There’s been an undeniable resurgence of bands that are bringing back 70s-influenced rock music. Some do it better than others, and some are just flat out terrible. But if you’re really lucky, you get a band that takes that 70s influence and does something different with it. Somehow, on Tuesday, March 26th in Montreal at the tiny little Turbo Haus venue, we got that lucky with three bands, Lüger, Spell, and Lucifer, that all brought their own vibe will giving us a taste of some good ol’ dirty rock & roll!
I knew nothing of the local band opening the evening, Lüger, other than their self-proclaimed description of “The Hellraisers of Gore Punk.” Sounded cool enough, I guess, but any band that would have to play before Lucifer is up for quite a challenge. Well, Lüger met that challenge head-on and fucking crushed it! Their music is a little hard to describe, but think Motörhead meets Electric Wizard meets High on Fire and you might have a small idea of what makes up Luger’s sound. Though I’m unfamiliar with the band, I’ll assume the tracks they played were mostly made up of songs from their record Hellraisers of the Waste. I’m pretty glad they’re from Quebec because it hopefully means I’ll get to catch them more often.
After a strong start from Lüger, I had a feeling that the night could only get better from here. Up next was Spell. This three-piece band from Vancouver, BC brought the 70s psychedelic rock vibes HARD. Lead vocalist and bassist Cam Mesmer lit some incense just before launching into their opening track, “Madame Psychosis.” Suddenly, it felt as if Turbo Haus and all its inhabitants that evening were about to hop into a VW minibus covered in flower art and head off into the dessert. Spell’s tracks are chock-full of groovy riffs, provided in no small part by their phenomenal guitarist, Graham McVie, that had everyone in the room head banging along, whether they knew the band or not.
Seems like I became a fan at a great time too. They proceeded to play a new song called “Psychic Death,” which Cam prefaced by saying that after the tour, they’d be heading back home to record a new album. Based solely on what I was hearing that night, I’m very much looking forward to it. “Silent Towers” had drummer Lester Spectre taking over vocal duties. They closed things off with “Whipping Sigil,” followed by a cover of Judas Priest’s “The Ripper.” Spell fucking rocked and I hope they make their way back to Montreal after recording their new record.
Finally, it was time for Lucifer to get onstage. I’ve been a fan of them ever since they released their Anubis – Morning Star EP in 2015 and before that, I was a fan of lead singer Johanna Sadonis’ former band, The Oath. Lucifer are from Berlin, and while they have toured the States in the past, I never thought they’d make their way to Montreal. So, when they announced they were coming, I knew this was a show I couldn’t miss.
Lucifer opened their set with “Faux Pharaoh,” a track from the band’s latest offering, Lucifer II. The roar of the gloomy, plodding opening riff, with Johanna’s ominous lyric of “who will come to save your soul?” set the tone for an evening that would be full of Sabbath and old-school inspired metal riffs, combined with the occult themes peppered throughout many of Lucifer’s songs. Tracks from their new record like “Dreamer,” “Eyes in the Sky,” and “Reaper on Your Heels” where all met with audible cheers from the crowd as soon as they began playing them. They also played some tracks from their first LP, Lucifer I, including “Morning Sky,” and “Purple Pyramid.” The set also included a new song called “Ghosts” which Johanna proclaimed would “hopefully” be on Lucifer III and a Motörhead cover of “Bomber.” Sadly, it was time for the night to end and so Lucifer launched into their hit track, “California Sun.” No one wanted it to end, but what a way to do so!
Johanna belongs in the same halls as women like Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin. The night before this show, Lucifer had to cancel a gig in Quebec City because Johanna had lost her voice. Well, there was absolutely no sign of that in Montreal. When Johanna sings, her voice truly soars above the crowd as it rides the waves created by bandmates Nicke Andersson, Alexander Mayr, Martin Nordin and Linus Björklund. As the five-piece unit known as Lucifer, I promise you, you will not see a tighter band rip through a set of songs that have the ability to move you in ways I personally would’ve never imagined. While I truly considered it a treat to watch Lucifer play in such a small, intimate setting, this is a band that should be selling out arenas around the world. The bottom line is this, if they roll into your town, go see them.
Written by Dominic Abate
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Danielle Kenedy