They’ve changed Piranha Bar over the years. It used to be such a small venue, but has since been expanded to house many more ruffians. My first order of business upon entering was to take a piss. There was hardened puke on the toilet seat; no go. I went to the cement trough of a urinal and began the process of micturition. The low lip led to splash-back on my ankles. I washed myself only to find there was no paper towel in the entire bathroom. “What curious circle of hell have I wandered into?“, I thought.
The first band up was The Shake Well Brothers. If Kurt Cobain wore skinny shorts, then he’d be a dead ringer for singer and guitarist Luis. Their tunes were good, very rock and garage-jam inspired. I was dancing in my seat while the rest of the crowd was on their feet. They switched up vocal duties between Luis and drummer Ocean. They also complimented each other during many of their songs. I equated it to coyotes howling at the moon. Maybe it wasn’t the best sound, but it always made my hair stand on end. It was pretty darn cool. It was a good vibe at the start; however, there were two flaws I couldn’t overlook. First, the guitar was outta tune for a good portion of their songs, and second, they played too long. It was a Monday night with five bands on the bill. They started at 20:30 but they did not finish until 21:10. This is unacceptable. This is unprofessional.
The next band up was Clairvoyant. They hailed from Toronto and were doing a tour. It showed. They were fantastically tight. They looked like they were having a great time on and off the stage (more on that later). Hannah’s vocals were soothing and smooth, and fitting for their jazzy, hard-rock feel. My only beef was that I couldn’t hear her all that well. Riley looked like Dan’s evil twin from Gossip Girl, and my oh my did he kill the bass solo during “Callisto.” It would’ve made “Maxwell Murder” cry. Drummer Robyn also sang, like, while playing the drums. I’ve always had immense respect for drummers who can pull that off. And she didn’t just sing on easy beats, either. A true talent she has. Also, they released their EP that day. It’s called Rot, and you should buy it.
Broken Foot from Peterborough were the highlight of the night for me. Those cats were young and energetic. They started their set fast and furiously and didn’t let up the entire time. Bassist and singer Kieran Krumins was entertaining throughout their whole set. Between songs he kept up a steady banter with the audience. Their musicianship wasn’t the greatest and at times it was sloppy but, to me, that added to their magic. It took me back to the time when bands didn’t give a fuck about anything but having fun, and subsequently making you have fun. Their drummer Craig Ayrheart also sang; it seemed to be the reccurring theme for the night. The band jumped and wiggled and generally just cavorted around the stage. It was all tight muscles and “I’m taking a dump” faces; the epitome of ‘bro’ punk. What’s more, the two chick’s from Clairvoyant were rocking out in the crowd, starting mosh pits and dancing around. They clearly loved the music and the scene, and I loved them for that.
Next up was After Party Acid People, and they looked the part. Guitarist Dusty Miles was wearing a bomber jacket without a shirt underneath, sunglasses, and tight pants. Pauly Burd looked like he got lost looking for waves to shred and ended up playing the bass instead. Sam Sevenths was a throwback from The Doors, singing sexily while playing the keys and backing guitar. Drummer Alex Bigras looked tired and somewhat outta place, everything you’d expect to see at an after party. These guys are Montreal staples and they put on a helluva show; whether it’s Dusty high-stepping à la Deion Sanders while playing guitar, or Pauly lost in his own grooves. They were surf rock with enough pop sensibilities that it made me smile and warmed my heart. What froze my heart was the amount of people in the venue. Most of them had left by the time APAP took the stage, although it didn’t seem to bother them. They beckoned the crowd up front and got them dancing from the get-go. These cats knew their craft and wanted to make you appreciate it. If you’re a musician and play in a band and are looking for a band to hype-up the crowd before you go on, look no further. You can thank me in the comments sections below.
Unfortunately, I don’t have much to say about The Barrel Heads. I didn’t catch them, since it was after midnight by the time APAP finished playing; after all, it was a Monday, and I had work the next morning. Let this be a lesson to all musicians: if you’re the opening band, respect the touring and headliner slot and only play twenty minutes max. Otherwise you’re fucking them over. If you’re a promoter and the opening band is going over that twenty min mark, pull their plugs. Otherwise, you’re fucking over the touring and headlining band. We’re all musicians and we should be in this together, helping each other out. It’s time to start acting accordingly.
Written by Aaron Deck
*edited by Kate Erickson