Life is all about embracing the new and accepting change in a positive way. We Are Monroe was about to unleash some new material on us and as for me, I’m still adapting to a recent move and some big changes of my own, some new material if you will. That said, still adapting, I found myself at Berri-UQAM metro an hour before the doors even opened at Theatre Plaza and decided to do the walk all the way up to Beaubien. It was a bold move, I survived many trials and tribulations along the way and showed up just after 8 PM, a little sweaty, ears stinging slightly, but in the right frame of mind to hear some new music.
Fast Romantics (Toronto, ON) were also in the mood to try out some new material as singer Matthew Angus politely asked the crowd if they were down to hear some new material, some of which was being played in front of a live audience for the first time. The meandering, soft yet epic sounding “Mexico” was actually released the day of the show and had me already digging the new material at the same time I was getting acquainted with the bands older stuff! Fast Romantics certainly live up to their name, as it didn’t take them much time at all to win a piece of my heart. Some highlights of the older material, although songs from 2017’s American Love shouldn’t really be termed older…were “Julia” and “Get Loved,” during which Angus strolled through the crowd singing and waving to the balcony calling to mind The National’s Matt Berninger. Sound wise, Fast Romantics remind me a fuck ton of Bruce Springsteen in that almost every song seems to carry an air of epicness to it. Having two keyboard players has a lot to do with this as Kirty and Lisa Lorenz add layers upon layers to these already guitar heavy jams. Having so many moving parts can be a dangerous affair but Fast Romantics play as an incredibly tight unit, professionalism abounds and great things are undoubtedly in store for this Toronto sextet.
It had been over a year since We Are Monroe (Montreal, QC) played a proper show in Montreal (they had done a number of secret shows for members of their mailing list) and the anticipation throughout the crowd was mightily apparent. Indeed, it felt like one of those special shows where you know even before the band takes the stage that you’re in for something extraordinary. The band had also just gone through some roster changes although you wouldn’t have known it based on how insanely tight the set was! Before we were introduced to the new material, We Are Monroe reacquainted us with some staples from the previous two albums, “Bitter Teeth” and “Tiger in a Box” from 2015’s Funeral and “Mind Games” off of last years release White Lights. Not a speck of rust was apparent as frontman Pat Gomes took command of the stage amidst the gleam of scattered fluorescent tube lights. A few more tracks from White Lights before We Are Monroe began to test the new stuff on us! If you’re not already privy to the type of grooves We Are Monroe get into, I would best describe it as falling somewhere between The Strokes and Modest Mouse; hard-edged, angular indie rock with a penchant for moodiness. So I was pretty fucking floored when the new jams started to hit me and I had to do a double take and make sure I wasn’t at a Talking Heads show! Yes, my dear friends, it would appear We Are Monroe have caught a bit of experimental fever, and while that can be scary, especially if you’re a fan of their previous work, I’m here to tell you to get goddamn excited! The new songs sounded straight up badass.
Maybe it’s time we all look inward and see about making personal changes for the better. I’m not sure yet where my own changes are taking me, but you know what I am sure about? We Are Monroe is going to be releasing some very fucking badass material in the near future and that’s something to hang your hat on. While we wait for that…dig your claws back into Funeral and White Lights, support these Montreal boys, before they bust out big time!
Written by Lee Ferguson
*edited by Mike Milito