Silverstein + guests @ Le National, Montreal – 27th February 2015

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What an emotional rollercoaster that night was! It was my first show ever at Le National so I didn’t know exactly what to expect from the venue at first. Many people told me about it, and about how great it was. I must say the place was lovely, but it really lacked organisation and the drinks were more expensive than at your average venue!

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Major League was already playing as I got in so, as a result, I apologise for not having anything to say about My Iron Lung since I missed them, but from what people were saying around me, they were pretty good!

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I was really glad to hear Major League play my favourite song from them as I was walking in, the great “Need I Remind You”. I was scared they wouldn’t play it tonight, since I knew from past setlists of this tour that they didn’t often play it! It was my second time seeing them, the first back in October last year, touring with Mayday Parade. Their performance was even better than the first time I had the pleasure of seeing them live, despite a lack of people knowing them for the great band they are. The band is however getting famous step by step and will even be on the next Vans Warped Tour!

So I walked in and, since we are still enjoying our Canadian winter, I still had my huge jacket that I wanted to get rid of to enjoy the show, and here was what I hate most… A huge waiting line! The coat check was inside the room where the show was happening, and even after 1.5 hour after the doors opened, there was still a line for it, and I can tell you: two people to take care of that is NOT enough! After 10 long minutes waiting and making my way through people to somehow cheat the line, I finally could enjoy the show and went right through the crowd to get about third row to enjoy a better view.

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The band played many songs from their main albums, Hard Feelings (2012) and There’s Nothing Wrong With Me (2014), such as “Wallflower”, “Pillow Talk”, “Kaleidoscopes” and “From States Away”. Overall, their performance was strong, cheerful and they knew how to put on a show and involve the crowd, inviting them to put their hands in the air & clap during most songs. I am definitely looking forward to seeing them being the headliners of their own tour, as I imagine it will happen in a couple years! Moreover, we must appreciate how vocalist Brian Anthony Joyce thanked the city of Montreal and told us how, after going through the streets of Montreal last year, he managed to fight against depression and negative thoughts. His speech was powerful and made me feel emotional, but thankful that great artists like him get through life thanks to his fans and people that truly appreciate his talent as a musician and singer.

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Australian rock bands (and by rock I mean, any sub-genres) start to be more and more present on the scene as they tour with great bands. Last week, it was The Amity Affliction & In Hearts Wake. Tonight it was Hands Like Houses.

Signed with Rise Records, the band started with their first studio album, the Ground Dweller in 2012, and it already made it to most US charts, whether it’s the US Indie, Hear, Alternative, Rock or Hard Rock charts. If you like that album, I’ve got news for you: they only played one song from it during the tour! Instead of focusing on that album, the Australian band focused on their newest album, Unimagine, that came out under the same label in 2013. They started with “Shapeshifters” and “Developments” to warm up the crowd and continued with the great “Wisteria” and “The House You Built” for a more powerful and energetic impact.

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Right after that we had the tremendous pleasure to hear that cover of the song “Torn”. Whether you know it interpreted by Ednaswap in 1995 or Nathalie Imbruglia in 1997, you KNOW the lyrics and have to admit it. So what happens when the band plays the cover they recorded for Punk Goes Pop Vol.2 live? The whole crowd sings along and it makes us nostalgic and wishing we could go back to the 90’s… Or at least, that’s what it did to me! It put a smile on my face, but definitely couldn’t beat the bassist’s, as he had a smile that could light up this town (as Taylor Swift would say, and no, I’m not even ashamed of that reference) during their whole performance!

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I could also mention how guitarist Alexander Pearson somehow looked like an old One Direction’s Harry Styles with longer hair and a beard…

Anyway! Hands Like Houses continued with “LionSkin”, the only song from their first album from that set. The rest of the performance was to me the best part of it, with three incredible songs: “A Tale of Outer Suburbia”, “No Parallels” and “Introduced Species”. Vocalist Trenton Woodley told us during the show about how music was just a way for them to express themselves freely, whether it was through sad or happy songs, so they made us savour one song for each category: “A Tale of Outer Suburbia” for the sad mellow song, and “No Parallels” for the happy, uptempo song. The crowd was singing along during the latter one “This is happiness. I’m fearless and I’m free, with the open road and the world beneath my feet”. What an amazing song and great fans to sing along with! The last song of the set was “Introduced Species”, their hit song, composed of a crooning voice, sweeping guitars and a triumphant chorus. At the end of that song, we can say that “In a way we [we’re] all connected”.

Hands Like Houses setlist:
Shapeshifters 
Developments 
Wisteria 
The House You Built 
Torn (Ednaswap cover)
Lion Skin 
A Tale of Outer Suburbia 
No Parallels 
Introduced Species 

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Even before Beartooth began, you could easily tell from their soundcheck that it would be a loud and energetic show. The metalcore band from Columbus didn’t disappoint at all during that set! I must say I didn’t last long in the crowd: Beartooth fans aren’t scared to mosh right from the start and I wasn’t ready for it at all. The band started with “Beaten in Lips” from their album, Disgusting, an extremely strong song whether it is with its sound or message, as it is tackling the topic of child abuse and encouraging victims to “Keep living loud and proud / They can never hold you down”. The second song, “Dead”, was a guaranteed circle pit starter and the crowd knew it! Fans were on fire, had so much energy and rage that they needed to take out and this song was the perfect time for that. Some even got on stage and jumped from it… That’s a little bit before I decided to leave the second row as I got a crazy crowd-surfer jumping right on my nose! But hey, those are the risks you have to go through in the life of a fan, and I must say I don’t hold anything against this guy, he was only having fun, like all of us that night!

