Like Pacific + Sleep On It @ Le Ministere – 30th July 2019

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Pop-punkers from all over Montreal united at Le Ministere this Tuesday for a wild night, mixing tasty beer, catchy music, and most likely hating your hometown/being with your best friends/loving pizza (Wait, did I get cliché?). 

Never Loved started the night with a short setlist, when the venue was as packed as a room full of Nickelback’s Canadian fans (rough estimate of 50 people or so). That’s a shame; the Florida pop-punk band delivered a solid performance, with frontman Camm Knopp & co offering thumping choruses after the other. After giving a try to metalcore and straight-up pop, I think Knopp found his sound and shouldn’t let go from it! The band, signed with Equal Vision Records, played their full EP Never Loved (comprised of the songs “Dead Inside”, “Charged”, “Gone”, and “Goddamn”), as well as their latest single “Where do I go from here?”. The answer is, and I truly hope for them, places, and hopefully towards an LP and a headlining tour, who knows?

Next up was In Her Own Words, from Los Angeles, California. I regret not knowing this band enough before coming to the show. The only song I knew all the lyrics too was “Right Now”, as it displays Joey Fleming’s emotional range in his voice and the harmony found between the two guitars on this track. You should give it a listen and I’ll see if you dare fight me on this! Anyway, In Her Own Words surprised me in the best way, giving me exactly what I came here for: pop-punk at its best, along with hooks, stellar vocals, and an outstanding live performance (kudos to drummer Omar Sultani for his Energizer bunny type of energy throughout the whole set). Whether you know the 4-piece band or not, I would strongly recommend you to check them out and go see them live, it’s WORTH IT!

Did you ask for a side of Pop-Punk with your Pop-Punk? Well, even if you didn’t, Homesafe was there to deliver. Fun fact: if you believe you’ve already seen their singer somewhere, it’s simply because he’s not only their talented frontman but also Knuckle Puck’s bassist aka Ryan Rumchaks! Everything is copacetic with this, ain’t it? (Did I even use it well? I’m not quite sure but trust me, I tried). Homesafe opened their set with one of their last releases, “Without Warning”, a twisted and brooding tune to set the tone. The band also delighted us with more “classic” songs from their album Evermore that I dig, such as “Hourglass” and “Relapse”, with also a couple of songs from their latest opus named One (“Run” and “Vanilla-Scented Laser Beams” if I’m not mistaken). Despite being another pop-punk band among a full pop-punk lineup, Homesafe stood out and delivered a genuine and emo at times performance through their melodies, energy and passion for music and their fans. For the most curious among you, check out their latest LP One. A couple more fun facts before I move on to Sleep On It: All band members have the name of their latest album tattooed on their arm. Last but not least, their guitarist has dope Star Wars tattoos, with a Stormtrooper, Darth Vader, and a lightsaber.

Sleep On It, come out to play! The Chicago Pop-Punk band started their set a bit late due to their soundcheck taking forever but I can’t blame them. No one but me would talk about it actually, one could say it was pretty much “Unspoken” (yes, I’m desperately trying to make a pun with the first song they started their set with. What are you going to do about it?). It’s tough for me to be objective with Sleep On It, I’m one of their greatest fans here, but I’ll try to do my best. It was my second time seeing them live, after seeing them a couple of years ago opening for As It Is and Roam, and they blew me away back then. Zech Pluister’s voice will give you the chills, whether it’s live or on the records, I guarantee you that! The band showcased their latest single “Under The Moment”, that will appear on their next album Pride & Disaster to come out September 13, 2019. This song, despite expressing despair and being somewhat of a cry for help regarding one’s depression and anxiety, is catchy and could keep you listening for hours. The band ended their setlist with two of my favourite songs, “See You Around” and the one and only “Fireworks”, that they recorded with Derek Discanio from State Champs. For those who missed them, don’t worry, Sleep On It will return to Montreal on October 13th, 2019 to open for British rock band Don Broco!

Toronto-based Pop Punk band Like Pacific closed the night with a fast-paced set composed of their best songs in my opinion. They started their set with the title track of their latest release, “In Spite of Me”, to perfectly set the mood. Unsurprisingly, their fans were already singing along and some even were even ready to mosh right after the first few notes of the song were heard. The band continued with “The Spring”, a powerful song that will strike you right away as frontman Jordan Black displays his emotions beautifully as he screams into the mic.  Like Pacific also delighted their fans with a couple songs from their first studio album Distant Like You Asked, with “Worthless Case”, “Richmond”, “22a” (one of my favourite songs from the band, check it out if you don’t already know it!), and, obviously, “Distant”, with which they closed the show with.  With this performance, Like Pacific proved that they definitely were worthy of headlining their own tour and they did it spectacularly. Not only did their last release make a big splash in this ocean of pop-punk bands (that may sound a bit too similar from one another), with hard-hitting lyrics and remarkable mixes, but they are now mastering the art of sharing these songs live with passion and dynamism that won’t leave you indifferent. 

Review – Maxime Le Huidoux

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