Despite feeling like most of my body parts were atrophied after an intense night of partying at the Endast farewell show at Foufounes the night before, I downed some Gatorade and managed to drag myself down to Katacombes to check out some of Montreal’s finest and loudest ladies for the Girls Can Kick Your Ass III showcase. For the third year in a row, the event brought together a long lineup of female-fronted Montreal and Quebec-area hardcore, punk, and metal bands. After just witnessing an AMAZING performance by Toronto’s Out of the Ruins the night before, I wasn’t sure anyone could impress me. I was wrong – the bands of Girls Can Kick Your Ass were great, and the energy was high throughout the night.
Kicking off the show was Montreal’s hardcore/thrash/punk five-piece Guttrot, who practically burned through the speakers with their high-energy, slash and burn tracks. Singer Annick Lussier shredded the mic with her sultry growl, which maintained intensity but also managed to convey a lot of melody at the same time. I didn’t catch much of their set (because hangover!), but they were clearly a well-oiled thrash machine. I’m looking forward to seeing them again around Montreal.
Back in Montreal after a several month hiatus was crust-punk five-piece Discorp. Front-woman Marie-Eve rocks a super impressive neon-red mohawk that must be at least inches high. Despite all that vertical reach, she was never still for an instant, pacing the stage and headbanging throughout the 30-minute set. Her vocals were a blend of intense, guttural chugs and snarls accented by the higher backing vocals of guitarist Rico, who was wearing a sexy ensemble composed of a mini-skirt and sheer thigh-high tights. They describe their genre on their Facebook page as “loud fucking music” – I’d say it’s a pretty accurate description.
Next up was progressive trash-metal Montreal four-piece Devora, who opened with a bang as singer Christie Dyball introduced the show with a simple, polite, “Voila!” She immediately launched into the screamed intro of “Black Out”, the title track off their full-length release from earlier this year. Although I’d heard Devora’s recordings before, I have to say I was even more impressed with their live performance. Christie’s voice uniquely blends snarls, shrieks, melody, and discernible vocals with overriding elements of timeless 70s glam-rock, an effect made more pronounced with the progressive guitar noodling overlaying many of their songs. Bassist Cate Willow kept it solid with a steady, hammering beat tinged with the perfect amount of distortion. As our photographer said, “DAMN, this chick is fucking MURDERING the bass!!!” This band was a great addition to the night’s line up; it was nice to have a change-up from the solid wall of crust, thrash, and hardcore of the other bands. Christie’s vocals manage to be narrative while still keeping their heavy edge, and the blend of influences resulted in a distinctly unique sound.
I was doubly impressed with the pipes of Marie-Eve when she stepped up again to do vocals for crustcore band Murder the Elite. Her singing is so hardcore, it would rip puny vocal cords like mine to shreds after one song, never mind two full sets. The crowd was also impressed, chanting “Marie! Marie! Marie!” Drummer Kate was super tight, and the five-string ESP Ltd bass wielded by Chouin hit both the low, pelvic-crumbling notes and the chugging distorted beats of classic crust metal. The crowd by this time was head-banging more than the band members, and they completely freaked out in the pit when Chouin said, “Vous avez bien aimé notre nouvelle chanson, eh?” Another great moment was when Marie-Eve further demonstrated her insane stamina by taking her mic into the pit and singing to the crowd while head banging up close and personal.
The next act gets points for being the only all-female band of the evening, and also the only black metal band. Smirking Revenge had excellent stage presence, elaborated by their floor-length dresses and overall personae. The guitarist ended up standing in the beam of a blue floodlight that set off her makeup and made her look like a beautiful demon. Introducing their set with “We’re Smirking Revenge here with you on this night of the full moon. This song is for the warriors!” Singer Charlotte Lemieux threw her powerful vocals at the crowd like a hex. The vocals were pure evil, every word an incantation drawing your soul out of your body and strangling it. Guitarist Roxane Labonte showed her chops, doing some intricate high-neck tapping manoeuvers, while bassist Gabrielle Bordeleau chanted back up vocals. Drummer Joanie Gagnon was particularly impressive during the song “Tenebré”, although there were a few moments here and there throughout the set where the group lost cohesion and drifted a bit off. The crowd didn’t seem to mind; their reactions were enthusiastic throughout Smirking Revenge’s set, with a whole section of the audience head banging in time. They closed their set with major fanfare from the crowd.
The intro to Act of Disorder was all I needed to hear to decide I was really going to like this band. Crushing echoed chords of guitar and bass pulsed through the room until singer Amelie got on stage and launched into her throaty vocals, covering the entire low end while guitarist/bassist Steph screamed the higher note backups. By their third song, the crowd was going nuts; it was the most active mosh pit of the night, and I’m sure some of those folks left with less skin than they arrived with. Everyone was losing steam a bit after five bands, but the pit resurrected itself over and over for Act of Disorder. They kept stage banter to a minimum, but every so often Amelie would incite a pit riot by asking fans to fight and come up front. The response of the crowd was awesome, and with good reason. Amelie’s vocals were spectacular, and it was a very tight performance. All the musicians clearly knew what they were doing, keeping perfectly in time, while Amelie stood with one foot forward like she was leading an army and promising to crush our enemies. Awesome show!
My Fatality ended the night with an equally tight and powerful performance. The melodic guitar duo built a wall of rippling sound underscored by a steady, intricate bass, and – the only band to do this but Devora – only one kick drum!Drummer Sebastien Grenier killed it on his minimalist kit, proving to me once again that it’s not the size of your drum kit that matters but the way you handle your sticks (hehehe.) Singer Marie Claude’s screams were frankly inspiring, and she had great range, alternating between high end screams and low end growls. All in all a great band to close the night. I’m sad to say I didn’t manage to see the whole set (because hangover!), but the songs I caught were dope, and I would check them out again.
Written by Kate Erickson
Photography by Stacy Basque