After the grandiose debauchery of visual effects that was Tool’s show at a crowded Bell Center the night before, I was looking forward to enjoying some live music in a more intimate and low-key setting. Turbo Haüs fit the bill perfectly, and the line-up that night looked promising to say the least.
I got there right when the first notes of Miesha & the Spanks resonated in a still pretty empty venue. That is also when I realized I had forgotten my earplugs, which would prove a grave mistake as the sound was excessively loud for my old ears that evening.
The two-piece act from Calgary, Alberta consisting of Miesha Louie on the guitar and vocals, and Sean Hamilton on drums (“The Spanks” part of the group, or as he would correct later, just “The Spank”) took the time to shoot the shit with the audience. They had just spent a week in Montreal, and joked about how we call Mount-Royal “The Mountain” (as anyone from Alberta would, I’m sure). I don’t think they even played for thirty minutes, but I enjoyed every second of it. Their raw, minimalistic garage rock was a delight to listen to.
Next up were local rockers The Sick Things. Sporting skinny jeans and long hair, they looked like they just stepped out of a time machine straight from the seventies, and their sound only confirmed it. An old-school mix of rock, punk and pop, I found their songs pretty damn catchy (albeit a tiny bit repetitive), and they were really energetic and fun to watch. The denim-clad crowd seemed to be really into it as well.
Mountain Dust quickly became one of my favourite Montreal bands after I first saw them a few months ago. Once again they did not disappoint, giving a top-notch performance. They alternated between bluesy and heavier songs, including the excellent “Evil Deeds” from their last album Nine Years. Props to Patrick Bennett who, after playing a full set on the bass with the Sick Things, switched to the pedal steel guitar and keyboard with Mountain Dust (and still managed to kill it).
I was expecting a big crowd for a band featuring one of the singers from Alexisonfire, but the venue was still half-full when Dead Tired started playing. Add to that sound problems and a bass drum head tearing during the first minutes of their set, and it kinda ruined their momentum. They got over it quickly though, and lead singer George Pettit appropriated the area in front of the stage for himself, jumping and thrashing around. Surprisingly, he was the only one doing that in the whole venue. Instead of moshing and karate dancing, people in the audience were very still and stoic. That didn’t seem to perturb the band, who gave a solid performance of intense, in-your-face hardcore punk.
All in all, and despite the sound issues and relatively disappointing attendance, Turbo Haus proved itself once again one of the best venues in town to grab a cold one on a Saturday night and discover new bands. Hope they keep it up!
Written and Photographed by Thomas Gentil
*edited by Kate Erickson