The sun is shining (not really), the birds are chirping (even though you can’t fucking hear them), the air smells of pizza, poutine, and why haven’t you showered this year (that part is actually accurate). This combination can only mean one fantastic thing here in Montreal; Spring has sprung, summer has come, Pouzza Fest ROUND EIGHT is here to fu- I’m not going to continue this rhyme.
Friday night was a late start for this working boy, but never the less, Anti-Flag provided a warm welcome as the opening day headliner. Sound on the outdoor stage was far from mastered yet, but the mall punk nostalgia of being a fourteen-year-old again was worth it. Off to Foufounes I then went as the need for more punk dragged me along. Such Gold provided a hearty filler as these College looking boys slung that oh-so-sweet punk emo we know and love (or at least I do, idgaf about you). My absolute winner of the evening was New England’s A Wilhelm Scream. I could talk about these cats for days, or I could put some ice on my wounds from banging a bit too hard to jammers like “The Horse” and “I Wipe My Ass With Showbiz.” Was it awesome? Fuck yes it was!
One massive event of the Friday line up would be a travesty to skip over. Luckily, Bucketlist contributor Aaron Deck was on the scene and roaring to give his POV of the whole shebang:
“I was at Club Soda to check out a panel of women [from diverse musical backgrounds] talk about their experiences in the music scene. They spoke candidly about the issues that they face, how everyone can work together to combat issues such as inclusiveness, and how the men in the music scene can move from being allies to accomplices. It was very sobering to hear them tell their tale. The most eloquent speaker was definitely Dig It Up’s drummer, Andrea Silver, who regaled the room with anecdotes about how they were always talked down to at shows, and many would not believe they were actually in a band, let alone a drummer. It’s sad that such a talk as this needs to exist to educate our fellow humans, but here we are. While things are slowly getting better, we need to step up and support local acts of women and minorities. Unless venues see a good return on booking said bands, they will stop. It’s up to us to put our money where our hearts and mouths are.”
Saturday, day two, may have been shitty and raining and “fuck itself-ey,” but a festival was on and God’s golden showers were not going to stop my chilly ass from enjoying it. The Anti-Queens kicked off my day in a spectacular fashion over at Foufounes, if you haven’t given these mighty maidens your time of day, then you’re missing on a bluesy punk rock that’ll make you scream “Joan Jett eat your heart out!” After a solid hunt for some form of anti fucky weather gear and somehow being interviewed by Liam Cormier of the mother fucking Cancer Bats (later to be discussed), I was back out in the shit of it for The Creepshow, who swung out a stellar set worthy of a pre-headliner. Reel Big Fish had a brother singing and swinging on a ride that took me right back to sixteen a la “Take on me” with a slew of classic hits and stage banter (regardless of if it belonged to them) thus winning my favourite set of Saturday, mostly for the reason that they somehow conquered the mediocre sound of the outdoor stage. Once the kings of Ska had their fill of fucking my shit up in the rain, I headed back indoors to wrap up this shitshow. Brutal Youth had me rather perplexed but if smashing your head in with a mic isn’t punk rock then I guess I’m a fucking noob. All this led to a moment I had been sorely waiting for. The Montreal homegrown stoner rock bangers in Barn Burner made a reunion to remember, shaking my junk with such ferocity that I’ve somehow now got a shrine of the “Brohemoth” at my bedside for the rest of my days. Montreal misses you, dudes, maybe dust off a little more often, or, ya know, just stay together.
Day three, I’ve survived wave after wave of excessive poutine and mild amounts of alcoholism, but it all seems as if Pouzza has reared its head for one last swipe at my nutsack. I arrived on deck just in time for a skanking good time with Kman & the 45s, followed by a brisk jog to catch Bucketlist Alum Colonel Sun ripping it weird at foufs, then right back to the Beer Gardens with my Lizard Queen in time Jersey’s rockin’ baby boy Sammy Kay. Every act deserves their due time, but Sammy hit home hard for me as a longtime fan of the one true BOSS, dishing out the working man’s punk that somehow even a baby could relate to. Give this dude your love and hard. Laval carried the torch over at foufs with their standard but seldomly seen brand of hard bang-age. Dig it up gave the room a round of stitches, either from our thorough enjoyment of Mike’s drunken banter and fear of crowd surfing, or because their music was like a baseball bat to the whatever fucking part of your body you wanna call it. I wanted to catch a bit of Face to Face, but a combination of them getting on late and Hey Sugar begging me to come back to bed caused this little bitch to miss it. I’m sure FTF was fun, but this was a reunion I wasn’t planning on missing as these Southern rockers stuffed me good.
Mutoid Man brought the heat the only way they know how, even with the absence of drummer Ben Koller. That said, replacement drummer Chris Maggio deserves a massive tip of the hat for a killer take over. Speaking of respect where it’s due, Astronautalis deserve a real clap for coming up between two massive metal and hardcore acts and still slaying with an odd combination of Hip Hop and funky beat work, all done in a punk vocal styling. Cool shit at a weird time, but in the end, this entire weekend was just one long build up for the last act.
Cancer Bats have always and will always be the main event moment for this humble writer. The set may have opened with “Gatekeeper” and then stuffed with tunes off every record, like my personal favourite in “Pneumonia Hawk,” but make no mistake, this was no normal Cancer Bats set. Celebrating a tenth birthday is always fun, but it’s a fucking rager when that birthday is for an iconic album on the level of Hail Destroyer.
Three days of sick times and sicker bands could have been trimmed down to this one set and I still would have called it a time well spent. This band slayed and after a healthy set of not only the entire Hail Destroyer tracklist but somehow another eight tunes on top of that, leaving an entire foufs concert room quivering like mother nature just filmed her first sex tape. If Pouzza fest 2018 didn’t sound like an unforgettable weekend of good tunes and better vibes, then apparently, I owe you an apology for wasting whatever amount of time it took you to read this.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Danny Donovan and Michael Kovacs
*edited by Mike Milito