Aging is a bit of a bitch. Trust me. Many of the originators of the punk and hardcore genres though, were started the year I was born (or thereabouts) – which makes aging more of a bitch for them, I suppose. The year was 1978; new bands were popping up around the globe, such as the Dead Kennedys and The Germs, Black Flag, Angry Samoans – in Montreal The Nils and on the other side of the country, Vancouver’s D.O.A. During that time, D.O.A have broken up and reformed on several occasions, much like many of the genres former heads of state – and like other genre pioneers; D.O.A feature just one original member – Joey Shithead. Shithead is a staple in Canadian punk and a name that deserves to be at the tip of the tongue of any young buck or old fuck into extreme music.
Starting off the night were the Hood Rats, playing their first ever show together. Although their drummer and singer, one mister Tony Salador, has been in more bands than I’ve had hot meals – tonight was the first time I’ve seen the lad drum. I’ve seen him on the guitar many, many times, with Suburban Trash and Roadbones and Tainted Youth and way more than I care to remember, and I once drove out to Ottawa to catch The Blood (UK) play and to my surprise, there was Tony on stage, playing the bass for them. The boy gets about in his spare time. He and the Hood Rats seemed at ease on stage, and were solid – more like a group playing its home crowd for the umpteenth time than for the first. Hopefully there will be more to come from the ‘Rats – enjoyable debut.
Another band with its roots firmly planted in the Montreal area (and another drawing from the Pointe Claire scene of old) followed up where the Hood Rats had left off. Fightface had a yarn or two to sing about zombies. That was followed by a tune about the undead, and some zombies – then another song about zombies. In short, Fightface sing about zombies. A lot. Oh and something about a shark, too. Probably a zombie shark. Jokes aside; Fightface are rapidly becoming one of my favorite local bands. Catchy rhythms and well constructed songs, shout along choruses and just a fun atmosphere about them – it is hard not to like Fightface. It seems each time I see them, they’ve added a few more tiny television’s to their collection of static noise showing displays – and I’m always thinking to myself, “how do they keep finding these and why do they stack up so well?”.
Amusingly, the group were being heckled by a member of the assembly. This fellow wanted to know if they group “had anything faster” and would make sure to voice his opinion of the song that had just ended and offer tips and pointers to the onstage musicians. By the end of the night, I saw him staggering around holding a copy of the bands album that was available on USB keys. So I suppose in the long run; Fightface had earned his seal of drunken approval.
Then Shithead and the boys emerged and began banging out classic Canadian punk anthems to the enthusiastic draw that had come out to witness the return of D.O.A. Shithead threw out a wild front kick that missed me somehow, but was close enough that I felt the wind and saw the curly hair of my fellow photography comrade flutter in its breeze. We had survived a swift booting.
I always enjoy seeing aging musicians play – and I hope that doesn’t come across as rude; let me explain. Playing witness to a musician who is still playing songs he or she wrote moons ago; still living the life and still out there giving it their all, that to me, is the sign of a true artist. Somebody that honestly cares about what they do and in modern times, that is a rare sight. Looking around the room, I saw people half my age and others at least a decade my senior all singing along and jumping about in unison. United by an ideology and a scene that was supposed to have faded away and died almost as soon as it had hatched. Something I am thankful to elder musicians for – continuing to bring their music and everything that comes with it to younger generations.
Admittedly, I spent the majority of D.O.A’s set perched against the bar, chatting with a friend that has only recently returned home for a vast exploration of Japan – and although I was still glancing toward the stage, and listening to the band, I was too tired to fully grasp what I was witnessing. Age; its a motherfucker.
Written and photographed by Kieron Yates.Share this :