The last time The Interrupters played this room back in 2017 I mentioned how it felt like my personal induction into the Interrupters family. Well, tonight is the family reunion! After the breakout year of 2018 which saw them appear on Jimmy Kimmel in LA, and then rush back to play an incendiary set at ’77 here in Montreal the very next day, it feels amazing to be right back to where we started 15 months previously. And Club Soda is certainly more packed this time around; later in the show the band explain that this was the first show to sell out on the entire North American tour, weeks in advance of tonight, so the punks are packed in like sardines for what will surely be the bands last time in a venue so small.
Shortly after a huge roar greets the unfurling of the band’s stage backdrop, the lights drop and the customary stage-entrance anthem of Ghost Town by The Specials blares out. The three Bivona brothers (Kevin, Justin, and Jesse) bounce out on stage and begin busting out a ska jam before Amy arrives on stage and the show ignites with A Friend Like Me. By My Side sets off the
Kevin begins heaping praise on the crowd soon after, explain how good it is to back with us, and how Montreal is one of their favourite cities on earth (and have admitted to as much in interviews away from here!). He then asks “this next song is about a girl. What happened to her Amy?” Amy responds by starting the opening vocal line “She Got Arrested / For shooting down her man!” and inciting the heaving pit into a skank as they breeze through She Got Arrested. This Is The New Sound is a very dub departure, ending with a huge rumbling bass breakdown courtesy of Brian and his wandering basslines.
Title Holder, from the newest Fight The Good Fight record in introduced as a fight song, not against each other, but against internal struggles like addiction or depression. Despite its serious subject matter, its an uplifting anthem, and as the ska riffs fizz out, I find myself blazing a few ska moves of my own on the balcony. As I’m bouncing my arms up and down alternately, kinda like that tomahawk chop Kansas City Chiefs fans do (but faster), Amy spots me and mimics it in perfect time!
After a huge trombone solo from the mysterious fifth Interrupter on stage during Babylon (later revealed to be Billy Kottage from Reel Big Fish!) merges seamlessly into Treat The Youth Right, the band tease the crowd with the promise of a cover by a Bay Area band. They play the opening 30 seconds (or thereabouts) to Rancid’s Time Bomb, Metallica’s Enter Sandman, NOFX’s Linoleum, and Green Day’s When I Come Around (all sung along with great gusto by the crowd), before finally playing the opening bars to the epic Sound System by Operation Ivy. After Jenny Drinks follows Good Things and Kevin’s huge guitar solo front and centre of the stage, Kevin proclaims “I can’t believe it’s a Wednesday, you guys are partying like it’s a Friday or a Saturday!”
Room With A View, from the new record, is explained to be about losing a loved one, and Kevin goes on to say “our hearts are with the punk community of Montreal, who lost one of their own this week” (in reference to Marie Starlet Lavigne, tragically killed in an accident while touring in France). The tribute visibly moves Amy, who wipes tears away from her eyes on more than one occasion throughout the song. It’s a poignant, solemn moment, and a moving tribute to Marie.
A little later, the band lists all their past shows in Montreal, in order for the crowd to cheer for whichever ones they attended (impressive that they still remember all of these…) before they launch into the anthemic On A Turntable, complete with its resonant “OOOH OOOH OOOOH” chorus. It sounds gigantic when 900 people are doing it! Brian enlightens us with his stadium rock fantasy at this point of the show, explaining how they would usually leave the stage, then he would come back alone, and “Tommy Lee would descend from the rafters on a hidden piano, but the spotlight would be on me!” All the while, he plays Home Sweet Home by Mötley Crüe, which is again, sung along to with enormous enthusiasm!
After Got Each Other, the band remarks on how many kids are in the audience (“you guys are awesome parents!”), and its true, there are tons. It’s a real mixed crowd, ranging from the old heads who were clearly doing this when ska broke through, to the very small kids with industrial ear protectors (though obviously, the latter are kept well away from the heaving floor area!). Clearly, The Interrupters are appealing across generational boundaries! 2 small girls are invited onto the stage for the next song, as Kevin introduces it as the “song that changed our lives a year ago,” and was the reason for the Jimmy Kimmel appearance last year. She’s Kerosene subsequently tears the roof off Club Soda, and the 2 little girls dance around the stage throwing skank shapes with the band (and one of which sings every single word of the song!).
After a brief reprise of A Friend Like Me, Family closes out the show for good after 80 stellar minutes, with an effusive “we love you so much, welcome to the family!” Yep, The Interrupters family just got even bigger tonight. And the band are genuinely keen to welcome them; as the lights go up, they stay around on stage, giving out set lists, drum sticks, and guitar picks to as many as they can reach, before Amy goes even further, jumping into the crowd to pose for selfies.
If only all family reunions were this much fun!
A Friend Like Me
By My Side
Take Back the Power
She Got Arrested
This Is the New Sound
Haven’t Seen the Last of Me
Treat The Youth Right
Easy on You
(Rancid’s Time Bomb, Metallica’s Enter Sandman, NOFX’s Linoleum, and Green Day’s When I Come Around teases)
Sound System (Operation Ivy cover)
Gave You Everything
Room With a View
On a Turntable
(Mötley Crüe’s Home Sweet Home tease)
Got Each Other
A Friend Like Me (reprise)
Review – Simon Williams
Photos – Kieron Yates