It’s springtime in Montreal, Quebec. That means it’s the time when we all emerge from our hibernation and hit the streets. Montreal is known to be a highlight stop on every tour; it is one of the craziest crowds. Unfortunately, on this night, the crowd was quite sparse at Turbo Haus, a fact that didn’t seem to deter the bands in the slightest.
Hometown heroes, The Sick Things, were up first. They put on a show that set a frantic tone for the evening. The set was high pace and high energy and filled with catchy, punchy riffs and vocals. The guys made an impression on the crowd and engaged the early-comers. This is a band worth following, and they could have a bright future ahead of them.
Brooklyn’s Safety were up next. They brought the flavour of high-energy, pop punk; very reminiscent of an edgier Blink 182. There was nothing new here but there was nothing broken either. Their set was solid, and they had a great rapport with the crowd, attempting to win the room over with some French that just turned into Spanish. I have to congratulate them on being the first band I’ve ever known to work the word ‘taciturn’ into a song.
Headliners The Motorleague had their turn to hit the stage. These ‘Moncton-ians’ brought a sound that was very reminiscent of fellow Maritimers, Sloan. It’s always great to see a band that genuinely looks like they enjoy doing what they do, and these guys certainly have fun. There was a great chemistry between them. Vocalist/guitarist Don Levandier was constantly interacting with the rest of his band as well as the crowd and appreciating all those who showed up. Anyone who has seen their music video for “The Boards” isn’t surprised by their sense of humour and playfulness. This song, as well as the track, “All the Words,” were definite highlights of their set.
The band brought their show up a step from the live recordings. While their new album Holding Patterns is a powerhouse of high energy rock, these songs sounded a lot better live. The performances had an entirely different life all of their own. This is a band you can’t help but root for. One of those talents who, haven’t yet broken through to mainstream success, but whose music certainly is deserving. Lack of promotion is a plague that hurts a lot of good bands in the current record company climate. The only complaint I had for this set was the length, and you can’t blame the band for that. It was interesting to see The Motorleague, who were billed as the headliners, go second to last and only given thirty minutes.
Montreal stalwarts Eagle Tears were tacked on after the main event, presumably as a way to get people to stay and drink. It didn’t work very well. If you want people to stay and drink longer, give the main event more than half an hour. This was my first time seeing the band since they parted ways with the former front-duo, Hal Jaques and George Papaevagelou. While new frontman Josh McConnell is technically sound, it lacks the chemistry that Jacques and Papaevagelou had when playing off of each other. It will be interesting to see new material that the current lineup will produce.
Written by Richard Brunette
Photography by Isa Hoyos Ishca Photography
*edited by Danielle Kenedy