It was a night some pundits were labelling “pure debachelory!” You read that correct, as four unique and spectacular local punk rock bands, came together on Saturday, April 21st at Coop Katacombes, for the bachelorette/bachelor party of Erin Fong and her main squeeze, Ol’ School Johnny guitarist Aaron Deck. Love was clearly in the air, and it smelt of stale beer and urinal cakes. DEBACHELORY!
The show kicked off with THE LOOKOUT, notably the most alternatively inclined of the four bands. Singer Martha Rockhard staked a claim that the band was there to party and they did not disappoint, tearing through their set with vehemence and punk rock abandon. THE LOOKOUT has an affinity for concocting an incredibly catchy chorus. The songs “Believe It” and “Another One Is Gone” radiated throughout the room and reminded me of Smash and Ixnay on the Hombre era The Offspring. Instantly memorable and fast-paced choruses that will bring you to your knees; make sure you stay ocularly aware of what THE LOOKOUT is up to! Check out their first two EPs EPI-II.
Society’s Ills followed suit in keeping the energy level at a fever pitch, unleashing their brand of brash yet melodic aggro punk all over the assembled mosh pit. Singer The Naj hung precariously off the edge of the stage for the majority of the set, and his eyes had the intensity of a man who was dangling fifty feet in the air rather than the few feet that he was. The combination of fast-paced songs and the guttural vocals of The Naj could draw comparisons to Boston hardcore act Blood For Blood. Give a listen to their latest album Stumble. The track “The Floor” will get your blood pumping and your boots stomping.
Ol’ School Johnny was up next, the band of the hour, launching their latest EP That’s Life Man; the man of the hour Aaron Deck, the bachelor, set up stage left imploring any and all members of the crowd to bring him drinks! Deck was an absolute ball of energy displaying some wicked guitar dynamics and some dance moves that would make every creepy drunk uncle at a wedding proud. Singer Sandrine Chouinard enveloped the stage with her gripping and raucous voice; the easy comparison would be to No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani, especially when it’s in tandem with the trombone, but there’s also a classic 70s punk vibe in that growl, much like Patti Smith has. Ol’ School Johnny focused primarily on That’s Life Man playing all seven tracks sandwiched in with a few of the older jams. “Safety First” almost tore the whole place down and truly showcased what makes Ol’ School Johnny unique, a perfect blend of ska, punk and classic rock that satisfies in a similar fashion to the early works of the Police.
It’s rare to see bands take chances like that these days, even rarer because they blend styles so well. “Burn Away,” was a much more straightforward rocker of a song and went down in my books (more accurately phone notes) as my personal favourite of the night. Make sure ya check out the entire EP, and I’d implore you to try and get your hands on a physical copy as they are beautifully hand pressed and assembled! That’s some DIY creativity that is sadly in short supply these days.
Closing out the night were punk veterans Talk-Sick, who advised the crowd just before starting the set that they should probably go home. The self-depreciating foursome, who hadn’t played a show in over a year showed absolutely no signs of rust as they ripped into the crowd with some unforgiving hardcore punk. What is truly unique about Talk-Sick’s style of hardcore is the triple attack vocals of guitarists Dorian, Travis and bassist Pike. Just as you’re starting to get a feel for Talk-Sick’s sound, they take off in a completely different direction, almost schizophrenic. Talk-Sick’s fast-paced, blisteringly abrasive set was anchored by the insanely fast and steady hands of drummer Jesse Gainer, no more apparent than on the track “Bedbugs,” loud, fast, and threatening! Check the entire album Genetics. Many of Talk-Sick’s songs are political and/or question society, which lead me to draw comparisons to the Dead Kennedys, but ultimately their sound is heavier and more akin to the hardcore band Discharge or even at times as extreme as Anal Cunt.
What more is there to say? It was a fucking killer party, well attended, greatly executed and makes me proud to be a part of the incredible local scene here in Montreal.
Written by Lee Ferguson
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Danielle Kenedy