Drug Church @ Bar le Ritz – 23 March 2022

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There was a lot of excitement in the air as heavy punk and hardcore music aficionados packed the tiny Le Ritz club on a Wednesday night. We were in for quite a treat as Drug Church never disappoints live.

Lurk, a five-piece hardcore influence post-punk band from Chigaco, opened the show. Like many in the crowd, I was unfamiliar with their sound. I was pleasantly surprised by their infectious groovy riffs and memorable choruses. Their ability to meld together a hardcore attitude with grunge-punk riffs was impressive. The tempo and the style were constantly shifting leaving all those in attendance interested. After a short set filled to the brim with attitude and anthemic choruses, the crowd was satisfied. Their track “Pressure Point” was my definite highlight. I strongly recommend a listen to their latest album “Around the Sun” on Pure Noise Records.

Next up on stage was Soul Blind from New York. The four-piece plays a heavier modernized version grunge.  From the first notes, the guitarists were offering a sleuth of heavy moshy riffs combined with a soft vocal but intense delivery by bassist/singer Cen. Though not being a hardcore or punk band, they bring the attitude of the scene with them. The crowd was dancing and moshing as they played on their heavy riffs reminiscent of bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Alice in Chains. My standout track was “Crawling into you” off their 2019 Promo album. A solid performance by Soul Blind and I am quite sure they gained many new fans during this tour. I am excited to see them live once again.

The excitement was growing quite palpable as One Step Closer was next to play. The melodic hardcore band from Pennsylvania released one of the best hardcore records of 2021. “This Place You know” on Run for Cover records has received rave reviews and the fans in attendance were ready to mosh. As soon as the first notes rang, bodies were flying over all our heads as people couldn’t help themselves from stage diving. No one could stand in place as their brand of melodic emotional hardcore made everyone in attendance want to dance. The crowd sang along with the band creating an intense level of energy. They played a short but powerful set with many crowd favourites like “Pringle Street”, “I Feel So” and “Chrysanthemum” off their debut album. Their vocalist Ryan gave us a raw and emotional performance that we will not forget.

Last but certainly not least, the mighty Drug Church was ready to have a lot of fun with the Montreal crowd. From the start, vocalist Patrick Kindlon instructed the audience to squeeze together to be able to catch all the bodies that were about to start flying. They opened their performance with “Grubby” off their breakout 2018 album “Cheer”. The crowd was in a frenzy and the level of energy in the room was surreal. Drug Church were on tour promoting their new album “Hygiene”. We got to hear a few of the new tracks like “Fun’s Over”, “Tiresome” and “Million Miles of Fun”. 

The crowd was whipped into a frenzy with Drug Church’s unique brand of hardcore punk so much that an audience member climbed on stage and demonstrated his affection for the show by kissing the singer. The world of punk music can be a bit of a crazy place!

The raw harmonies and unforgettable hooks were being enjoyed by all in attendance as people were moshing, singing along and stage diving. They ended their set with their biggest song “Weed Pin”. They offered an energetic and enthusiastic performance that will be remembered by all. 

My only complaint despite it being a fantastic show is that the setlist was more focused on their more recent material.  Sadly, no songs were played off the fantastic 2013 album “Paul Walker”, a personal favorite of mine.

As the show finished up, people where hanging out in front of the venue and everyone was all smiles after the evening. Another great show put on by Extensive Enterprise!

March for the Montreal Rocks crew has been very busy! Check out this playlist of all the standout tracks I caught live.

Review – Jason Maher

Photos – Ema Riot

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