We were all sixteen once, we all loved some cheesy shit and the only thing that sets us apart is our ability to wear those pleasures proudly or not. I stand virtually before you exclaiming a fact that I never could admit when I was that age. My name is Jason Greenberg and I fucking LOVE pop-punk and emo. This past Thursday over at the cozy little squeeze we know as L’Astral here in Montreal, a tour so full of angst and early 2000s goodness came floating through that my little emo heart could barely stand it. Jump in bitch, we’re going crying.
Admitted, the opening act of my night was a disgustingly high-calorie meal, followed by what little of Urbana, Ohio heartthrob Jetty Bones I could possible still fit. Though the common ear would likely akin to JB’s sound as a sort of Paramore Lite, certain key elements like tone, groove, and ambiance set the two apart. My only complaint in this instance was the mixing quality wherein string sections were hardly audible, but in spite of this, Jetty was without a doubt an act taking life by the balls and enjoying the squeeze.
Following up were Nashville, Tennessee textbook display of extreme angst in Free Throw. This five-piece emo act does more than its due diligence in reminding the crowd that people still write music like this, and well at that. By no means did this act bring anything new to the table, but with the previous grievances in sound quality seemingly quelled, it was hard not to bask in this utterly ridiculous vocal compositions, adorable tapping sections, and unbridled emotional implications that these cats dish out in spades. Without any question an act I’d catch again, but would I seek them out?
This next act left the crowd wondering why Hawthorne Heights’ dads were doing covers of Hawthorne Heights songs, only to then remind us that “Yes Jason, you’re fucking thirty now, and this is how time works.” Though the godfathers of blackened eyes and slit wrists from Dayton, Ohio may have aged, the implications of their music have not, and though their mediocrity has grown with them, the maturity level of their content has not. Though this act and the sadness it creates may not have aged well, and though ever moment of banter felt like a paycheque necessity, the nostalgia factors here were god level for dudes like myself. From “Niki FM” and through to the classic “Ohio Is For Lovers” we the audience remember that we didn’t make it on our own, our hearts may have once been in Ohio, but tonight, we felt the true feeling of holy fuck I need to grow up.
A sort of dark cloud loomed over the room at this point in the evening, with bare minimum levels of excitement to be found until the John Stamos of pop-punk burst out onto the stage with such vigour that any looming midlife crisis or faint thought of responsibility and judgement went on a return trip to Fuckofftown for the next twenty-three songs. New Found Glory truly embodies what it is to be a pop-punk band out of Florida. They’re goofy, they’re fucked up, and they’re getting a little old, but most of all they’re a good time. Between costume changes like whiny Iron Maiden, cute guest vocal appearances, ridiculous covers (if you thought you never needed to hear tunes like “Accidentally in Love,” “The Power of Love,” or even “Let It Go” complete with full Elsa costume appearance, done pop-punk, you’re morbidly wrong), and a certified murderous setlist that had you reliving teenage fever dreams, this turned out to be a surprisingly killer performance. The sound quality was absolutely picture perfect from strings to drums to vocal sections, the bravado displayed was that of a high budget act, but most of all, there wasn’t a single tune you wished this band could have played that they didn’t. From one-off bangers like “All Downhill From Here” to numbers like “Vicious Love” that you didn’t think could be possible until the valiant Kelc Galluzzo of Jetty Bones stepped into Hayley Williams shoes for a brief moment. Regardless of your adoration for the genre, this was a performance to respect and beg for more. My name is Jason Greenberg, and I proudly fuck with New Found Glory.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Marc-Antoine Morin
*edited by Mike Milito