Living in a city like Montreal when you’re a music nut like me has its perks. Not only do you get to see renowned acts playing at your doorstep, but you also get to check what the local scene has to offer. Sometimes you get disappointed, and other times you discover awesome artists. Tonight was one of those good nights, as I was headed to bar Quai des Brumes in -20 degree weather to scratch my doom and stoner itch in the company of Mountain Dust, Strange Broue, and Mojo Wizard.
What I found perplexing was the lack of information about the show. What were the set times? Was there a cover? Who knows! I should point out that both these questions were asked on the Facebook event page, but the promoter didn’t bother to answer.
I got there around 8 PM, which was the advertised time when the show was supposed to start. Surprisingly, no one was selling tickets at the door, the bar was almost empty, and the stage wasn’t even set up. Seeing a bunch of Sleep and Pentagram shirts was the only thing assuring me I was at the right place.
I had only been to jazz and acoustic shows at Quai des Brumes before, so I was curious to see how heavier acts would fare here. The stained glass all around the bar, coupled with the red LED lighting prevalent throughout the night, somewhat gave the impression of being in a church. A Church of Doom, of course!
It was a bit past 10 PM when Mountain Dust finished setting up and sound checking. It was only then that somebody started making the rounds around the bar, asking people who were already there for the 10$ cover. Had I not been covering the show for Bucketlist I would have been pretty annoyed to find that out now, especially since it wasn’t mentioned anywhere.
I didn’t know much about Mountain Dust, other than it was made up of past and present members of various prominent underground Montreal acts. And it definitely showed; these cats delivered an excellent performance through and through. They could be best described as fuzzy dark blues, with a good dose of psychedelic keyboards. I was most impressed with lead singer Brendan Mainville and his ability to deliver vocals that alternated between haunted crooning and powerful, abrasive howls. They ended their set with a badass keyboard solo that left me pumped up.
By the time they finished playing, the bar was starting to get crowded. Then, after another soundcheck that seemed to last forever, doomsters Strange Broue took the stage. I had never heard of them before, and listening to a couple of their songs online gave me the (wrong) impression that they were a mere Electric Wizard copycat. The frontman, using the moniker “Brouemaster,” introduced the band as coming from “Jonestown,” the infamous community known for a mass suicide orchestrated by cult leader Jim Jones in the seventies. Dressed to the nines, they started playing their latest opus Seance, a concept album about Satanism and the occult. The Electric Wizard and Sabbath influences were there, but these guys definitely have their own style. They delivered crushing, heavy-as-fuck riffs, interspersed with sinister atmospheric parts. Between their songs they played vocal samples describing occult rituals, creating a bleak, surreal atmosphere. Needless to say, I totally drank their kool-aid!
Unfortunately, due to the hour getting late and having to catch the metro, I didn’t get to see Mojo Wizard play. Which sucks, because I was having a blast. Had I known the set times in advance, or even just an estimation of when the first band was supposed to start playing, I could have planned differently and enjoyed the whole night. So take note, show promoters: that kind of information should never be overlooked.
Written and Photographed by Thomas Gentil
*edited by Kate Erickson