There remains, at least to this writer’s knowledge, only one place in this world that one can go to witness a grown man in a full bunny suit hit Timbits into a crowd of people with an eighteen inch dildo. While I have not scoured the world in search of other instances of this, if this sounds like something you would enjoy witnessing, I remain fairly certain a The Dreadnoughts show is the only place to go. If that’s not your cup of tea, how ‘bout a circle pit around a fiddler doing an overhead solo? A giant bassist dangling his singer off the end of the stage in a Leo DiCaprio tribute while the band bastardizes “My Heart Will Go On?” All this is to say that, when this motley band of Vancouverites roll into your city, you never know what you’ll witness.
They sing about the sea more than Great Big Sea does, but also in a much more drunk-at-sea way. I think the fact that they titled a song “Mary, the One–Eyed Prostitute, Who Fought the Colossal Squid and Saved Us from Certain Death on the High Seas” says volumes more than I could ever say about that. They also named an album Polka’s Not Dead after the Grammy’s decided to rescind polka as a musical category.
There’s a diner in Chicoutimi called Chez Mamy that named a poutine after this band. It’s every bit as scandalous as you’d hope. If, after getting through the top layer of your poutine, you found a steak sandwich in the bottom soaking up all that goodness, then a Dreadnought ye be eatin’. In turn, the band wrote an ode to our provincial delicacy, the aptly titled “Poutine,” which went number one in Chicoutimi, knocking off Tegan and Sara, a badge they wear with great pride.
Musically, they are a marriage of the gypsy-punk stylings of Gogol Bordello, the Irish punk of Flogging Molly, and the sea shanties of a Broadway adaptation of Pirates of the Caribbean. The lead singer is a master storyteller, spinning many a tall tale of the type you’d expect to hear at a seaside sailor bar in Maui from a guy with an eye patch.
They’re clever, they’re fun, and their live shows are a party you won’t witness anywhere else. After spending three years that straddled the beginning of this decade touring extensively and producing three gems of albums, the band has been quiet as of late, letting over four years pass since their last visit to the east. Thanks to Pouzza Fest, Montrealers will get to witness the debauchery yet again. Toronto friends, fear not: they’ll be hitting up the Horseshoe Tavern the night before to loosen up their strings and livers.
Be there, or walk the plank!
Written by Richard Brunette
*edited by Kate Erickson