Last night Montreal got treated to what you might call a mini metal festival, one was the central theme was showcasing women-fronted bands and reminding the audience that good music is still being made. Four bands took the stage, and each one gave us a taste of what rock meant to them and why everyone should just let themselves go and enjoy the music.
The crowd was one of the most enthusiastic and diverse I have seen in a metal show. Couples, friends and even kids were present at the MTelus venue since 6 pm. People showed up in number to witness the first two bands and show their support for, what Corey Taylor would call later, “the Family.”
First up was The Dead Deads, with a style that is hard to pinpoint but that sounds natural and new, they have a strange mix of punk, grunge, and classic rock, it’s like Hole, Kittie, and Joan Jett suddenly decided to play together. Original from Nashville, they have been active since 2013 and have gone since then through several formation changes and albums.
It was their first time in Montreal, and they were glad to be here, having nothing but praise for the crowd and venue. The public, seemingly having never heard of the band, enjoyed the show and interacted with them. The titles and themes of their songs ranged from “people killing each other” and “angst.” The grunge spirit was active throughout the set, and it ended in noise, chaos, and screeching of guitars.
Next up was New Years Day, a Californian band that built its reputation with MySpace since 2005. Their style is a mix of metalcore, goth, and emo, with an energetic frontwoman (Ash Costello) who can work the stage and get the crowd to interact. The rapport form the crowd diminished the further you moved away from the scene and many seemed to react only at the start of the songs when the riffs and double kick drums kick-started each song. A high point of the set was the Pantera cover they performed of the song “Fucking Hostile”. Many joined in and responded better to the invitations from the singer.
As mentioned before, the night was an invitation to join In This Moment and Stone Sour as they presented part of their “family”, but at times the whole set by the two opening bands seemed like one of those Youtube ads you are not able to close and just have to sit through it with no choice if you want to enjoy the main acts. Some parts of those ads are enjoyable, but the length of it makes it less so.
As each band passed, layers of the stage were peeled to reveal more of the scene and a different setup for the next group. Wait times in between each band were around 20 minutes and passed somewhat slowly, but it was all well lubricated by lots of beer, conversation, and background music.
One of those background songs was cut abruptly just before In This Moment got on stage, people were singing to “Don’t Stop Believing” thinking that there was more time left to go before the band got on stage but the song got cut midway into the chorus, and it turned out that this was part of the show, a segway into lights being turned off and the epic intro starting to play.
One by one the members of the band led by Maria Brink started appearing on stage, on which a big white round center canvas that served as a screen surrounded by two white inflatable horns. Through the center canvas, emerged Maria along with two women in masks.
The center canvas would later serve as a projection screen for the images of fire, thunder, and extracts from the various video clips of the songs that were being played that night on stage. Song after song the show got better: the theatrics of it, the projections, the change of wardrobe and the musicians’ skills made the whole experience more than worth it, and high bar for other bands to beat.
Maria’s presence on scene along with the accompanying mise-en-scène reminded me of Lady Gaga and that, I think, is one of the best compliments I can think of a heavy metal act. Metal could use a figure like her to keep the blood and creativity flowing in the scene.
Finally, it was Stone Sour’s turn to present themselves after a 10-year absence from their last visit to the city during the conjunct tour they did with Evanescence. Seeing Corey Taylor without a mask and surrounded by only four people, his charisma was instantly noticeable as he approached the center of the stage, greeting everyone and smiling always.
The whole backdrop of the stage was a wall of bright lights, blinding almost. After apologizing for having abandoned Montreal for so long, he went on to invite everyone to let themselves go, establish the spirit of rock and roll. Just go out and have a good time!
Everything about the show made it memorable and a perfect display of the power, originality and a sure legacy of this band. All the hits were delivered cleanly, with such emotion and fanfare that it made it easy to stay up late at night and headbang and sing to the lyrics of “Through Glass,” “Song #3”, “Absolute Zero” and ten others.
All in all, the night started out in a strange place, listening to two new bands for what felt like a long time, but it ended perfectly raising the bar for what future metal shows should and can be.
In This Moment
River of Fire
Big Bad Wolf
In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins cover)
Sick Like Me
Taipei Person / Allah Tea
Knievel Has Landed
Made of Scars
Say You’ll Haunt Me
Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I)
Do Me a Favor
Review – Ricardo D. Flores
Photos – Kieron Yates
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