There’s a line that resonates with this particular piece you’re reading today from the cult classic Dazed and Confused. “I get older, and they stay the same age.” Now before you go thinking that this is going to turn into a fucking thing about scene girls, I’m very staunchly referring to the existence of “scene” related music like pop punk, screamo and the mighty emo. It all still burns bright some twenty years later and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This last Saturday night marked the Montreal celebration of twenty years with the one of the last samurai of screamo in Silverstein with an intensely sold-out crowd at Le National. Heads were bobbed, vocal chords were abused, and smiles were made through streams of tears and sweat.
Opening up the night was once again my insatiable hunger combined with an inability to get through a fucking restaurant line up in time to catch San Francisco, CA based four-piece I The Mighty. Though my shitty hunger won this round, like a good little pundit, I still checked out this rather eclectic, yet light act. Prominent notes of poppy frilliness stand tall in the front however gorgeous ambiance and emotion can be found through the abundant production. General consensus from the crowd was the performance was lackluster but if you’re looking for a pop act to quell your need for emotionally based rock music then, by all means, this act should be added to your “to-cry” list.
This next act and I have had a love/hate relationship over the years to which I very recently in my softening of taste found an adoration for. Four Year Strong out of Worcester, MA brings the dad pop-punk swag complete with edgy breakdowns and thick fucking tones for days. This is your grandpappy’s pop punk about how he hated this town after he’s popped his seventh Cialis Viagra cocktail (because why not both?). As fun and action packed as every tune felt, including new jams like “Learn to Love the Lie,” and old bangers like “Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die,” I couldn’t help but feel room sound didn’t stand up to the task. FYS stand tall in the room with string tones and anthemic sing-alongs, but most of this felt incredibly drowned out by a particularly bassed up kick drum. Nonetheless, don’t sleep in FYS shows. You might just have a good time if you let yourself.
You may be thinking, for an anniversary show, this is a pretty small bill. You would also be wrong. The Burlington, ON patron saint of screamo in Silverstein decided on a performance so fucking extra for this run that I might not actually be able to regale it in one paragraph. Not one set, not two, but a two hours performance split into three sections. The stein started out easy lacing out their most recent of bangers from fresh cut “Burn it Down” due to be on their pending release A Beautiful Place to Drown, and thus continued down the path of ragers (Including an incredibly unexpected and admitted odd rendition of “Apologize” until set number two, the sadder than sad acoustic set. All kinds of wet yourself crying moments were had here and although I definitely could have gone without this section, I can’t say I didn’t appreciate the break and even find myself singing along to “Aquamarine.”
It couldn’t just be done there, of course. What anniversary tour could be complete without a full performance of a band’s most iconic record (Because of course, if you’re going to go for the cheap pop, you might as well go full fucking Mick Foley about it)? Discovering the Waterfront was (and for some still is) the ultimate in nostalgia dragons. From the swell of angst that is “Your Sword Versus My Dagger” to the sad anthem of “My Heroin,”, this very full and very captivated room hung on every note, reminiscing on drama’s of old and loves of another time. We were all here twenty years ago and the adoration for such a structurally ridiculous culture of music hasn’t faded in the slightest. Art always lives so long as a bad lives long enough to inspire and pass the torch. I might be getting older, but the scene seems to be staying the same age. Immortalized in my need to tell my mom that it’s NOT A MOTHER FUCKING PHASE OKAY!
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Mihaela Petrescu
*Edited by Dominic Abate