As a long time Dayglo Abortions fan, I was mighty pleased when Bucketlist asked me to head to Katacombes and catch the band do their thing along with supporting bands MUTANK, The Barrel Heads, Les Rektums, and Shit Tax.
It should be noted that Cereal Killers, the Green Jelly cover band, were slated to play this evening but were unfortunately involved in a car wreck on their way to Montreal from Quebec City. Thankfully, outside of some bangs and bruises, all members will be fine. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery!
Opening the show were Montreal hardcore punkers Shit Tax. I’ve seen these fine fellows numerous times, and their live show continues to get better and better. Shit Tax’s brand of crusty hardcore punk was the perfect amuse bouche for the night. The crowd, already rather sizable considering the time of night, clearly agreed as mosh pits erupted almost immediately. Shit Tax’s lead singer has a commanding and incredibly furry presence.
Next up were Les Rektums, a band hailing from Trois-Rivières that have been active since the late 1980s. Les Rektums’ brand of metal-infused punk rock is decidedly mid-tempo, but this reduction in speed in no way reduces their ferocity. Lead singer and bassist André Lachance’s displays an incredible vocal range that spans from recognizable punk grit to complete lunatic falsetto. At times he sounds like some sort of bizarre circus announcer, similar to Gogol Bordello‘s Eugene Hütz. Adding to the weirdness, the three piece sports luchadore masks during their performance. Amazingly, drummer Stephane Patry played well and kept his mask on for their whole set! Thumbs up, man. I would have had a cardiac event or drowned in my own face sweat.
Next to take the stage were Montreal’s The Barrel Heads. This was to be my first time seeing these guys, but I had been assured that I would enjoy what I was about to hear. Holy Hell! What a mix! The band blends punk rock, ska, rock and roll, and blues into an enjoyable, highly energetic sonic stew. I’m typically weary of bands that try to put too many things in the genre blender, but The Barrel Heads obviously have the songwriting chops to graft together the genre elements they like without anything feeling forced or contrived. Lead singer Mosquito Mike is a consummate showman, ensnaring the audience’s attention from note number one and keeping his hooks in until it’s all over. Mike’s vocal range is also quite impressive, suiting the genre-hopping style of The Barrel Head’s music. This is a young band with a ton of talent who clearly put the work in; I look forward to seeing them continue to progress and will most certainly be attending another show.
The bands so far had been excellent, but I was getting anxious to see Daylgo. However, we had one more act before Cretin & Co. could lay waste to the venue; Montreal crossover thrash band MUTANK, fresh off their appearance at Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. True story, all communication from Bucketlist CEO Liz Imperiale for the last two months resembled this:
“Blah, blah, blah. Listen to MUTANK. Blah, blah, listen to MUTANK. Blah, LISTEN TO MUTANK! GODDAMNIT, YOU WILL LOVE THEM! Blah, blah, blah. You’re two weeks late on your other reviews.”
I purposely avoided MUTANK’s music prior to the show, as I wanted their live performance to be the basis of my first opinion. Of course, simply knowing that MUTANK were a crossover thrash band that was apparently good enough to win their way to Wacken led me to believe I’d dig what I was going to hear. Thankfully, MUTANK failed to disappoint, playing a style of crossover reminiscent of early (read: good) Metallica, complete with powerful, weighty riffs that leave your neck sore, ripping guitar solos played on a Flying-V by a dude with long, Pantene Pro-V infused locks, and a rhythmic velocity that keeps the crowd moving in a circle comprised of fists and boots. The furious pace is kept on the rails, ever so slightly, by an excellent rhythm section comprised of drummer Ahmed “On-Meds” Saad and singer/bassist Stephen “Steve-Out” Reynolds, whose ability to keep the tunes squarely in the pocket makes lead guitarist Lee Whiskey’s solo work all that more powerful. In short, I would most definitely crush beer cans on my forehead while listening to this band.
Capping off the evening were the all powerful Dayglo Abortions, who at this point should be considered a Canadian musical institution. Forming in 1979, Daylgo have criss-crossed this country countless times, whipping audiences into a frenzy with their blend of hilariously vulgar yet socially conscious punk rock. This evening was no exception, as the band ripped through a set list chocked full of classics like “Stupid Songs”, “Wake Up America”, “Argh Fuck Kill” and “Two Dogs Fucking”, as well as a number of new songs from their upcoming full length record that should be hitting store shelves sometime next year. Lead singer/guitarist and founding member Murray “The Cretin” Acton continues to posses seemingly unlimited energy, drawing power from a packed house full of lunatics screaming along to every word. I’ve always been impressed by Cretin’s guitar chops; Dayglo’s style could get away with keeping things basic and high velocity but Cretin’s leads, clearly influenced by his love of heavy metal, bring the music to another level.
This was my first time seeing Dayglo with new drummer Blind Mark. As a fan of Jesus Bonehead’s drum work on all previous Dayglo material, I was curious to see how Blind Mark’s playing would stack up. In short, Blind Mark is a robot sent from some dystopian future to show our primitive culture how to blast. In the past, Dayglo’s live set had an almost-off-the-rails, boozy looseness to it. Not so with Blind Mark behind the kit; his precision imbues the songs with a new power and tightness, making the whole set heavier and laser sharp without sounding robotic.
After briefly leaving the stage, the band returned with an encore of fan favourites including “Punker Bitches” and “Drugged and Driving”. The crowd was fantastic throughout the set, dancing, singing along, stage diving without kicking shit over or fucking with the monitors. However, I felt it necessary to point out some particularly questionable crowd behaviour; mid-song on-stage selfies. No joke, there were a succession of people who would sit on the stage during a song, haul out their iPhones, duckface it up and start snapping away. Is this a thing now? I really hope this is not a thing now. #pleasestop
Overall, this was a great show with a unique line up of supporting acts. Daylgo is always a treat, but the night was made even better with an excellent, eclectic line up of opening bands.
Watch our feature interview with The Cretin of Dayglo Abortions below: