I love it when shows and tours happen to land in Montreal on really nice days. I mean, obviously; who doesn’t, right? Tonight was one such night. On a warm, spring-like evening at Coop Katacombes, Nekrogoblikon, Psychostick, and Urizen made their way to Montreal to play one of the more interesting shows I’ve seen this year. Also, it was my first time actually attending a show at Katacombes. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked for the evening to start.
Kicking off the evening was a band called Urizen, from Texas. I had never heard of them before, and only came across a minor description of them in an interview. They were described as a “Poor man’s Iron Maiden.” Naturally, that sounds pretty great, but were they as awesome as the description makes them sound? The short answer is absolutely. Musically, they reminded me of what Judas Priest might sound like if they were injected with a dose of 80s pop via Duran Duran and Depeche Mode. However, it’s abundantly clear the second these guys get on stage that they’re all about putting on an incredible live show meant for a stadium or an arena. Throughout the set, the members of Urizen fought off a mad scientist who repeatedly came on stage to berate them, and attempted to make them sound better by controlling their minds with a device that he had supposedly built. Urizen, of course, rejected this, and the set ended with this mad scientist transforming in to a giant eye monster and “attacking” the band. When all hope seemed to be lost, a giant robot emerged from backstage to “defeat” this monster. It was the musical equivalent of watching a boss fight in a video game, and it was a spectacular sight to behold. The band played with one member short, their bass player, Rustin Luther. Sadly, as I’m writing this, the band has just announced the reason for his absence. He’s suffering from an inoperable form of cancer. The band has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the medical bills he and his family have to deal with. Any little bit helps. If you can, please donate. I’ve never met him, but he seems like a genuinely good dude.
Up next was Psychostick. You may know Psychostick from the early days of Ebaumsworld with their song “Beer!” I had the pleasure of interviewing Rob and Josh from the band while dining on some seriously delicious poutine at PoutineVille. Look for that interview on Bucketlist! They began their set with “Obey the Beard,” and it’s abundantly clear from the get go that these dudes aren’t just talented musicians, they’re also incredibly hilarious. Watching their set was like watching a really good stand-up comedy routine. They played through a set that consisted of songs like “NSFW,” a song with only one single word repeated throughout, which was “fuck.” They ended their set with the track “SO.HEAVY,” where Josh tuned his guitar to the non-existent key of “H-Flat” as the band described it. Either way, the crowd ate up every single song, and loved their set. They could easily headline a show here in Montreal. I hope they do that at some point.
Finally, the evening ended with the almighty Nekrogoblikon. Before I talk about their set, I have to hand it to these guys. Unfortunately, they played their set with two members short. Scorpion (vocals) and Raptor (keyboards) were both denied entry at the Canadian border. The band could have collectively decided to turn right around and cancel their Canadian shows, but they didn’t. Instead, they made their way to Montreal and played a show for the fans that anxiously waited for them. Filling in on vocals for a few songs was their sound and merch guy. They played a few other songs as instrumentals, and other songs asked for fans to jump on stage for a little Nekrogoblikon karaoke. They plowed through staples of their live set like “Full Body Xplosion” and “We Need a Gimmick.” Thrown in to the set were older songs as well, like “Prince of the Land of Stench” and “No One Survives.” Sadly, it wasn’t the best set I have ever seen, especially considering that Nekrogoblikon are capable of putting on some incredibly intense and fun shows. But really, the band can’t be blamed. Their merch guy, while certainly enthusiastic, did the best that he could…. but he’s no Scorpion. But, you know what? The crowd went crazy anyways. The band played with ferocity (as if they knew they had to play harder to win the crowd over), and clearly everyone was having a great time. During “Powercore,” the band invited the crowd to get onstage, and I swear that almost every single person in the room attempted to get up on that stage and rock out with the band. It was a beautiful sight. So, despite some bad luck at the border, a fun evening was had by all. I’ll be attending every Nekrogoblikon show in Montreal from here on out, full band or not.
Written by Dominic Abate
Photography by Stacy Basque
*edited by Kate Erickson