The number of photographers at this show was TOO DAMN HIGH! With eight to ten photographers at a small venue not adapted to such an enormous number of people on the media list, it seemed quite ridiculous to me.
Most people were sitting and enjoying a few drinks during the first band’s performance. The all-girl band Nobro delighted us with a really garage punk rock sound coming straight from Montreal (support Local music, guys!). The three ladies on stage played songs of their own such as “Tell Me Your Name”, “Tequila” or “Coming Back Home”, that you can listen to on their Bandcamp page.
With a sound inspired by bands such as Royal Trux, The Damned and Jay Reatard, the band enchanted the crowd through nifty guitar riffs and solos and an energetic performance, especially by bassist, Kathryn, and drummer, Martha, while guitarist, Marianna, seemed to be a little bit too much in her own world. Overall, their performance was good even if some might say that their sound might be a little bit redundant.
After patiently waiting thirty long minutes, Danko Jones got on stage. It was time to rock people’s socks off! All the photographers were back next to the stage, blocking the crowd’s view for a few songs… The band members were wearing simple black outfits, and their name wasn’t even appearing on the drum set. They kept it clean and simple.
Before even starting, Danko told us about how Montreal is a big city and how they’ve been asked to play over the weekend, preferably on a Friday or Saturday night, but the band wasn’t down for it! No, they wanted the hardcore Rock’n’Rollers to show up, those who don’t care that it’s a Wednesday night, those who care even less about Thursday morning at work! Danko even admitted that this type of crowd scared “the living shit out of” him. He even asked us to boo the band, before adding “We should play in a small room. We deserve it. Fuck the big rooms”.
The band started their set with “Who Got It”, taken from their compilation album, Garage Rock! – A Collection of Lost Songs from 1996-1998, with a really New Wave of British Heavy Metal spirit that knew exactly how to wake up the crowd from this long break. “Sugar Chocolate” was next to smack us right in the face, with power and style! The band also played the great “Play The Blues” that contains somewhat retrogressive lyrics that some might not appreciate much: “If you wanna know how to play the blues, get yourself a woman”, before taking a quick break.
The band played three to four songs in a row without any break during their whole set, and I must say I loved it, and the whole crowd didn’t want their performance to stop either! I kind of felt sorry for the drummer after the first three songs as he really couldn’t catch a break and had to maintain a quick pace nonstop. Good job, Mr. Knox!
During the first break, Danko Jones revealed his ego (that we love and respect!), saying that they were accepting all waves of compliments coming from the crowd. The band went on with two of my favourites songs from them: “Forget My Name” and “Do You Wanna Rock?”, taken from 2003’s We Sweat Blood and from their latest album Fire Music. Danko delighted us with a sparkle in his eye and the most hyperactive tongue I’ve ever seen during his performance on stage. “Had Enough”, a punk-metal killer song with a great opening riff and a killer chorus thrilled the audience right after, and there was one sure thing: we haven’t had enough of them at that point!
While talking another time to their fans, the band added that Montreal was the city where they actually had their first rock show as a band, and that they were happy to be back! Who doesn’t love our city anyway?! Next was the very catchy “First Date”, a wonderful sing along taken from Sleep Is The Enemy, followed by “Sugar High” and “Watch You Slide”.
Since people did not seem to recognize the first three chords of the song “Code Of The Road”, Danko asked them to pretend they knew it… before starting this mid-tempo rocker song, with simple chord progressions, an anthemic chorus as well as heavy and grooving guitar riffs that the crowd enjoyed. The show went on with a song dedicated to the female form, and more particularly their “Legs”, a gloriously stupid but effective song with a great singalong chorus. Continuing with love, sex, and the disappointment from both, the band played “The Twisting Knife” and “Invisible”, songs with obscure lyrics, with punky sing-along energy coming from them.
The band was on fire during their whole set, and Danko Jones was sweating more than ever for us! Most photographers stopped taking pictures at that point but he asked them to “take that shit on camera” because he was “about to give [them] fucking gold”! He definitely wanted pictures of him taken that night. As a result of that, a fan went on stage to take a selfie with him… but her phone died right before she could take a picture! Well, I guess that’s what you get when you try to play the smartass in front of a crowd! Luckily for her, another fan gave her his phone and she was able to take that selfie with Danko, with bassist John Calabrese and drummer Rich Knox trying to sneak in the picture. Right after the picture was taken, the woman dropped the phone on stage… Let’s hope for that good Samaritan that his phone is fine!
As Danko mentioned right after that he was “sweating his balls off” he also added that he “didn’t say [he] wanted it to stop” when he felt that the air conditioning started, before telling the person in charge to “Save it for acoustic bands” and that it was a cheater’s way to perform. He also added that if the crowd wasn’t seeing sweat going down his face, he wasn’t doing his job well enough. Don’t worry Danko, you were covered in sweat and your performance was more Rock’n’Roll than ever!
The next two songs were (once again) about sex and women, recurrent themes in the band’s discography. We had the pleasure to see them perform “Bounce”, taken from My Love Is Bold and “Lovercall” taken from Born A Lion. The last song before the encore was “Gonna Be A Fight Tonight”, the official anthem for the WWE Royal Rumble 2015, and it was banging!
Unfortunately, at that point of the night it was almost the end of the show. The crowd wasn’t fully satisfied with their performance yet, they definitely wanted more, and so did I! The band delivered with three outstanding songs live: “Full Of Regret”, “Cadillac” and “Bring On The Mountain (Become The Mountain)”, the last one being taken from the band’s first official DVD.
At the end of the night, despite way less opening bands than what I’m used to in the rock scene (only one!), Danko Jones knocked my socks off and their performance made me love the band all over again like when I discovered them in 2003 with “Forget My Name”. They bring a real energy and will to perform well on stage and we can be thankful to have them in a small venue like Petit Campus while many other amazing rock bands decide to skip our lovely city.
Who Got It?
Play the Blues
Forget My Name
Do You Wanna Rock
Watch You Slide
Code of the Road
The Twisting Knife
Gonna Be a Fight Tonight
Full of Regret
Bring on the Mountain (Become the Mountain)
Review – Maxime Le Huidoux
Photos – Kieron Yates