On this cold Sunday night, I had two choices: stay home, enjoy a hot chocolate under the sheets and watch Netflix, or go see August Burns Red and other great bands! I guess you can easily figure out which one I picked.
The night started off with Wage War, a metalcore band from Ocala, Florida. Even if the venue was quite empty as I made my way in during their first song, the band played as if they were headlining in front of a packed venue. Playing songs from their debut album Blueprints, such as “Alive”, “The River”, “Young Blood” and “Twenty One”, the band got the crowd pumped: some were already jumping all over the place and ready to mosh hard. I was first introduced to them while checking out the Fearless Records YouTube channel and I was looking forward seeing them live since they really impressed me with the few songs I got to listen to. I was not disappointed at all and I regret more people weren’t there when they started their set, I believe they missed out on something great! I advise you to check out their album Blueprints that was recently released, as they recorded it with the one and only Jeremy McKinnon from A Day To Remember.
Next up was the fast rising instrumental quartet known as Polyphia, from Texas. It was the first time I was seeing an instrumental band live and it was a bit odd at first as I was waiting for lyrics for the first two songs and then understood it wouldn’t happen. I didn’t know the band at all and it was a really nice surprise. When I saw them making their way on stage, they looked like one of those high school bands that would cover one of their favourite bands during a talent show. Thing is, those kids came up with their own, and excuse my French here, fucking great music, and they make it sound insanely good. Guitarists Scott Lepage and Tim Henson delighted us with mind blowing guitar solos. They had such dexterity, I couldn’t stop staring at their guitars and wonder “How?”, and after a few minutes asking myself if I will ever be able to have a tenth of their talent. I decided to just enjoy the music. Their set was purely amazing, I really enjoyed the songs “87”, “Transcend” and the last song, “Finale”. The only regret I have about them is that they were a bit too much into their own world but I guess it’s pretty understandable. By the end of their set, I was craving for songs with lyrics though, and lots of energy through the voice: Stick To Your Guns delivered.
It was my third time seeing Stick To Your Guns live. The first time was when they were opening for The Story So Far last year, and the second time was earlier this year when they were actually headliners. Their live performance always blew me away, and that night, it wasn’t any different, it might actually have been even better. Vocalist Jesse Barnett is a beast on stage, jumping everywhere, and having such a powerful voice. The band started with “Against Them All” from their 2012 album Diamond that set the tone for the rest of their set. Next was “Empty Heads”, a barn burner for the crowd. “You say fuck the world, we say fuck you!” could be heard in unison throughout the whole venue. Stick To Your Guns also played “Such Pain” from Diamonds, “Nothing You Can Do To Me” from their latest album Disobedient, but also the perfect “Amber”. After reiterating their love for Montreal, the singer asked from his fans the biggest circle pit ever. It ended up being pretty crazy, I loved it. Overall, Stick To Your Guns was amazing as always, and will definitely remain one of my favourite bands to see live.
Every Time I Die was next. The metalcore band straight from Buffalo, New York has been around for 17 years already and hasn’t lost its energy despite the years. They opened their set with “Moor”, taken from From Parts Unknown, their latest opus released back in 2014. Perfect song to open with as it slowly takes you more and more into the band’s world. Don’t worry though, once they started to go hard, they didn’t stop, at all. They might have stopped playing about one minute during the entire set: they were going from one song to another without any pause. I have no idea how they managed to get that high level of energy going during the whole set but it was impressive and the crowd loved it! Many people tried to crowdsurf but unfortunately the security was pushing them back into the crowd, which is not the best or safest in my opinion but anyway… The band played many of their classics such as “Floater”, “We’rewolf”, “Ebolarama”, “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” and last but not least, “Bored Stiff”. Bonus thought: Andy Williams’ moustache was glorious. Their set was quite memorable and I hope I’ll have the opportunity to see them live again.
August Burns Red closed the night. The band everyone was waiting for finally made their way on stage, as their fans were cheering and clapping, waiting for an exciting set to start. The whole crowd was on fire, the moshpit started to go crazy right during the first song “Martyr”, taken from their latest album Found In Far Away Places. On top of all that craziness, the music was loud and the lights could’ve given you an epileptic seizure. What else would you want from such a spectacular performance? Yes, definitely no regret leaving my warm apartment to spend my evening seeing those guys. “Provision”, taken from Rescue & Restore was next, followed by “Back Burner”, from their 2007’s album Messengers. I didn’t know August Burns Red much before the show as I am more into less violent metalcore bands I guess, but the best thing about this band is the fact that you don’t need to know the music to enjoy yourself, at all. The band has amazing stage presence, especially their vocalist, Jake Luhrs. He was like a real machine, belting out entire verses without even having to take a breath. August Burns Red also played some of their most well-known songs such as “Carol of The Bells”, “Composure”, “Meddler” and “Empire”. The band finished off their set with “Frosty the Snowman” (a Gene Autry cover I believe) and “Fault Line”, from the album Rescue & Restore.
I truly believe metalcore and hardcore fans enjoyed that evening at Montreal’s Metropolis as much as I did. A memorable night with memorable bands doing what they love most: making music and making their fans happy. As it was my first show since the Paris attacks happened, I can’t help but think about all the victims from the Bataclan (and every other victim of terrorism) who died when all they wanted to do was having an evening like I just did at the Metropolis: have a great time, forget about life outside the venue, and simply enjoy their lives. May they rest in peace, they won’t be forgotten. And to everyone, wherever you may be, continue to live your life, don’t be afraid, enjoy it, go to shows, and rock on!
Review – Maxime Lehuidoux
Photos – Jason Hughes