Fans of rock n’ roll got their fill last Friday at the Petit Campus as three Canadian bands took over the venue to deliver their elixir of rock to a thirsty crowd.
The first band on was Poor Young Things, a five-piece outfit from Thunder Bay, ON that charged up the night with their first song “New Territory.” Immediately apparent was how solid this band played, and that the venue had great sound to boot. They followed with “Sign of the Times,” a catchy song that brought forth Blink 182 vibes, complete with a “na na na” hook. A tribal-sounding floor tom riff opened “Like an Animal,” a song that showcased the band’s powerhouse drummer, Konrad Commisso. The song was well arranged and was complemented by harmonized guitar licks, summoning The Eagles, courtesy of guitarists Michael Kondakow and Dave Grant. Frontman Matt Fratpietro engaged with the crowd throughout their set and got people to join in the band’s music. Poor Young Things also played “Firecracker,” a driving rock song with an awesome chorus that got the crowd moving. During “Blame it on the Good Times,” guitarist Michael Kondakow jumped from the stage to solo from within the crowd. They finished their short set with a cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” along with Tony Silvestri (keyboardist for The Glorious Sons) rockin’ the Nord. They replicated the song to a tee, everyone sang along, and it was awesome to experience one of my favorite Who songs live.
The second act was Victoria, BC’s Northcote, a four-piece band fronted by singer and guitarist Matt Goud with his raspy voice. They combine various elements of rock, punk, folk, and country, which makes their music interesting and fun to watch live. Their first song began with a chorus-laden guitar riff, which gave way to a psychedelic rock intro. The crowd joined in during their second song (a set list was unavailable at the time of writing) featuring a train beat from drummer Mike Battle which gave this tune a country-western feel. Northcote reminded me of Neil Young during their following track, and the crowd showed its approval with loud applause and cheering. Frontman Matt Goud then took the time to share his feelings, specifically about how grateful he was to be here in Montreal with us. It was touching to see someone so happy on stage, his joy radiating from his constant grin to the appreciative crowd. Next was “Hope is Made of Steel,” an easy going rock n’ roll song that brought me back to my days riding in an old Chevy van in the forest trails around Gracefield, QC while listening to CCR. They also drew comparisons to Bruce Springsteen during their set, as the band members bounced around onstage, grooving to the music. They played a great set that had a good dynamic range, from the loud punkish moments to the quieter acoustic songs. It was a great time and those who missed out will be happy to know Northcote will be back in Montreal in March at the Corona Theatre.
As the first two band’s gear got pulled back to reveal The Glorious Sons amps and drum kit, I knew I was in for some hearty bar rock – and this six-piece band delivered in spades. Frontman Brett Emmons unleashed an explosive dose of energy from the first note he sang to the last note played. The first thing he did when he got onstage was to go right to the front of the stage, inches away from the first row of people, to seek out the crowd and connect with everyone who had gathered for the show. At times his stage presence reminded me of Axl Rose. The tight six-piece band sounded huge and punchy. They started the show with “The Contender,” my favorite song of theirs and a great track to start a set. They followed with “Union,” which reminded of Joan Jett’s music, as the frontman bounced around non-stop, rocking out to the music and letting out a shit-ton of energy. Their next tune was “Baby,” sounding like a mix of AC/DC and Lenny Kravitz. The drummer gave it his all while the band members took turns soloing. Tony Silvestri blew my mind with his synth solo, and Brett Emmons equally wowed me with his skills on the harmonica. They then played “Mama,” a song you may have heard before. It’s a straightforward tune that had everything a timeless rock song offers: feel good vibes, a catchy chorus, vocal harmonies, an a capella breakdown, a cowbell, and a high energy ending. “Shapeless Art” was next and was dedicated to the frontman’s deceased wife. It was an emotional track that went from a slow intro to a fast-paced rocker à la The Killers back to a slowed-down outro. They also brought out some new material for their fans to hear, playing “Sometimes on a Sunday,” a song that dealt with issues of addiction. Brett Emmons was captivating to watch as he got his freak on, twitching when the music reached its peak. The soulfulness in his singing reminded me of Adele. “Heavy” followed, and it’s here I must stop writing. I could keep going but you get the idea: this band is going places, and after experiencing the set they played last Friday, I wish them all the best.
Written by Dave Tone
Photography by Stacy Basque
*edited by Kate Erickson