If I was only allowed to go to one show this year, I would now choose ACTORS.
I remember listening to a Darkwave playlist and every now and again, an amazing song would play. I was drawn to see who created the masterpiece, and it was ACTORS.
After a few so-so songs, another stand-out song would play, and then again, ACTORS were the source.
Anyone can buy a canvas and start painting, but it takes an artist to produce a masterpiece.
Actors are a band that sculpt aural works of art, time and time again.
Not only is their work noteworthy in the studio, but these talented musicians can bring their A game to the stage and make a Wednesday evening into a memorable life event.
Jason was nervous about this gig, having fallen off the stage on his last visit to Montreal, with a sparse 40 in the audience.
Let’s just say that the packed crowd could have easily caught him this time.
While I would like to see ACTORS grace a much bigger stage upon their next visit, I selfishly enjoyed seeing them in the intimacy of a full house at La Sala Rossa, where band and fans were one.
Thomas Denux-Parent, who would soon be furiously slapping a bass for The City Gates, was joined by Catherine Roussel who form the band Non-Lieu.
I arrived at the end of their set, but it did seem to set the mood for the evening.
The City Gates
Phil Spector once described a “Wall of Sound”, and The City Gates are the entry way to that wall.
Checkpoint Charlie started us off softly, until we hit that wall with their intensity. The song is about a gatekeeper of Cold War era East & West Berlin.
Maxime Wingender is a historian by day who specializes against right wing movements.
“We are all politics and history addicts”, confesses Maxime as he sends me a picture of a bursting bookshelf.
One story that hits closer to home is Siegfried 1969, which was written by Alexander Leonard Donat (Vlimmer), a friend of the band and sung in German.
Alexander says “the lyrics are about my grandfather who was one of the most famous pianists in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) during the Cold War Era. In the song, I compare the Berlin Wall with his personal life. He recognizes that he tries to shut out people similar to what the Socialist United Party of Germany (SED – the only party option in the GDR).”
It may be hard to relate to a physical wall separating a country, but I think many can relate to the walls we tend to construct to seemingly protect ourselves, blocking out the good and the bad. When we are successful in tearing down those walls, then we are no longer isolated from the good that can come from trusting the right people.
Behind the Shoegaze and noise is some intellectual messages that reinforces the band’s stand on equality for all races and genders.
The result was a heavy bass line, furious drumming and duelling guitars that filled Le Sala Rossa with atmosphere.
The crowd was digging the vibe as The City Gates played a tight set that was entertaining and powerful along with mesmerizing visuals.
I love it when a band has a certain look and vibe to them.
Towering Jason Corbett (vocals/guitar) takes front and center, flanked by Kendall Wooding (bass) and Shannon Hemmett (keys) who can only be described as too cool for school, college, and university.
The backbone of the band is Adam Fink on drums who plays with an expression of pure bliss.
They started the night with the first track off the new album Acts of Worship. Love U More, instantly attached its marionette strings to our communal feet and got the room to dance within seconds.
Next was Like Suicide which describes being in a toxic relationship where there is a feeling of having no way out.
Only Lonely had a huge vibe of Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry and the dancing simply didn’t let up.
L’Appel Du Vide off the It Will Come to You album took it up a notch and La Sala Rossa was reveling in the older songs along with Slaves with that distinctive guitar strumming.
P T L (Post Traumatic Love) took us even farther back to 2012. I think we all feel some sort of Post-Traumatic Stress from the last few years. For a few hours, we forgot all of that and just celebrated with the music as if years of stress was being released back to the universe.
Strangers, Obsession & Killing Time (Is Over) showcased some of the newer songs.
Don’t Have to Dance…sorry Jason…we can’t help it.
The place went wild for the last song of the set Face Meets Glass, the song that makes all the Post-Punk/Darkwave playlists.
All of La Sala Rosa was jumping like we were barefoot on hot sand.
After a ravenous crowd demanded an encore, the band came back with a pair of songs.
How Deep is the Hole off the 2022 Reanimated EP and Bury Me which allowed us to get any last ounce of energy out on the dancefloor.
The charming aspect of ACTORS is that they are all-in when it comes to the fans. All members came out to sign vinyl, CD’s (including the amazing Leathers project) and took pictures with fans.
This was by far, one of the best gigs of the year.
Writer: Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. His Podcast RockStar Today helps musicians quit their day jobs with out-of-the-box advice from Ted Talk Speakers, Best Selling Authors and other interesting Entrepreneurs and Creatives. He created the Rock Star Today Music Business Jam Session for musicians. Randal is a collector of signed vinyl, cassettes and CDs.
Photos: Randal Wark. Taken from my crappy iPhone.Share this :