It was a night of local music last Saturday, February 24th at Petit Campus as the Maxwells put on a hometown show with guests Guidestones, The Space Wizards, and Cowboy Meets Pirate. The quartet of bands drew people out of their abodes and into the venue, and the place was nicely filled by the time the opening act took the stage.
Guidestones warmed things up with their alternative rock-pop indie vibrations. Guitarist-vocalists Gabrielle La Rue and Ryan Boudreau fronted a lineup that consisted of drums, keys, bass, and a second percussionist on bongo and tambourine duty. At some points the band would sound like Fleetwood Mac with their pop-disco grooves. At others, they’d be exchanging tasty guitar solos and immersing themselves in jams. Their versatility was a strong point and they managed to keep a consistent underlying tone to whatever they put on. Mid-set everybody except for bassist Charles PG had some kind of percussive instrument in hand as the band executed a sick full-band percussive jam, reminiscent of those Santana live at Woodstock vibes. Although the crowd wasn’t feeling the hand-clap participation, the band sounded sharp and delivered a booming opening set.
Next up were psychedelic blues wizards, The Space Wizards. The blues trio took a dive into a Hendrix-like universe and brought the audience along for the trip. William Cote Munroe (guitar and vocals), Johnny Giancaspro (bass and vocals), and Evan Giancaspro (drums) rolled smoothly through their set, defrosting the crowd with their tunes and some on-stage charm. They had upbeats and downbeats and groovy vibes for everyone get down to. The crowd also got to hear the bands newly released single “Fill My Cup” which has everything from head-bobbing verses to ripping guitar solos. The Space Wizards were definitely my take away band of the night. Keep your eyes peeled for more of their hometown action. You can catch them next in Montreal March 10th at Crobar for Robfest, presented by Grimey MTL. There are loads of other banging acts on that bill that are definitely worth a trip.
Although listed as headliners, The Maxwells went on third to a healthy-sized crowd that was finally beginning to wake up. They opened with the title track off their latest record I Can’t Stop Losing. The band recently came off a live acoustic performance on CHOM 97.7 radio and their single “Harlot” has also seen airplay on the station. As energetic and punchy as the band was onstage, it seemed that their energy had a hard time translating to the live audience. Maybe it was due to the fact that there are way too many seating options at Petit Campus that kept people off their feet and on their phones. Just like guilty feet, those kinds of feet don’t have much rhythm. Fittingly, the band also included a unique cover of the late George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.” They ended their night with a bang as they invited friend and manager Kevin Jardine and CHOM’s Jason Rockman onto the stage to provide some backup vocals for “Harlot.”
After the bang came Cowboy Meets Pirate to close the night with their 80s hair metal energy. It was a modern take on the genre, replacing platform boots with light-up shoes, but still retaining the vitals like leopard print and flashy guitars. The crowd must have been tired of sitting through three bands, because they got up and partied with the cowboy pirates. It was the highest-energy performance of the night. Their music rang as a mix of Whitesnake, Nickleback and Theory of a Deadman. The band has their debut album awaiting a release date, as well as music that could be found here.
Wrapping up just before midnight, Cowboy Meets Pirate topped off a night stacked with different genres. Bills with this many bands could sometimes be tough to stick through to the end, but kudos to everyone that did. There will definitely be more moves made by The Maxwells, Guidestones, The Space Wizards, and Cowboy Meets Pirate, so check them all out and see if you dig.
Written by Ben Cornel
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Kate Erickson