I was wondering how it was possible to feel lighter after a rock and roll show. Don’t we usually gain weight from drinking beer and being irresponsible? All it took was a quick whiff of my dirty laundry from the night before and I was sent back in time through a whirlpool of rock. It was hot (not the sexy type, the sweaty type) and it was loud. Imagine being crammed in a room filled with old and new metalheads, all of them rubbing shoulders and exchanging hair molecules via communal headbanging, all while its 40 degrees Celsius and there is little to no ventilation. But, three amazing bands are about to play so you endure, in the name of rock and roll. That sums up my night at Foufounes Electriques on July 2nd.
The stage was set and the men from Sleazy Way Out stepped out to unleash unholy rock. These guys looked and sounded like they may have been in a hair band during the ’80s, playing side by side with giants like Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses. As a matter of fact, the singer had a very similar voice to Axl Rose. Sleazy Way Out plays music that is meant to be catchy, not complex. That isn’t a bad thing, mind you. It’s just straight-up rock, with little to no effects. It’s music heavy enough for the headbangers, but at the same time catchy enough for those who want to party. My only complaint would be the vocals, which were definitely not loud enough. When you have a vocalist who can scream and reach those high notes, it’s important to make sure he is heard! Also, shout out to the guitar master who nearly started a fire with his lightning-fast picking.
When the stage was cleared of the earlier bands gear and then set up for the next, I was confused. “One amp? Oh, a two-piece, awesome.” I was ready for some of that two-piece magic and I was not let down. The Standstills keep the White Stripes tradition alive with a man on the strings and a female on the skins. But other than that, they’re a different beast. The music is tight, catchy, and heavy. Let me put emphasis on the heavy part, thanks to the lady with the sticks. At first, I couldn’t believe someone so small could hit so hard, but by the end of the set I was just surprised she hadn’t run out of sticks. Unfortunately, I have to mention the lack of low ends. For the casual listener, it means nothing. But for someone who knows music and who plays bass, the lack of low ends made a difference. Some songs sounded empty, as if I was just waiting for a groovy bass line to pick up the pace. That being said, all negative thoughts about the sound were swept away by what must have been the most original cover of a Led Zeppelin song I have ever seen. “The Immigrant Song” is not an easy one to cover, but not only did they rock it, they also added some Standstill flavor in there, which was much appreciated.
Finally, it was time for the man of the hour. Out stepped Sebastian Bach from behind us on the second floor. At first I thought he was going to dive from the ledge and roll onto the stage while giving us one of his powerful screams, but then I remembered he was in his 50s. You saw that right, folks: his 50s. How is someone supposed to play Skid Row classics when he’s in his 50s? Ask Sebastian Bach, he’ll tell you.
Man, does this guy move. Performing on stage while doing the bare minimum is already exhausting. Add to the mix the electric energy of Bach plus the crushing humidity and it’s a surprise he didn’t collapse halfway. Not only did he headbang and jump around while giving us a first account presentation of his stupendous vocal range, but he made sure the crowd was hydrated enough to keep up. (He was throwing water bottles around!) He was surrounded by talented musicians like Bobby Jarzombeck on drums, Brent Woods on guitar, and Rob Deluca on bass who played Skid Row classics with such ease, so it’s no surprise Bach felt comfortable enough to be himself on stage. Going through classics like “18 and Life” and “Youth Gone Wild,” it was a treat to see him sing and perform. It’s worth mentioning the tremendous homage to the late Vinnie Paul, with their rendition of “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera. To say the least, the crowd went nuts. And even after all of that madness, Bach had one more treat for his Montreal fans: A cover of “Tom Sawyer” by Rush. By then, Foufounes Electriques was nearly flooded with metalhead sweat and the band left the stage, but not before a final bow. A class act!
All in all, it was a memorable night. My young teenage self, who would blast some Skid Row on the way home from school, was deeply satisfied and will never forget this night. It was a diverse one, with a little bit of something for every rock fan. People were dancing, drinking and having a good time, which is always a sign that good music is being played.
Written by Johnathan Robinson
Photography by Eric Brisson Photography
*edited by Kate Erickson