High Vis + Puffer + Béton Armé @ Bar le Ritz

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A high-octane evening of punk was ahead of us as a massive crowd stood in line to enter the Ritz for local punk heavyweights Béton Armé, Puffer and post-punk sensations from the UK High Vis. This show was originally supposed to be at L’Escogriffe, but due to the insane demand, it was moved to the slightly bigger Le Ritz. As soon as I stepped into the venue, I knew this was going to be a special evening as the venue was packed, and the excitement could be felt.

Once again, being a local scene amateur, I was familiar with Béton Armé and Puffer but less so with the international band. Despite them being local Montréal bands, I had never had the opportunity to catch these bands live. I was very enthused to be able to experience these up-and-coming bands for the first time.

Béton Armé opened the show to a very hyped crowd with their fan favourite, “Au Bord du Gouffre.” The energy in the room was intense as the crowd sang along to the chorus with frontman Dan. Béton Armé plays a classic style of Oi punk sung entirely in French. Fists were pumping in the air throughout their set as they played material spanning their short discography. My personal favourites were the classic “Hypocrite,” the new single “L’union fait la force,” and “Crucifié.” The crowd sang along to their anthemic brand of punk as they moshed and danced in the pit. Even those who were unfamiliar with the band joined in the easy-to-follow contagious chants in the songs. Béton Armé is a force to be reckoned with and should be on your list to see live.

Puffer released their 2022 demo “To Live and Die in the City” to critical acclaim, and it has been in constant rotation for me over the last year. The band exploded on stage with frenzied energy as they played their rock and roll-infused punk hardcore. It was a sight to behold as bodies were flying off the stage into the crowd, and everyone in attendance went wild. The energy of the band as they danced around on stage was a sight to behold. The charismatic vocals jumped around from one side of the stage to the other as the crowd was moshing around the tightly packed venue. My personal highlight was when they played Suffering as the crowd was singing along. The hype for Puffer is real, and if you haven’t checked them out yet, please do. We may only be in April, but this might be one of the best live performances I will get to witness all year.

High Vis from the UK were the headliner. I had taken the opportunity to listen to them a few times prior to the show, but it was a bit too soft for my musical taste. I was quite surprised when they took the stage with an energy level that matched the previous bands. Despite the music being more in the post-punk/alternative rock style, they felt like a pure punk band live. The charismatic Graham Sayle had the crowd entranced as he sang and screamed his thoughtful and touching lyrics to a frenzied audience who jumped around. I was personally captivated by bassist Rob Moss as he played his fantastic bassline. They played a short but powerful set featuring such standouts as Trauma Bonds, Altitude and Choose to Lose.

I had come to support our amazing local scene but quickly fell in love with High Vis. They gave us a fantastic emotional performance that will not be forgotten soon.

Many thanks to Blue Skies Turn Black for putting on the show and upgrading the venue to a higher capacity for the Montreal music enthusiasts to see all these amazing bands.

Review and photos – Jason Maher

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