Mad Caddies + The Cardboard Crowns + Hugo Mudie @ Theatre Corona – 9th May 2018

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Mad Caddies Montreal

Montreal punks must be grateful that Mad Caddies chose the hottest day of the year so far to kick off punk summer 2018; all those at the show tonight can get away with rolling up in the standard punk rock uniform of shorts and t-shirt without fear of hypothermia or the hell that is Corona’s coat check. FINALLY!

After Hugo Mudie, former frontman of defunct local icons The Sainte Catherines, opens the show (under the moniker of Mudie), it’s Toronto’s The Cardboard Crowns who hit the stage, wearing, surprise surprise, cardboard crowns. After opening with Pulling Teeth and a supremely reggae song (introduced as “ska slowed down”), the bass player Francois Cuningham asks if anyone speaks French, so they can sing a French song. Obviously, the crowd roars back, but Francois continues: “even if you don’t speak French, it’s a good dancing song!” He’s not wrong; the whole floor erupts into dance, and it keeps up throughout the rest of the set, which includes a fun cover of Believe by Cher and a song about Donald Trump that elicits a ton of skanking. A very energetic 30 minutes, and the crowd can consider themselves suitably warmed up.

California ska-punks Mad Caddies arrive on stage a short while later, to huge cheers from the packed floor. The reggae dub beats of Lay Your Head Down and Backyard open the set soaked in summer vibes, before the third straight offering from the 2007 Keep It Going record, Tired Bones, gets things a little more frantic, with its fusion of ska and smoky old jazz exemplified by the oft-used mute on the end of the Mark Bush’s trumpet.

After Brand New Scar, frontman Chuck Robertson remarks on the crowd’s reception: “Montreal, we’re feeling the love! It’s been 4 years since we’ve been here!” Having been playing guitar for each song so far, he then ditches it for next song, the epic Leavin (from the 2003 Just One More record), and bounces around the stage like the true frontman. The crowd goes nuts, as Chuck roars the chorus “Life goes by so damn quickly for me, wanna have some fun!” A staggering FIFTEEN years on, those words are as true as ever for the old punks in the room!

A reggae-infused cover of She by Green Day slows things down momentarily before Love Myself re-ignites the pit once more. Souls For Sale is a highlight too; additional decibels and fist-pumps are reserved for the line “all the way to Venezuela down to Sao Paolo, THEN BACK UP TO MONTREAL!” On a few occasions, Chuck backs off from the mic completely, letting the crowd sing it exclusively, which sounds awesome.

Things then get crazy for the rest of the set; Chuck proclaims “we’re gonna take it back 20 years, this is a dancing song!” The song in question is the ska freak-out Monkeys, from the 1998 Duck And Cover record. TWENTY YEARS OLD! That’s scary… The crowd goes berserk once more, and a few brave ones try to climb onstage (most are quickly rebuffed by Stage security…). Another epic flurry of old songs follows soon after, in the form of Contraband, which goes straight into No Hope, which goes straight into Road Rash. With all the singing, I’m starting to lose my voice. What little voice I have left is finally shredded during Drinking For 11, dedicated by Chuck to the drinks guy who managed to carry a case of beer across the raucous floor section. Again, it sounds amazing.

Chuck nonchalantly mentions “we’d not played the next song in years until last night, so we may as well do it again!” The Gentleman is the song in question, a wonderful surprise, and even the girl next to me exclaims to her boyfriend afterwards “I can’t believe they played that!” More voices and calories are spent around the room. Coyotes closes out the main set.

After Riding For A Fall kicks off the encore, Chuck asks if there are any requests. Various songs are shouted before he laughs “OK, we’ll do ‘the pirate song’!” The song in question is actually Weird Beard, from the 2001 Rock The Plank record. Chuck’s pirate voice is still on point! All-American Badass, from that same record, closes out the show for good after 75 minutes, with trombone player Ed Hernandez playing part of the song in among the crowd and guitarist Sascha Lazor playing the accordion parts on his electric guitar. An absolutely brilliant show; punk summer 2018 is officially ON!

Setlist

Lay Your Head Down
Backyard
Tired Bones
Brand New Scar
Leavin
She (Green Day cover)
Love Myself
State of Mind
Souls for Sale
Monkeys
Shoot Out the Lights
Contraband
No Hope
Road Rash
Drinking for 11
The Gentleman
Coyote

Encore
Riding for a Fall
Weird Beard
All American Badass

Review & photos – Simon Williams

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