Our Lady Peace + Live + Bush @ Bell Centre – 12th September 2019

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Our Lady Peace

The Montreal summer festival scene isn’t going down without a fight in 2019 – despite being almost mid-September, tonight it’s the turn of “Summersault.”  Billed as a resurrection of Our Lady Peace’s signature festival after 19 years away, its actually just a re-jig of the “Alt-imate Tour” which has been rolling around North America all summer long, but with Our Lady Peace bumped up to the headline slot.  It makes sense, they’re Canadian after all.  Whatever you want to call it, it’s a stellar line-up, and a fine way to wrap up the summer festival schedule.

At every festival, there’s always a band that looks a little out of place, at least on paper.  In this case, its Vancouver’s Dear Rouge (consisting of husband and wife duo Danielle and Drew McTaggart), and their brand of contemporary electronic synth rock here on a bill of 90’s grunge.  Add to that the insanely early stage time of 5.45pm, and you have a cavernous Bell Centre that’s not even 10% full – it is a Thursday, after all.  It could be intimidating for lesser bands, but Dear Rouge are clearly not fazed in the slightest, tearing into the thumping Modern Shakedown with all the confidence and swagger of a headliner.  After the huge dirty riffs of Live Through The Night, Boys & Blondes is an anthemic blitz in the manner of Somebody Told Me by The Killers.  Tongues follows a similar theme.  A rampant I Heard I Had closes out the 30-minute set in emphatic fashion.

Dear Rouge Setlist

  • 1.    Modern Shakedown
  • 2.    Live Through The Night
  • 3.    Boys & Blondes
  • 4.    Stolen Days
  • 5.    Tongues
  • 6.    North American Scum (LCD Soundsystem cover)
  • 7.    I Heard I Had
Bush

A spooky rumbling intro heralds the arrival of the iconic Bush.  Their seminal Sixteen Stone record turns 25 this year, and so tonight’s hour-long set draws heavily from that record to everyone’s delight.  The unmistakable riff of Machinehead ignites the set instantly, and the suddenly-packed Bell Centre is transfixed.  Frontman Gavin Rossdale is quick to show his gratitude: “thanks for coming early, it’s a beautiful thing!”  The opening bars of Everything Zen is slowed down to a scuzzy walking pace, before exploding into life over a screen backdrop that resembles a Bond movie intro sequence (think female silhouettes, bright colours, etc.), and culminates with Gavin grinding the neck of his guitar on a stage amp to create a tsunami of distortion and feedback.  New song Bullet Holes is played over a backdrop of footage from the recent John Wick 3 movie (the soundtrack of which the song featured on), before swiftly following that up with more unmistakable riffs in the form of the classic Little Things. 

Towards the end of the song, Gavin drops down into the floor section and runs in and out of rows, high-fiving everyone as he goes, before singing the last chorus in the aisle at the back of the arena.  Quite the reward for those in the cheap seats!  He’s back on stage in time for the classic Glycerine, consisting of just Gavin and his distorted electric guitar, and a few thousand backing vocalists around the arena.  The place lights up with phone lights for the duration too; it’s truly goosebump-inducing.  The last bars roll right into the deep rumbling bass intro of Comedown, which is every bit as massive, with Gavin turning his mic toward the crowd to sing out the last chorus while he and the rest of the band gather around drummer Robin Goodridge for a climactic thrashing conclusion.  It’s an immense hour, and its hard to see how anyone could possibly follow that.

Bush Setlist

  • 1.    Machinehead
  • 2.    This Is War
  • 3.    Everything Zen
  • 4.    Body
  • 5.    The Disease of the Dancing Cats
  • 6.    Bullet Holes
  • 7.    Little Things
  • 8.    Glycerine
  • 9.    Comedown
Live

The first ones tasked with that challenge are York PA’s Live, who are also celebrating a 25-year anniversary; in their case, the landmark 2nd record Throwing Copper.  The artwork for that record slowly pieces together on the huge screens behind the stage as they arrive, and after a rare outing for Rattlesnake opens the set, the classic Selling The Drama elicits a huge singalong from all assembled.  Lightning Crashes is their Glycerine moment of the set, as the phone lights are whipped out once more around the room, and frontman Ed Kowalczyk follows Gavin Rossdale’s lead in dropping down into the floor and letting the crowd take over vocal duties entirely for one of the choruses, which sounds pretty epic. 

I Alone keeps the singalong going.  With 9 albums of material, it seems a little strange to do a cover, but, credit where credits due, they nail Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones, right down to the noodley sitar part.  Ed throws some good Jagger-esque shapes too!  The set closes out after 55 minutes with Lakini’s Juice from the 1997 Secret Samadhi record.  Time for one more song I think, they had an hour scheduled?  Oh well.  A great set from Live nonetheless.

Live Setlist

  • 1.    Rattlesnake
  • 2.    Selling the Drama
  • 3.    Shit Towne
  • 4.    The Beauty of Gray
  • 5.    Lightning Crashes
  • 6.    I Alone
  • 7.    Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition)
  • 8.    White, Discussion
  • 9.    Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones cover)
  • 10.  Lakini’s Juice

After a much-needed coffee pick-me-up (it’s a long day when you come straight from work to the Bell Centre on public transport for 5.30pm …), it’s the turn of Toronto heroes Our Lady Peace to round out Summersault 2019.  After a thunderous Superman’s Dead kicks off proceedings in fine manner, frontman Raine Maida does his best attempt at bilingualism: “Bonjour Montreal, do I love this city! Its like a deuxieme maison, a second home!” 

Innocent is every bit as anthemic as you would imagine, as is One Man Army, sung by Raine partly through a megaphone, before exploding at the chorus and closing with a monstrous guitar solo.  The crowd shows no sign of tiring at this point either, happily accepting Raine’s invitation to sing the chorus on both Is Anybody Home? And Somewhere Out There (that invitation being the universal language of bowing your head and rotating your mic 180°).  New song Stop Making Stupid People Famous sounds like The Killers too, just like Dear Rouge did earlier, and even more so given that Raine sounds a lot like Brandon Flowers in this musical context!  Ballad Of A Poet is a moving tribute to the late Gord Downie, with Raine urging the crowd to “take out your phones and light ‘em up for Gord!”  They do, and it looks magical.  Clumsy closes out the main set with another deafening singalong.

A piano is set up for Raine to start the encore alone in the form of 4am, with the band rejoining midway through before Dear Rouge’s Danielle McTaggart joins the band for a roaring Naveed.  Raine then heads out into the crowd on last song Starseed to close out the 70-minute set for good, promising “there’s nowhere we’d rather be than in Montreal with you guys, see you very soon!”  Hopefully, that’s in the form of another Summersault Festival in 2020!

Our Lady Peace Setlist

  • 1.    Superman’s Dead
  • 2.    Innocent
  • 3.    One Man Army
  • 4.    Do You Like It
  • 5.    Is Anybody Home?
  • 6.    Somewhere Out There
  • 7.    Drop Me in the Water
  • 8.    Stop Making Stupid People Famous
  • 9.    Ballad of a Poet
  • 10.  Clumsy

Encore

  • 11.  4am
  • 12.  Naveed
  • 13.  Starseed

Review – Simon Williams
Photos – Kieron Yates

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