I awoke to foggy skies and a forecast calling for thunderstorms during the evening, and I couldn’t think of a better setting to be in anticipation of a metal doom/sludge show. I’d like to think the acts kept the storm away as it got sucked up by the intense music – no thunder was to be heard aside from the sounds infiltrating my cranium that night, and this was a show I won’t soon forget. (A shout out to Greenland Productions for hosting the event!)
Before I get into it, sadly USA Out Of Vietnam had to cancel “due to a non-life-threatening injury” as band member Jonathan Cummins wrote on the event page. I was looking forward to seeing them, as it’s been many moons since I last had the chance. Wishing a speedy recovery to you, sir, and I highly recommend checking these cats out at any rate!
Now on to the show…
I arrived about twenty minutes early to Café Campus, and some folks had already snagged their spots in front of the stage, which was packed with gear. I was wondering how the hell the opening act would fit on there! At the same time, it got me more stoked for what was to come.
By the time the lights dimmed to a reddish-purple hue, the place was getting packed. Opening act C H R I S T arose to the stage and they nailed it! (The name is pronounced in the French form of the cuss word, as a band member explained to me). Playing three out of four tracks from their album T O W E R, they definitely set a great tone for the show. They have a great mix of experimental intensity that I think anyone into this genre would dig. The track I dug the most was “Planar.” A droning start led up to intense drumming (that was better felt live); it was a feast for the ears! “Ornement” gave me an Earth vibe, so if you’re a fan of that band, be sure to check these guys out.
Next up was Boston’s InAeona. They are catchy at times, the track “Sun Moon” being an example, yet heavy and in-your face for the most part. Vocalist/guitarist Bridge Laviazar was great to watch, with her fierce voice and not-giving-any-fucks thrashing. Bassist Dave Soucy added to the chaos, and between those two and the blue lighting punctuated with well-timed spotlight flashes, it wasn’t hard to have your head go into overdrive…and there were still two acts to go, oh man! Closing with “Soldier,” they received a huge applause and a lot of approval from this Habs-crazy town, despite living in the “enemy” city.
Before the third act KYLESA hit the stage, I was salivating after seeing two drum kits set up and an instrument improvised from a skateboard. Fucking eh, right? Once they hit the stage, saying my mind was blown is an understatement. “Unknown Awareness” gave me goosebumps…well, so did pretty much every track, but that one stuck with me. I loved watching vocalist/guitarist Laura Pleasants get lost in her playing- a fucking metal goddess right there, man. There was no way you could get bored watching these guys blend punk, psych, sludge, and much more into their tunes. I’m kicking myself for not discovering this act sooner as they’ve been around since 2001. Oh, and they use a motherfucking Theremin in some tracks, how can you not love that?! An act not to be missed if they come by your town, and check out the video for “Unspoken,” trippy stuff that was great live.
Finally Sweden’s Cult Of Luna hit the brightly-lit, fogged-up stage, and because of all the fog it took me awhile to notice that again there two drummers. Opening with “The Sweep” it took mere seconds to know this was gonna be fucking intense! Navigating the crowd for photos was a challenge as it seemed everyone was frozen in time, locked in a trance. (I almost forgot to keep shooting!) In particular, vocalist/guitarist Johannes Persson was hypnotizing to watch; not to take away from the other members, but there was just something about his musicianship that kept my eyes and ears locked. The stand out track by far for me was “Dark City, Dead Man,” with red lights matching the heartbeat sound in the intro. The video for the song is NOTHING compared to actually being there. As an avid Isis fan, I needed a fix since they called it quits in 2010 with their last performance in Montréal. Luckily, Cult of Luna was comparable and gave me what I needed. I wish I had more words to describe how amazing Cult Of Luna is to take in live; all members throw themselves into it, and it was one of the best live acts I’ve seen to date. Closing with “In Awe Of” was fitting; I liken my emotions provoked by this band to falling in love. Simply mesmerizing.
I can’t get enough of doom/sludge metal, so feel free to mention bands you dig in the comments below; I’m always looking, and this show made me fall in love with the genre even more.
Written and Photographed by Angie Radczenko
*edited by Kate Erickson