Those who know me know that I like my metal slow, loud, and fuzzy (I won’t make any inappropriate analogies here). The clouds were dark and low on that Monday as I made my way to Katacombes, the perfect setting to enjoy an evening of sonic filth in the company of North, Dopethrone, and Conan.
The show was sold out, and it showed: moving around the weird layout of Katacombes proved a bit difficult. I took a quick stop at the merch table to get myself a sweet Conan shirt, as thick clouds of dry ice filled the air. North took the stage first. Hailing from Tucson, Arizona (which is quite ironic for a band called North!), they play a mix of doom and post-metal. As a fan of bands like Neurosis or Cult of Luna I found their music pretty enjoyable, albeit a bit generic since it’s a niche that’s been saturated with bands in the past decade or so. The crowd didn’t really seem to be into it, with a lot of arms crossed and just a few heads banging.
Next up were Montreal’s very own stoner metal champions, Dopethrone. Named after Electric Wizard’s legendary album, they’ve gained quite a following in the past few years, and are even starting to get some international recognition amongst fans of the genre. Frontman Vincent Houde is quite the character, sporting dreadlocks that almost reach the floor and making faces that would make even Charles Manson uneasy. “I hope you took a day off tomorrow, because it’s going to get dirty!” he shouted. And dirty it got. After warming up the crowd with some insults and spitting beer all over the people in the front row, he kicked off the show with the first notes of “Dark Foil.” They then played a mix of old and brand-new songs, including “Wrong Sabbath” and “Scuzzgasm.” The highlight of their set, however, was “Scum Fuck Blues,” where this huge guy (whose name I didn’t catch) joined them on stage for more beer spilling and insanity. The crowd was going wild, headbanging and moshing like there was no tomorrow. They closed their set on a more bluesy note with a ZZ Top cover, “Tush.”
Last but not least were British sludge masters Conan. The floors started to shake as their downtuned-to-oblivion guitar and heavily saturated bass resonated through Katacombes. Bassist Chris Fielding and guitarist Jon Davis shared vocal duties, alternating between high-pitched screeches from the former and deep growls from the latter. They played mostly material from their last album, Revengeance, including the title track and “Thunderhoof,” as well as older stuff like “Battle in the Swamp” during which the inebriated crowd went completely nuts. They were all pretty static except for Fielding, who was seemingly trying to get as close to the floor as possible without doing a full split.
The only thing that prevented me from completely enjoying Conan’s performance was the fact that a bunch of photographers decided to shoot with flash every ten seconds for the entire duration of the set. I found it really distracting and disrespectful for both the band and the audience.
Written and Photographed by Thomas Gentil
*edited by Kate Erickson