The construction zone that is Metropolis, ahem, sorry, ‘MTelus’ as it’s now known, is about half-full by the time trio Berri Txarrax hit the stage. How much rock music can you think of that’s sung in the Basque language? Me neither, so it’s a unique start to a show if ever you saw one! Undeterred by the half-full venue, they put on a ferocious opening to the show, and are very well received.
Scranton PA’s The Menzingers have no need to win over the crowd tonight, as its seems a large chunk of them are here primarily for them, judging by the reception they get right off the bat. Cut from the same cloth as The Gaslight Anthem or Hot Water Music, their brand of rock is immensely catchy and well-crafted, and they surely don’t struggle to pick up followers wherever they play. Indeed, I stumbled across them at a Pouzza Fest show in 2012, and have been hooked ever since. Entering the stage to Beastie Boys classic Intergalactic, they launch right in to Tellin’ Lies from current record “After the Party,” and that huge slice of the floor section starts bouncing and singing right away. The biggest singalong of the set so far arrives 4 songs in with The Obituaries from the epic “On The Impossible Past“ record, which is already 5 years old! Scary stuff. After paying tribute to tonight’s headliners as “one of the bands that got us into this,” new song Thick As Thieves follows, before two more cuts from OTIP arrive in the form of Good Things and Burn After Writing to get the crowd moving once more. They pay tribute to Montreal on a couple of occasions too, pointing out that “this is the first night of our tour, and we can’t think of a better place to kick it off than Montreal!,” before closing out their fantastic 13-song, 45 minute set with In Remission from 2014 offering ”Rented World.” Headliners of the world be warned, and be on top form – having your support band as The Menzingers means they might just upstage you.
On this particular night, however, there’s no risk of that happening. That’s because the headliner tonight is Descendents, and their first visit to the 514 in 20 years. Frontman Milo beams to the crowd how good it is to be back in Canada, because its not messed up like their country (the USA, in case you wondered)… “because everything sucks!!! “ With that, the band barrel into “Everything Sux“ the title track from their 1996 album, and proceed to dive in to a mammoth 37 song set over the course of the next 90 minutes. The pit is immediately heaving, which is my cue to unashamedly wimp out from the middle of the floor to the safe zone against the wall beneath the balcony – a decision vindicated as the pit swells even more during the classic Hope. In fact, even the safe zone is no longer safe during Suburban Home later in the set, as I get bumped into even there, such is the energy of the crowd tonight – clearly, 20 years of pent-up energy is being released in abundance as the pit writhes, fists pump, and crowd surfers take to the skies.
The set draws from all 7 of their studio albums, and ranges, quite literally, from the sublime (Hope, Myage, Suburban Home, and Talking were my personal favourites) to the ridiculous. On Van, Milo performs the kind of dance moves you associate with Dads at weddings while the song is played at breakneck speed and induces sensory overload (for which Milo thanks us for tolerating afterwards…). Prior to Coffee Mug, Milo takes our coffee orders, whilst on the 10 second Weinerschnitzel he barks a fast-food order at lightning speed. He jokes afterwards “…and now for something more melodic” as Get The Time gets the actual music back on track.
The main set closes out with Milo patrolling the front fence on Thank You, sticking his mic into the faces of anyone singing along, and then finally Descendents, from the 1985 record of the same name. A pair of 4-song encores follow, the epic show ending with every last vestige of energy being spent by the devoted crowd on Catalina.
Tonight really did have a Reunion feel about it, like old friends being brought back together after 20 years apart. At one point, Milo mentions how “we used to play Foufounes next door all the time in the 80’s,“ and at the Merch, there’s a shirt specifically made for this show with the iconic Milo face made up out of poutine (https://www.instagram.com/p/BYwwHIIAI4a/)! A great night all round.
Reunited, and it feels so good…
My Dad Sucks
Nothing With You
I Wanna Be a Bear
Who We Are
Victim of Me
Get the Time
I Don’t Want to Grow Up
I Like Food
When I Get Old
I’m the One
No Fat Burger
Spineless and Scarlet Red
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