Talk-Sick’s Going Away Show, January 22 2016
Montreal’s local scene always has something to offer. Be it bands, interesting people or the mostly pleasant staff at the mostly pleasant bars, a night out in downtown Montreal is always a pleasantly gonzo experience. That being said, the night in question was nothing out of the ordinary. The venue was St. Denis’ Exit Bar, owned by Québecois singer Eric Lapointe. Erroneously advertised as “Pike’s [Bassist and self-proclaimed yeller of Talk-Sick] Going Away Show,” many concert goers and fans arrived slightly confused. Fear not though, Pike himself was there to decree that:
“At no point in time did we ever say this is our last show, the reality is I absolutely am moving from the province and [I’m] going to go live with my wife in her home town”.
Talk-Sick fans rejoice. A slew of other bands and musicians came to celebrate the misleading event in a frenzy of punk rock, power failures and whatever other genres were thrown into the mix. The lineup consisted of solo artist and Montreal fixture Howard St. Roy, newcomers Depwine, the ever aggressive Rat Patrol, the energetic Manipulated Outcome and of course the gracious headliners, Talk-Sick.
Howard St-Roy took the stage first in a calm but confident fashion. Before even his first tune he was having a good time exchanging banter with the audience and shitting on the Raiders. His first song started off with a 90’s Pop-Punk (if it’s legal to say that word) kind of vibe with some Ska influences. Charming songs that were nice and from what I could tell, semi-autobiographical. What impressed me most about Howard was his showmanship and his clear dedication to his craft. I see Howard as a performer with musical aspects to his act. For example, during his second song there was some kind of power failure which rendered his amplified acoustic guitar virtually inaudible from any more than 15 feet away. Nevertheless, Howard continued the show from the pit as if nothing had even happened. Truly something to look up to. His voice blew out too and he still kept singing remarking “I sound like fucking Mickey Mouse”. All in all, an off night for Howard but a very enjoyable performance nonetheless.
Unfortunately, our photographer got there too late to take any pictures of Howard’s performance, so you’ll just have to catch him live at his next gig.
The Doom Metal influenced Depwine was the next act. The band consisted of Thomas Papakostas on guitar, Toby Gee from Cuntagious on vocals, Nate Newton on drums and Mosquito Mike, lead singer of the Barrel Heads on bass. The five month old super-group-of-sorts played a tight set with short, to the point tunes and some groovy riffs for the mix. As a band, Depwine plays a genre which doesn’t interest me too much, with musicians who do (and I’m not just saying that ‘cause they’re my friends). I can always dig bands that can jam, and really make shit up on the spot, and still be in sync with another. Not to say they didn’t have structured songs which they have rehearsed , but rather that they could as musicians take it beyond those initial structures. So to remark on each band member individually as a musician, I’d say Toby had great stage presence and nice screaming vocals, Thomas had good articulation in the riffs he was playing, Mike’s got soul, man, and Nate has solid time. Enough of the love-fest, let’s get on with the rest of the bands.
Rat Patrol succeeded Depwine and well too. While I thought Depwine had short songs, Rat Patrol started their set with a crazed approximately one minute number. Although I admit, I hate describing a band’s sound, it’s part of the job and Rat Patrol fit well into the Hardcore Punk genre by which they define themselves (according to their Facebook page). Speaking of their Facebook page, I didn’t end up interviewing Rat Patrol that night (as I think Pierre Elliot Trudeau said once “shit happens”) so the info I have about them is solely from that source. That being said, on vocals the band had Robocop, on guitar was Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal showed up on bass, and David Hasslehoff did too to play some drums. Mr. Seagal and Mr. Hasslehoff were a fantastic, extremely tight rhythm section which made jokes out of tempos under 160 BPM. Chuck’s guitar playing fit very well in the rhythm section and stayed there for the majority of the bands’ songs. Robocop was interesting as a vocalist with a powerful delivery and hovering stage presence. The tunes kept to a simple but effective plethora of hardcore riffs with interesting start and stop dynamics. Altogether, a tight band but I’m a bit of what the kids call “not hip” and found after a while the songs after the 10th one didn’t stimulate me on an intellectual level. On a visceral one, for sure, which was great and I loved that. It’s just not my favourite genre. Just the way she goes.
The next band to receive affectionate, well mannered criticism is Manipulated Outcome. During set-up the band appealed to me in two ways: The first was their singer and guitarist Tom was shirtless, a sign of a true road-worn, professional Rock ‘n’ Roll musician. The second thing was that their drummer, Ryan, was wearing the BCASA’s (probably the best Montreal local group in my opinion) “Boombastankalous” shirt, a collectible I include in my own wardrobe. The band’s short set contained interesting riffs, the Spongebob closing theme-song, and a good hold on medium and fast tempos. Ivan “the Terrible’s” bass tone I thought was really interestingly placed in the mix. It was somewhat trebly but in the groove, like a punk-rock Chris Squire weirdly enough. Their overall sound was influenced by genres such as Hip-Hop, Crust-Punk and others which Tom said they could talk about “all day”. Altogether, the band had a good energy and good stage presence and put on a good performance.
Finally, the band you were skimming the article to hear me review, Talk-Sick. Interviewing these dudes before their show (I’d like to say this about all the bands too) they came off as real down to Earth guys who really were into putting in effort to make effective music. The boys told me their influences ranged from Oi, to Crust Punk to even purportedly stealing riffs from The Vandals. Like I said, I’m not well versed in these genres but a show is still enjoyable nonetheless. All that to say is the band offered something exciting but not too far out there for me to grasp. As such, their sound reminded me of those videos of early Mastodon when they still had their original vocalist Eric Saner. Maybe an odd connection but it’s that really dirty vibe that comes off from their tunes which I see in early Mastodon. As musicians, guitarists Dorian and Travis played some good rhythm work and nice, short leads. Jesse was the ever-tight drummer and Pike I found was a solid bass player and vocalist. As a band they were well coordinated and well intentioned with good chemistry. As the crowd filled up the floor for their set, Pike reminded everybody that “It’s not our last show you fucking idiots”. Rock ‘n’ Roll at its finest.
All in all every band on the bill exuded professionalism, good musicianship and energy. The over-arching theme that night seemed to be simplicity done right. Each of the groups had a way of making something simple, yet amazing. Good show, good people, good vibes, good night everybody!
More Photos and Videos of the night coming shortly. Stay Tuned!
Reviewer: Egan “the Male Jack Kerouac” Chambers
Photographer: Devan K-M