Time and time again the weather here in Montreal, QC will try to test our mettle. Some say, “nay you foul beast of winter, I yield to your might”. I much prefer the route of “Fuck you bitch, I gots a show to go to,” and thus there I was, braving the elements amongst some six hundred other dudes to bombard the Fairmount Theatre in the name of music and all things heavy. Only not that heavy, I digress. This past Thursday, the 27th of February, While She Sleeps of Sheffield, UK came waltzing through with a trove of interesting acts, and as you’ve probably gathered by now, I’m going to give you my fucking opinion on it.
Northgang out of Ottawa, ON drew first blood this evening whilst giving off reminiscent vibes of a somehow lighter/poppy-er Stray From the Path that proceeded to bleed into a more familiar and common take on today’s hardcore-metalcore attempting to be digestible to all feel. There’s vigour and ambition amongst these Canadian cats, and although their sound wasn’t entirely memorable and the banter wasn’t entirely original, the excitement was enough to feed off of. This band may or may not be your cup of tea, but I’ll tip a hat to anyone ballsy enough to attempt a cover of “Bulls on Parade” in this day and age.
As the excitement continues, we’re presented with Savage Hands out of Waldorf, MD. Where the previous act may have felt a little simple or a tad forgettable, these cats felt all TOO familiar. I found myself very quickly asking if the world needed another band like The Word Alive, but credit where credit is due, they’re here regardless of if I give a fuck. Vocal sections come in at a piercing pitch we know and sometimes love from the late stage screamo to metalcore evolution and musical compositions come in with that classic stomp your feet anthemic attempt. All in all, this is not a band I’ll be following by choice, but an act depending on your depth down the rabbit hole that is metalcore you may actually enjoy.
I waited and waited for this very next moment. He is Legend of Wilmington, NC have been on a hot streak since the release of their latest sonic capsulation of chaos known as White Bat, and this particular performance made a spectacular example of that. Crushing tones, enthralling banter and presence, top notch room sound, and a rawness that one can only find of a southern hardcore act such as this all stood present from can cracker “White Bat” to the sludging blows of “Boogiewoman.” Mix in a cover of “Fight Song” because that’s just a thing tonight, with a track off every possible album you could have asked for and I then dare you to try and tell me this didn’t shake your shit.
The bottom of the ninth had come and While She Sleeps stepped up to the plate. Sheffeild’s own crunched open with “ANTI-SOCIAL” and thus made quick work of turning the crowd into a sweaty fucking riot where there was once zombie like stagnance (to my dismay I might add). Not a mouth was left closed or a face void of a river of sweat and the occasion boot print. Through this carnage and occasional stage antic, crystal clear sound for such a chaotic act was exclaimed and an honestly diverse setlist worthy of a first headlining run in North America. I for one, being the picky prick I am, would have gladly swapped either of the Brainwashed tracks that I almost didn’t expect to hear for “Our Legacy,” but this in no way can demean the fact that these cats knocked this performance out of the park, leaving every dripping fan begging for more whilst licking their wounds with ringing ears. Yes, winter in Montreal sucks, but if you sat this out over a little snow, I can gladly tell you, this was not a party to miss.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Marc-Antoine Morin
*edited by Danielle Kenedy