As much as I love an enormous full venue like the Bell Centre, I have a soft spot for intimate and half full venues when the time is right.
The Fairmount Theatre was hosting three bands tonight with not only different backgrounds but different languages.
The Atlas Moth post-metal group opened up the evening and got the crowd as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. With only one song down a man from the crowd shouted “You’re fucking good guys!! Welcome to Montreal!”. I like to believe Montrealers know how to make bands feel at home. With a few tech problems, that didn’t stop the singer from interacting with the crowd and keep things interested until they were ready to rock out again. Mentioning a few times that the merch table was close by, many people obliged and rocked some Atlas Moth t-shirts. Singing his heart out and at other times making sounds which I would not know how to describe, accompanied by the musical talent of his guitarist, the interaction on stage was nothing short of a band being on stage for the pure enjoyment of being on stage. To be honest I really wish I had more to say but the set was not only too short but with the technical problems, not enough music being played.
Icelandic band Solstafir took the stage and I was really excited to see them live. Having only discovered them over the summer through a music video a friend showed me and knowing nothing about Icelandic music, it was quite the discovery. Solstafir arrived on stage with each their own style, the singer and drummer looking like Vikings, tall and bearded, one guitarist like a cowboy with a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, and the other guitarist like a hardcore Legolas (from Lord of the rings), with flowy long blond hair and black make-up. We decided to move up front to the stage where I never thought I could be so close to a band. Recently taking drum lessons I could see all the drummers movements and understood what he was doing through the movements of his arms and legs.
I could see the sweat rolling down the guitarists foreheads, and singer Aðalbjörn Tryggvason came so close with his guitar I could practically smell the chords as he touched them. Through each of their songs, not understanding the words did not matter, what mattered is what was felt through the music in the moment. Some of the songs we were all swaying from side to side, looking at the singer who had his eyes closed just feeling the music with us, and other moments we were jumping, screaming, and evacuating whatever stress we had in our lives.
There was a moment where depression was mentioned and he said the words that we all say, but sometimes we need to hear from someone else ” If you are feeling depressed or suicidal, talk to someone about it”. Please do. The rest of the set was filled with high-fives, props, hand holding, and singing the last song right in the crowd where we could all feel the music with him.
The band of the hour Paradise Lost took the stage and made us forget how cold it was outside. It got hot and heavy fast as the crowd sang and cheered and jumped to every song. With a strong rugged voice, vocalist Nick Holmes asked “Should I talk in a death metal voice between songs?” as he proceeded to announce every song in his best death metal voice. As a classic half metal and half rock show, everyone was jumping around in a sort of moshpit. It was high energy and high volume. Playing songs of different styles throughout their set and a three-song encore, the intimate setting was a perfect way to end the evening with a show that will definitely be remembered by all those who were there.
Review – Jenny Watson
Photos – Kieron Yates