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The band went on with songs such as “In Between” & “The Lines”, once again taken from their newest record. The latter song is jam packed with riffs and a lively attitude that makes it so enjoyable live!

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Vocalist Caleb Shomo also made powerful statements telling us that it’s not because the band and him are on stage that they are any better than me and you, and that anybody can achieve their dreams if they want to. I love when artists make this kind of statements, and put their fans on the same level as them. Kudos to Shomo on that part (and on pretty much every single part of that night as his performance was flawless to me)!

The band also performed a cover, but it wasn’t any cover: they paid homage to the influence of punk rock in their lives and decided to play The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop”. The crowd obviously knew that classic and sang along as expected. The band ended their set with “I Have a Problem” and “Body Bag”. That last song is an anti-suicide total rager leading to Shomo making us scream “One life, One Decision”, with him adding “Make sure it ends with you still living!” Well we were definitely alive, full of energy and ready for more that night, ready for Silverstein to take over!

Beartooth:
Beaten in Lips 
Dead 
Relapsing 
In Between 
The Lines 
Blitzkrieg Bop
I Have a Problem 
Body Bag 

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Silverstein was celebrating 15 years as a band and 10 years of Discovering The Waterfront, and long-time fans wouldn’t have missed that for the world! After 15 years making music they didn’t lose energy or the will to make their fans happy. As vocalist Shane Told bellowed the opening lyrics of “Smashed Into Pieces”, after their entrance through green flashing lights, it was a no brainer to say that it was the beginning of an impressive performance.

Before letting us enjoy Discovering The Waterfront, the band let us appreciate crowd favourites like the first song I mentioned, as well as “Massachusetts”, “Sacrifice”, “Vices”, or even a newer song being “A Midwestern State of Emergency”. The fans were definitely pleased by the choices made by the band and were singing along from the top of their lungs. They were also jumping all together to the beat of some songs, and I’m sure we could feel how much the floor was shaking down there! Habs fan were happy as well as one of the guitarists was wearing n°27 Alex Galchenyuk’s Jersey during the first half of the set (Go Habs, Go!). The last song of that first part was “Bleed No More”, a song going back 12 years from now, taken from their first album, When Broken is Easily Fixed.

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Time for the band to take off the background flag showing their name to replace it with the one underneath it showing the artwork of the album they are celebrating: the delightful Discovering The Waterfront. The band came back on the stage right after with “Your Sword Versus My Dagger”, the first song of the album.

I truly enjoyed hearing “Smile In Your Sleep” as it was one of my all-time favourite songs from 10 years ago. The fact that the song dramatically gets slower towards the last minute with another breakdown at the end makes it so enjoyable. Everybody in the crowd seemed to have as much fun as I did until then, except that one girl in the middle of the crowd who had her hands up to her nose. Vocalist Shane Told called out the guy who punched her in the face at the end of the song as the crowd was booing him. He then got gently kicked out of the venue for his behavior.

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Back to the show now… With “The Ides of March”, a very powerful song with a nice slow intro that I couldn’t help listening to as a teenager. The band continued with “First Wrapped In Blood” and “Discovering The Waterfront”: the first one starring awesome vocal work, strong screams and melody, and a singalong chorus, while the second one with equally amazing vocals that were solid from start to finish. Shane Told’s performance was purely flawless. We, however, had another emotional rollercoaster during that song as a fan passed out in the crowd. Good thing she was on the second row and could be easily taken away from the crowd by three guys from security. Yes, a Silverstein show is a lot of emotion to handle! I do hope she could still enjoy the end of the performance though.

The band then made it to a huge fan favorite: “My Heroine”. I witnessed during that song one of the few truly amazing moments that a band must have: the joy of going into the last chorus of the song, singing the first few words of it and stopping to let the crowd take over. That’s exactly what happened last night. The crowd sang the entire chorus unassisted as the band was standing on stage and singing along. I will probably never forget that moment, and neither will the other fans. To me, it was a proof of how many people this album affected.

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A couple more songs after that and it was already the end of their set. Time goes by so fast when we have that much fun with such an illustrious band. Their last song, “Call It Karma” was a brilliant way to end their performance, with the first half of the song acoustic, before the guitarists come out to play along. By the end of it, guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau and rhythm guitarist Josh Bradford were throwing their picks at the crowd and giving away the setlists to their fans, and even stayed with them to have small talk.

I got to briefly talk to them, and I must say they were probably some of the nicest band members I’ve met in a long time! Other band members were by their merch stands to talk to their fans as well, letting fans enjoy the end of the night talking to them, getting signatures and pictures with them. Being able to meet artists you admire after their performance makes every show so much better to me, and I wish more band members would do such thing so bring real value to the relationship they have with their fans.

Silverstein :
Smashed into Pieces 
Massachusetts 
Sacrifice 
Stand Amid the Roar 
Vices 
The Artist 
A Midwestern State of Emergency 
Bleeds No More 
Intermission
Discovering the Waterfront
Your Sword Versus My Dagger 
Smile in Your Sleep 
The Ides of March 
Fist Wrapped in Blood 
Discovering the Waterfront 
Defend You 
My Heroine 
Always and Never 
Already Dead 
Three Hours Back 
Encore:
Call It Karma 

Review – Maxime Le Huidoux
Photos – Johan Boutin

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