I was expecting a rock show, I got a wicked party instead!
As I entered the MTelus, I noticed it was jam packed with almost everyone donning a Three Days Grace shirt. I was in a bit of shock because I didn’t know they were still that huge, I just knew them as a a band on the radio that I forgot about. It was so packed that I had to use five different vantage points in rotation because of the density of the crowd.
As I was waiting for Fozzy, I noticed they were using the traditional Marshall set-up. This would later switch to digital amps for the other bands. The theatre went dark and a industrial remix version of “War Pigs” from Black Sabbath played as the members came out one by one as the crowd cheered, with Chris Jericho (singer, former WWE wrestler ) ran out like a bat out of hell looking like the closest thing to Axl Rose in his prime glam years. They started with “Judas” which set the vibe for their whole set. All members (Richard Ward (guitarist), Frank Fontsere (drummer) and Paul Di Leo (bass)) were as animated as can get and all their songs were formulaic, anthemic, and very catchy. For “Drinking With Jesus,” at the halfway mark, Jericho sang the song holding the entire mic stand upside down, showing he still hasn’t lost his strength. A huge moment happened during “Elevator,” when Three Days Grace frontman (Matt Walst) came out spontaneously to duet.Another highlight was Jericho’s LED jacket on “Lights Go Out.” The biggest moment, however, was when they played “Burn Me Out.” The people who paid VIP (like fifteen people), all went on stage and started partying with the band, jumping up and down.
Next up is what I consider one of the most unique acts on the planet, Nothing More. Johnny Hawkins (vocalist), Mark Vollelunga (guitarist), Daniel Oliver (bass), and Ben Anderson (drums) are all highly talented musicians. Having a very good ear for genres, I couldn’t pinpoint Nothing More’s core, so I concluded they don’t have a core; they’re a very well put fusion of Hard/Alt/Progressive Rock and Progressive/Nu Metal. They started with “Do You Really Want It” and “Let It Burn.” Everyone in the band was animated, especially Johnny, topless, wearing sandals, running around like a mad man with unlimited stamina.
The biggest WTF moment was when they brought out “The Scorpion Tail.” As Wikipedia sates: “[Nothing More’s] performances also include a number of contraptions created by the bands themselves, including “The Scorpion Tail” in 2016, an animated structure created out of scrap metal and salvaged auto parts, weighing 400 pounds and measuring 14 feet tall. Hawkins rides the structure, while also using it to create digital electronic effects for the songs as well. Its design is based on the “Drumtron”/”Bassinator” contraption the band has used prior, which also allowed the band to perform 3 person bass solos by Hawkins, Vollelunga, and Oliver.” This was one of the most impressive displays of musicianship and out of the box thinking I ever saw. They went on to say how they were nominated for the Grammy Awards three times (I can see why), and it’s all because of the fans. Johnny went on to make a speech about losing a loved one and the song is for anyone who has lost someone close. They played “Fade In/ Fade Out” and I shed a tear because not only was it relatable, but because Johnny really sang with emotion, almost howling, it really came from the heart. They ended with their remixed version Of Skrillex’s “First Of The Year (Equinox). One of the best bands I have seen live. Period.
Lastly where headliners Three Days Grace. The stage looked great, with two ramps leading to a second upper stage where the drummer (Neil Sanderson) played. Barry Stock (guitarist) and Brad Walst (bassist) had an extremely well balanced rock tone, I had noticed that the crowd wasn’t moving much for the other bands other than key moments, and I found out why. As soon as Three Days Grace hit the stage, a frenzy ensued. I wasn’t even in the crowd and got body checked. Matt Walst is the textbook definition of a good rockstar. He connects with the crowd like I have never seen before (in the rock scene specifically). He still has this teen angst in him that everyone can relate too. Although he sings great, he had quite the foul mouth in between songs, using “fuckin’” as one of the only adjectives. He said with enthusiasm: “We fuckin’ love Quebec, rock n’ roll fuckin’ lives here” then, took off his jacket, and screamed “fuck yeah!” This was followed by “The Good Life,” where an Irish gig style frenzy ensued. Some moshed, some danced, some just went apeshit, pure debauchery, amazing.
At this point I got an emergency phone call from the hospital where I work and had to leave. I’m pretty sure that the party got crazier and the fans definitely got more than what they expected!
Written by Peter Lountzis
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Danielle Kenedy