don’t think I ever seen someone rock out as hard as she did while wearing stilettos. The crowd loved their energy, and were not shy to sing and dance along. Their set ended with them both shredding it pretty hard, with Miss Deuxluxe collapsing to the floor and kicking over the cymbals.
Ending the night was the rockabilly solo act BloodShot Bill from Montreal. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this guy just stepped out a time machine leaving from the 1950s, as if his style of rock was too intense for them to take so he came to the future to give it to us. He has many fans and they packed Coop Katacombes. He put on a very interactive show, inviting fans to sing along and make requests. He plays a lot in Montreal but also has tour dates all over North America and gigs in the U.K and Europe.
Day three of the festival, we got to have a one-on-one interview with the up-and-coming band Sandveiss (pronounced ‘sand-vice’) from Quebec City. They are a four-piece, hard-rock band that have a 70s feel to them. They performed a great set. All members were proficient on their instruments and it’s clear that they love playing live shows, as we found out that night. You can catch them this summer when they play Heavy Montreal, and in the meantime check out our interview with them!
The highlight of the festival for a lot of fans was the performance by Strung Out at Club Soda on May 2nd. They’re a five-piece band out of Simi Valley, California, who have been around since the early 90s. The venue was packed as they played their brand of punk rock, which has a quick pace and an intellectual influence you can hear. They played a set of about 90 minutes, and the crowd participation was incredible. Moshing, dancing, and singing along, the fans who came out knew what they were in for. “Matchbook” and “Fire Cracker” were just a couple of the tracks that made the crowd go nuts. It was a great night neither the fans nor the band will soon forget.
For those of you who missed the action of the 2015 Anachronik Festival, make sure to get your tickets early for the 2016 edition, and check back to Bucketlist Music Reviews for an announcement of the lineup early next year.
Written by Joey Beaudin
Photography by Eric Brisson Eric Brisson Photography