It was an exciting night in Montreal. M for Montreal, a non-profit organization, was celebrating some of the best local Montreal musical talent in the city. The best in metal could be seen at Club Soda, while some of our best punk bands were to be showcased at Bistro de Paris. Tonight, we witnessed seven bands, some of which I was excited to catch again, others not so much.
As I walked in, Dot was playing their famous “Enjoy The Silence” cover by Depeche Mode. I was never a fan of their version of this song as the original has special meaning for me and I believe it should not be toyed with. Dot switched up the chorus a little slightly, but the music was generally similar to the original. I am being biased, I know. Fortunately, the band played a sick set nonetheless. Watching them from near the bar was bliss. I got to see the full extent of their performance, which included some killer costumes. Flashlights swayed all over, and the band possessed incredible energy, jumping around continuously. They ended with what sounded like a Nine Inch Nails-influenced track entitled “Push”, which was the perfect ending for their great performance.
Quebec City’s, Sandveiss, took the stage next, and holy hell, this band is awesome. If you dig bands like Black Sabbath, Monster Truck, or The Melvins, this band is for you. After reading about Sandveiss on their Facebook page, I learned that the above-mentioned three bands are listed as influences. Singer Luc Bourgeois can hold a note beautifully and his voice is very pleasant to listen to. His voice is well-matched for the doomy, dark metal and groovy guitar riffs. I think that if he and Jon Harvey got together to do a duet, they would make many people wet their pants.
Surrounded by FALLSTAF t-shirts, it seemed I wasn’t the only one anticipating their performance. I was hoping I’d be more impressed than I was last year. My wish to see this band again on a bigger stage came true. Fortunately, the bigger stage did a make a difference to their performance, as well as to my perception of their stage presence in comparison to last year. They had way more energy, moved around a lot, and seemed to be having a good time. The music did not do much for me, however. They were off beat at some points, I could hardly hear the bass, and, overall, I found it to be boring and repetitive. Vocalist Iann interacted with the crowd quite a bit, and the “YEEEEEEEAHS” reminded me of Sully Erna and James Hetfield. Honestly, the best part of their performance was what they were wearing; they looked fucking fantastic.
During intermission, the event organizers presented a short speech, asked for donations and informed the crowd of the seven prizes were set to be given away. “Your testicles are important to us,” said the co-host. I agree! Not to mention, throughout the night I saw so many ‘staches being sported in honour of Movember. Those with the best ‘staches won the prizes.
Unbeing was up next. They, like FALLSTAFF, were on the bill for the second time. I remembered really enjoying their set the year before, and I noticed they were missing a guitarist. Though I wondered how they would pull off their set one member down, they still managed to impress the fuck out of me. Unfortunately, I had trouble blocking out the loud noise emanating from the bar area of the venue during the soft, melodic parts of the set. Perhaps I am getting bitter in my old age, but I think when a band like this plays beautiful music, it’s sad that people don’t just shut the fuck up and listen. It was quite distracting and a little disrespectful. Aside from this, the band played phenomenally with high energy and crisp sounds. Also, they had great communication with the crowd.
Up next was the highlight of my evening, HolloW. I caught these guys once in the summer time when they played Petit Campus. The small stage there did not do them justice at all. What a fun band to watch. They sported a gimmick appearance, monster-like skeletons, while vocalist Mott talked to the crowd in an eerie voice, saying things like, “If you guys know what a mosh pit it, show me what you got!” Mott’s vocal range is vast, spanning numerous octaves. His clean vocals are just about perfect, and his growls work really well with the music. The heaviness of “Cryptic Howling” reminded me why I like bands like HolloW and Nekrogoblikon; these bands tell a story with their music. The crowd’s was much more attentive than during Unbeing’s set, and people seemed to be really enjoying it.
The almighty Slaves on Dope were up next. It had been about fifteen years since I last saw this band live, so I was definitely due for an update. Jason Rockman is always a pleasure to listen to, and a major joker on stage. He spotted in the crowd a French Canadian wearing a Boston Bruins cap and kindly mentioned, “Lucic can really take a punch, eh?”, and then he gave the fan the finger. In case you were wondering, Rockman later high-fived the dude and all was well. For any hockey fan, I can see how this exchange would have been amusing. I was impressed with Rockman’s vocals. I could have listened to him since more. During the chorus for “No One to Blame”, his vocals hit a soft spot in my heart. Whoa! Overall, the band kicked ass. They are still as good today as I remember from fifteen years ago.
A band I have seen many times as a teenager was up next – Grimskunk, a Montreal punk band that got the attention of all the squeegee punks, rockers, and metal heads in the room.
Overall, M for Metal was a success. Please donate to the Movember team here.