It was with tons of anticipation that I went down to Turbohaus on Tuesday night to check out a killer show combining some excellent local talent with an out of town act that I’ve been dying to see live – Whores, from Atlanta, Georgia. The show, part of Whores’ current tour with headliners Retox, was rounded out by locals Fashion Police and heavy hitters Hashed Out.
The tiny but rad Turbohaus is one of my favourite venues in the city due to the great people, consistently decent sound, cheap beer, and the chance to get up close and personal with the bands in a smaller setting. Rumour has it that the building housing Turbohaus will be one of the next victims of the Griffintown gentrification project, so I was even more stoked to see a band I love perform there before the wrecking ball does its work in the near future.
One thing I was not counting on was Turbohaus’ punctuality – after years of going to shows in Montreal, I figured that “doors at 8” meant the show would start around 9, if I was lucky. When I arrived just before 9 pm, it was a total bummer to realize that Fashion Police were already on stage and well into their set. I did manage to catch the last two and a half songs, and I was impressed with what I saw. Featuring members of Trigger Effect and Mountain Dust, these guys are clearly pros. They describe their music as “aggressive rock,” and it’s a great label for their style. Blending all kinds of heavy into one seamless, face-melting head smash, these veterans of the Montreal scene know exactly how to rock. I highly recommend checking out their first release, an EP titled Winter, on their Bandcamp page. I’m definitely going to watch out for their next show in Montreal!
Next up were crowd favourites Hashed Out. Opening with a long, gritty bass solo, the drums and guitar came in on an off-tempo beat in the purest heavy tradition. Right at that moment, I knew I was in for a good show! Before they even started playing, the crowd had cleared out a little ring around the stage in which singer Alex was able to thrash around. They obviously knew what was coming; Alex threw himself around that mini pit with insane energy throughout the whole set, despite the fact that the crowd was pretty lackluster. At one point he chastised us by saying, “I know it’s Tuesday night, but look alive!” After that, people started head banging with a little more enthusiasm for the Hashed Out set, which was stellar from start to finish. Highlights included the song “Total Bore” (which has a great choppy screaming chorus combined with sludgy backing vocals), and a hilarious comment from the singer towards the end when he said, “I’m losing my voice like the puberty kid on the Simpsons.” Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of my favourite song from the set, and since only one release is available on their Bandcamp page, I couldn’t find it later. All good! I’ll keep my ears open for that track the next time I see them play.
There’s nothing better at a show than when a band you really dig opens with one of your favourite songs. That’s exactly what happened with Whores, who led off their set with the song “Daddy’s Money” off the 2011 release Ruiner. They followed with another well-known anthem, “Fake Life.” The crowd freaked out during the chorus, and even the slackers who were too tired to move for Hashed Out banged their heads a little. They followed up with some other excellent classics like “Baby Bird,” “Shower Time,” “Tell Me Something Scientific,” and a bunch of others. To be honest, I was too excited to be hearing so many of the songs I loved live that I couldn’t keep track of everything they played. But in a way, forgetting about the details is a clear sign that a show was worthwhile, right?
This band is even more impressive live than they are on their recordings, and they brought a ton of energy to the stage. The guitarist had a crazy manic grin the whole time, and every song was perfectly tight and well executed. I asked a friend what adjectives they would use to describe Whores live, and he said they were “ball-stabbingly great!” Even though I lack that specific part of anatomy, I couldn’t agree more. This show was definitely something to cross off my personal musical bucket list.
Closing out the night were headliners Retox, who are based in L.A. and signed to Epitaph. I’d never heard them before, and the sheer force of their playing blew me away. My brain is sometimes an interesting place, and the very first comparison I thought of when I heard singer Justin Pearson’s voice was that it reminded me of the shoplifter’s band from the movie High Fidelity (I don’t know if that was a real band or not, but I thought it was pretty dope in the movie so hey, I mean this as a compliment). Combining disparate punk, rock, noise, and metal elements into a very California hardcore sound, Retox maintained their energy settings on MAX for their whole set. Full of extremely punchy guitars and throbbing bass that delivered surprising moments of intensity, the overall effect underlined the vocals in a way that highlighted their speed and delivery. All the songs were fast, short, and screamed at full volume – pretty great traits for a punk rock set if you ask me! Retox has played a few shows in Montreal already, so if you haven’t yet, make sure to catch them the next time they roll through.
As Turbohaus gets ready to relocate to their new digs, it was truly a pleasure to help send them off with this show. Twenty-four hours later I still can’t hear a thing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Written by Kate Erickson
Photography by Stacy Basque