The show that took place Friday, June 7th, at Coop Katacombes in Montreal accomplished a feat no other bill in the history of heavy music has ever managed: it started early. Penny for the Selfless hit the stage at 8:45 PM sharp. They are extremely talented but displayed tell-tale signs of a young band; punches were missed here and there in excitement, the between-song banter was patchy, and their drummer kept trying to pull a stick twirl. Bless his heart, he’s almost got it. But their impressive mix of metalcore and prog speaks for itself. A strong highlight came from the track “Dark Side,” the groovy intro of which got their bassist two-stepping to his own jam.
If the crowd of Penny for the Selfless had been small, then it was almost nonexistent for The Slyde. Though the Toronto-based prog band was initially meant to act as headliners, they switched to the middle spot, presumably due to some sort of scheduling issue. Because the room was so empty, the spaces in between songs were filled with an almost eerie silence. During the songs, it was a different story. These guys (and one girl) are, for lack of a better word, awesome. They could easily (and should) be playing on much bigger stages. There were harmonies all over the place; between the keyboard and the guitar, between vocalists, between the guitar and the vocalists, it was all great stuff. The music is kind of like Rush meets At The Drive In if that makes sense to you.
Toward the middle of the set, they received the unfortunate news that Doug Ford had won the Toronto mayoral election, and their mood was visibly dampened. Though they chose to refrain from any sort of lengthy political diatribe, they did dedicate a song to their new leader, which just so happened to be called “Lies.” Even more impressive was the fact that the drummer they were playing with was a fill-in, yet he ripped through every track as if he’d known them for years. He also, as a quick joke, provided one of the quietest blast beats ever. After a quiet, melodic refrain of “we won’t be coming back again,” they assured us that they would indeed be back again. Before the final punch in their last song, they yelled out “Goodnight Miami!” Hilarious.
Local boys Bird Problems played a significantly shorter set than either of the preceding acts; all in all, it can’t have been longer than five or six songs. They made the most of it though. At one point their singer found himself sitting cross-legged in the middle of the room as he sang through a particularly emotionally charged passage. He and their guitarist highlighted another particularly gnarly breakdown by two-stepping around the still nearly empty room. They made sure to point out that the man they had fed human brains to in their music video for “Succulent” was in attendance, and they thanked him for his service. They also managed to squeeze in some sexy vibes with the song “Quarantine.” Though the set was short, they assured us that their closing song would be enough song for two songs, which it was with twisting rhythms and skramz laden prog. One astute observer asked them if the song would be longer than most, to which they wisely replied that it’s not the length of the song, but what you do with the time that counts.
Written by Syd Ghan
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Mike Milito