Most would tell you that a Wednesday night is not the typical night to be irresponsible, stay out late, and/or get intoxicated in one way or another. Those people don’t listen to punk rock. To be fair, neither do I, but in the world of Bucketlist Music Reviews, one can never limit themselves to genres or days of the week! The Anti-Flag gig that went down on Wednesday the 11th of May, at Montreal’s Foufounes Electriques, was worth the lack of sleep. Why? Because punk rock, bitch, that’s why! Am I cool now? Does anybody like me yet?
One of the beauties of reviewing a show for a genre different from what I’m typically involved in is that I don’t know sweet fuck all about most of the acts that I’ll see. Such was the case with homegrown opener, Powernap. That being said, I at least know what The Sainte Catherines’ frontman, Hugo Mudie, looks like. Fun fact; turns out he sings for Powernap (something that I definitely could have used while listening to this cats). Okay, fine, maybe that was a wee bit harsh for the sake of being clever. This was a solid act but with such a seasoned supergroup of musicians, you’d think I’d be sitting there looking like I just took a twelve gauge to the genitals and that was not the case.
If a slight light jam style punk is up your alley, then by all means, this very Rancid-esque band would be your shit. For an outsider like myself, I got the impression like the lot of it was real lazy. I do wanna say that if the entire night were themed in this way, I’d probably be more down just for the consistency. These cats know how to play and it wasn’t like there was a lacking in some sweet tunes. Without hating too hard, though, as seasoned a veteran as Mudie is, I take personal note when a homie wants to keep swinging his microphone around after the wire has already cut on him twice. We get it, dude; you fucking love Mick Jagger, so do we.
Up next was an act I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying time and time again. Based out of Toronto (grumble) was the self-proclaimed, most violent of all the Alexisonfire side projects, Black Lungs. Fronted by the powerhouse known only as Wade MacNeil, and partially backed by the beloved homies of Cancer Bats, this group’s set was a short, sweet, and abrasive one to behold. What mostly differed this act from its predecessor (other than a sightly difference in aggression) was the ability to completely fill a room with sound. You, the reader, might think it’s a matter of a volume knob, but you’d be wrong. Having a tone that reverberates in a hall, or even just musicians that hit their shit harder than others, is a huge deal.
Above all of that, I’ve only got three main points I’d like to make. Point one: hearing a story about Wade jerking off in a sleazy booth somewhere in Montreal with some fucked up eye peaking at him through a hole in the floor was something I never needed to happen. Point two: watching Liam Cormier thrashing around behind a drumkit like an animal made my fucking night perfect. Finally, point three: why, oh, why was I the only dude at a Black Lungs show that wanted to hear jams from Send Flowers. That shit was heartening, man. A wise man I saw perform once had threatened his crowd to read War and Peace (EN FRANCAIS) if they didn’t do what he wanted. If you’re somehow reading this Wade, don’t tempt me.
Now came the moment the flooded room of mall punks had been waiting for (kidding, you’re all hardcore as fuck); Pittsburgh, PA’s political, punk poster boys Anti-Flag broke out on the Foufounes stage like it was the Warped Tour all over again. The sixteen-year-old in me bobbed my head to “The Press Corpse” at a significantly slower velocity than everybody else in the room, but nostalgia is still a gorgeous thing. Bodies were flung, heads were banged (in a significantly less sexual way than you might expect out of me), and voices left hoarse. An Anti-Flag show very rarely disappoints for the fact that it’s just a good fuckin’ time. No, I don’t necessarily agree with the message and the music is essential your punk starter kit, but a good singalong will never go unnoticed, and Anti-Flag has never been short on that.
I dug that whole three-point thing I just did, so I’m going to be redundant. Point one: I’m pretty sure I’ve opened my eyes more in my sleep than frontman Justin Sane did his entire set. Point two: Chris No. 2 really gave a fuck about that dude finding his Identification MID-SONG (that being said, I’ve literally watched the cat jump off stage mid-song to tend to a kid who was getting trampled at a warped tour once, so hats off for giving a shit about your fans). And, point three: their set was mostly the same. From the songs to the antics (including drummer Pat Thetic moving his kit into the middle of the crowd and completing the set down there) to the banter from the band to the crowd. Is this a complaint about said repetition? Nah. If Pat wants to stare at his drumkit like a crack addict for the rest of his life, then kudos to you, dude. I’ll probably keep showing up.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Melissa Martella
*edited by Danielle Kenedy