Astral Gates @ Petit Campus

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On Friday the 12th of November, the stage of Le Petit Campus in Montreal, saw the performance of a Montreal/Toronto-based rock band, Astral Gates.

Dan D’Urbano, Dave Traina, Domenico Carbone, and JJ Guarascio took the stage to launch their two EPs (I & II together). Absent from the ensemble Evan Falcone (yet very much present with his sound and spirit), co-founder of the band together with D’Urbano and part of the original line-up.

Montreal Rocks interviewed the 2 musicians back in 2020, just right after the release of their debut EP I, at the dawn of the launch of their new single Cold Sweat, and when EP II was already in the air (and in the ears). 

We had a long chat about creating music under pandemic, and how to do so remotely (with Falcone already in Toronto). Nevertheless, I was definitely inspired by the tenacity and skills of these two artists that fell in love with the reciprocal sound thus delivering something new yet quite vintage at the same time: soulful rock n’ roll. Fast forward, and the band with the addition of great musicians/professionals found its entire, unique raw soul and, I should add stage presence. 

Therefore, on a Friday night at the sunset of a world pandemic, a full venue assisted to an energetic performance anticipated by a mellow and classy atmosphere set by Funky. What, opening act for the night. Producer, dj, guitar player, creator, dreamer…an artist very difficult to define, he delivered an intense and aesthetically beautiful (kudos to the lighting set up) intro set.

Captured by his rhythms and persona, lost in jazzy/soulish guitar riffs, I could only think about the best Gramatik…ambitious yet very well executed, bravo!

As suddenly awakened from a dreamy atmosphere, Astral Gates came on the scene and it was rock n’ roll all around. Cold Sweat was the opening track and no song ever sounded more appropriate to project the audience into a new sound dimension. To follow, Fire, from EPII where Dan’s guitar was literally on flames, left room for Rock Bottom spiced up by Dave’s stylish touch on the drum and Domenico’s energetic guitar lines. The third track performed is a hymn but also a form of superstition (lol) and it is the first cover of a total of 3 performed by the band: Kravitz’s Rock N’ Roll is Dead. And nothing could have been indeed more wrong on the stage of the Petit Campus on that Friday night!

The other two covers were a song by Queens of the Stone Age, Sat By The Ocean (not surprisingly one of the bands that influenced Astral Gates together with Arctic Monkeys to name a few) and, to illuminate the end with a classy/old-school touch/tribute, Tom Petty’s You Wreck Me before the super sexy, enchanting, and raw Devil in a Silk Dress for the encore.

In the middle, to overheat the atmosphere, pieces from both the Eps, like Where Did you Stay Last Night, My Time, Wait Stay, The Day You Die (explicitly dedicated to Evan Falcone), Get Right, and, to close the main set the last released single of the band Behave

It was a great gift to witness (finally) a live rock concert. And this gift was truly the right one, with the perfect package and extraordinary content. The four owned the stage as it was their perfect habitat making all the attendees satisfied by a great performance: Dan, Dave, Domenico and JJ’s instruments were practically spitting drops of rock n’ roll on the audience making all of us ask for more. The only downside: we had to be seated due to the current health provisions. A special mention goes also to all the staff at the Petit Campus, that although the hard period just passed, they welcomed everyone with warm smiles and professionalism, thank you!

Rock n Roll is NOT dead!!

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