Wednesdays are not exactly the ideal time to attend a high-octane rock show, but sometimes you just have to say fuck it. It seems A LOT of people agreed with that sentiment as Foufounes Electrique was especially wild for a hump day. When photographer Marc-Antoine Morin and I first grabbed a beer and entered the concert hall, it was eerily empty. I naively thought that Black Lips, Fucked Up, and Wooing would be playing to just us; I actually lost faith in humanity. Flash forward two hours and you would find me getting doused in cheap beer and narrowly avoiding a drunken stage diver who had decided that it was best to pull this stunt during a ballad. All this is to say, it may have been a Wednesday night but it sure felt like a Saturday night.
Wooing was the only band I wasn’t too familiar with, and I had initial reservations that they wouldn’t fit along with the more intense headliners. I mean there is no denying that they were the most mellow of the three acts but they were a perfect warm-up of what was to come. They actually had a bunch neat tricks up their sleeve. Lead singer Rachel Trachtenberg has a Kate Micucci from Garfunkel and Oates’s vibe going on, but then on a dime, she’ll let out a punk rock wail that will knock you on your ass. This is a band all about dynamics and defying your expectations. They can be mellow and sweet but then throw a fit when you least expect it. You could tell the audience didn’t know what to make of it, but by the end, they had been won over. It’s not every day you see something stylistically unique, so you might as well shut up and bask in it.
Arguably Fucked Up probably should have closed the show due to how LOUD and energetic they were, but then again, they don’t have the fanbase that Black Lips have. That hardly matters though cause the Toronto based hardcore punk band made the absolute best of their first time at Foufs. Vocalist and world class screamer Damian Abraham, in particular, seemed to be having the time of his life. It was miraculous to see him angry as hell within the confines of the song and then become a giant teddy bear once the band stopped playing. He shared his love for Montreal, especially for Smoke Meat Pete, and by the end of the set, he was on the floor giving myself and anyone in the vicinity a giant hug. This love for the audience went both ways. I got intense goosebumps as we all shouted “Hello my name is David/Your name is Veronica” from the all-time classic “Queen of Hearts”.
…and then Black Lips hit the stage. Let’s just say their live show’s reputation is 100% accurate. I have never seen a mosh pit quite like the one I found myself in.
It was much like a Flogging Molly concert but much sloppier. I would best describe it as a hootenanny where everyone is on shrooms and doused in bourbon. Everyone was falling over each other and it almost seemed as if every person in the room tried stage diving that night. Was I in that Our Lady Peace music video for “Somewhere Out There”? One dude even decided to share a joint with bassist/vocalist Jared Swilley, which caused the front of the stage to reek of weed and adrenaline sweat. It was raw, unfiltered fun. The kind that is increasingly hard to find in everyday life.
The band’s performance was sloppy as hell, but that’s their thing and not many bands out there do it better. If you love garage rock you HAVE to see these guys in their natural habitat. Thrashing around like an idiot to “Katrina” is akin to a bunch of monkeys throwing shit at each other. Sure, you’ll smell and be hella sticky but you’ll never forget it. I also loved that they spent a good chunk of their set trying out new material on us. Never ones to shy from experimentation, several songs had a country tinge to them. This also helped give the exhausted crowd a much-needed break. If there is any disappointment I had is that they didn’t play “Bad Kids”! I applaud them for having the balls to not play their most famous song but that’s like if The Ramones had never played “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Sure, it’s overplayed, but who doesn’t like coming together to sing the words that EVERYONE knows? Other than that though, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect way to get through the week. Sometimes you just have to break the monotony, take a leap and hope to god you don’t end up faceplanting in a crowded room.
Written by Shawn Thicke
Photography by Marc-Antoine Morin
*edited by Danielle Kenedy