It was Friday night, the smell of sweat and angst was in the air, and my feet were sticking to the black-tiled floor of the Foufounes show room, conditions were perfect. Ladies and gents of the internet, it was time for another edition of hardcore fuckery here in the spectacular city of Montreal, or at least it was last Friday the 12th when Madball, Wisdom in Chains, Offside, and Scarfold came rolling through for banger fucking party with us grumpy, cold pricks.
Now what kind of hospitality would Montreal hardcore be extending if a local band didn’t draw the first blood. Scarfold came out swinging, not only for the sake of opening up for a titled hardcore bill, but also for the stellar fact that they’ve gone and released a full-length record to be good an’ proud of. (But that’s not the topic of today’s review, now is it.) Performance wise, these cats didn’t bring a ton to look at, but admittedly if you’re looking for a solid, cookie cutter hardcore band with all the bells and whistles (without necessarily the originality) of your favourite band then it’s an act worth checking out. Groovy riffs, heartfelt speeches in yelling voices, and somehow a really goddamn spectacular room sound made for a worthwhile early attendance.
One good local performance always deserves another, and who else would be opening a touring HXC bill here than Offside. Since my last encounter with this local quintet last October with Comeback Kid, it’s tough to say if anything has necessarily changed. It’s still standard and to-the-point hardcore with a few grooves to tickle the taint, but the real star of the show was the fact that Foufoune’s sound seriously came out to play. (Yeah, you’re not going to believe me, but every dog has gotta have its day). Normally, a lot of what makes these bands what they are would get lost in a cloud of misguided levels, but from where I was sitting the room showed some serious love for an otherwise chaotic and dirty sonic experience.
We’ve all got bands we’ve slept on for too long, and I gotta admit that Stroudsburg, PA hardcore punk legends Wisdom in Chains had slipped past my ears for far too long. There’s nothing quite like grooving to a relatively tenured band based on the sheer fact that you know that once they’ve finished properly fucking your face, you’ve at least got a solid catalogue to go home to. WOC have always been known as a highlight, so all I can do is state the obvious. For punk-style drums, drummer Luke Rota brought the heat and ferocity of Bobby Hill telling you that he doesn’t know you, the vocal sections were reminiscent of Dropkick Murphys on steroids and bath salts, and you could watch Freddie Cricien do guest vocals on “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and it would be a fucking banger. Only it wasn’t a nursery rhyme, it was “Someday,” arguably an even bigger banger.
Speaking of the hardcore Peter Cottontail himself, New York City, NY Cinderella story Madball took to the airwaves and left no fucking prisoners. You, the reader, are one of two kinds of people right now. You’ve either caught a Madball show and felt the weight of it on your soul, or you’re wrong about everything.
“Rev up” off their latest record For the Cause popped off like a cheesy national anthem that you wouldn’t be caught dead laughing at for fear of not successfully protecting your neck. What ensued from that point on is what these four dudes do best – absolute carnage. The story of Madball is one of perseverance and survival. Nothing shows that more than watching a band that’s been around since forever push through the departure of a key member and still rip the fuck out of a room like it’s no one’s business. New, old, fast, bold – this is all just a way of life for these dudes. Piece that together with good vibes, better sound, and a good ol’ fashion hardcore collab in the form of “Pride (Times are Changing)” with Wisdom in Chains frontman Mad Joe Black, and you’ve got a happy pundit sitting in the corner trying to hide his excited parts. Oh, and make no mistake, hardcore still fucking lives.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Jean David Lafontant
*edited by Kate Erickson