On the night of February 5th, 2016, three bands got together inside the loud Baroque-styled walls of the relatively new venue, Turbo Haüs, to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the Slaves on Dope’s record, Inches from the Mainline.
The, somewhat new to the scene, 90s-inspired Montreal band, Dead Days, kicked off the show by playing tracks from their debut EP, Lamb, which was released in 2015. Considering the bands that followed were hard-core rock and alternative metal, it was an interesting surprise when Dead Days got on stage and began playing a track that was rather mellow in comparison. In fact, it wasn’t until the fourth song that we caught any glimpse of any screaming. This is not to say that it was a bad set. Edwards’ voice fit perfectly with the grunge sound, and they appeared confident and comfortable on the stage, despite the fact that they were playing to a small and almost unresponsive audience. They turned things up with their original, “The U.S. is on Meth,” which finally provoked spectators to bang their heads as the band members melodramatically stumbled around the stage. Between songs, Edwards remained silent for the most part, only thanking his audience sometimes. He never actually said the band’s name, prompting one woman to shout the obvious question, “What’s your name?” Their set ended off nice and loud, paving the way for the next two more aggressive bands.
Fashion Police took the stage next with a set that was just as glorious as their hair. They played tracks off of their 2015 EP, Winter, and hiked everyone’s energy up within seconds. Frontman Kaluza moved around the stage at insane paces, but his voice never faltered and stayed strong and impressive throughout the set. He kept the growing audience charmed by encouraging them to sing into the mic, and by looking at a few of them very intensely.The shirtless drummer, Mike Niro, worked at his drum set at an abominable pace, and the band as a whole was entertaining, impressive, and pleasantly surprising to watch. Fellow Buckethead, and CEO of Bucketlist, Liz Imperiale, has compared their sound to that of Refused. It was hard to believe that they were only an opener on this bill and it would’ve been great to see them play a longer set.
The venue became shrouded in darkness as the headliners, Slaves on Dope, took the stage. A dramatic and informational introduction began to play over the speakers, describing how the band travelled to Los Angeles in 1999 where they “caught the [eye] of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne” and were signed on to their record label, Divine Recordings. The theatrical voice reminded the audience that it was a rare and spectacular event to have the band play the album, Inches from the Mainline, in its entirety. As the lights slowly turned on, frontman Jason Rockman purposely addressed the crowd with a simple, “Hey guys,” and described this to be “anti-climactic.” The simplicity of his words in contrast with the severity of the introduction was enough to garner a few laughs, setting the tone for what would become a fun and humorous event. Confusion ensued a few seconds later, when the introduction played a second time. Some bands would have been thrown off by this, but Slaves on Dope launched right into “Pushing Me” regardless. Later on, Rockman, took advantage of this error by using it as an amusing ongoing joke throughout the evening, saying things like, “We’re here to play Inches from the Mainline, in case you didn’t hear that in the intro that they played fuckin’ twice.”
The set was consistently loud and catchy and the entire band presented an energy so contagious nearly everyone in the room was jumping around or banging their heads. Their performance of “Thanks for Nothing,” which Rockman described to be about “getting stabbed in the back,” dripped with an anger that everyone can relate to and had everyone’s full attention. They mentioned frequently how this could be the last time that they play Inches from the Mainline, and if that does prove to be the case, they at least made the album go out with a bang. During their performance of “Bitch Slap,” Rockman managed to get even the shyest people in the room to raise their middle fingers in the air, pump their fists to the beat of the song, and even got several people screaming into the microphone that he passed around the front row. They finished off their set with “Leader of Losers,” a catchy track that had everyone screaming, “Don’t tell me how to live my life.” As the room continued to overflow with energy, the band was asked to play an encore, and they kicked it off with their recent cover of Eagles of Death Metal’s track, “I Love You All the Time” which showed off the band’s diverse sound. With a set as strong as the one they played, it is no wonder that the band has been around for over fifteen years.
Written by Franca G. Mignacca
Photography by Angie Radczenko
*edited by Danielle Kenedy