Lagwagon + Red City Radio @ Club Soda – 14 December 2021

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After a long tedious wait night had finally come, Lagwagon had returned to one of their favourite cities for two sold-out punk rock evenings at Club Soda. I have to admit, I had no idea what to expect and could hardly contain my excitement just to be going to a concert again. 

The venue was already packed for the opening band from Oaklahoma, Red City Radio. With our deprivation of live events, people were not taking a second for granted. 

Giving us Blaze, their sixth studio album in full, we were in for a treat. A favourite part of their live shows is everyone singing in unison almost louder than the band and this time around it was in perfect harmony. Everyone including the band had plenty of time to brush up on their singing skills.

It wasn’t just me that agreed that this was the tightest and best they’ve ever played. With a very strong bond with our city, they’ve always been almost overwhelmed by how much support they get from our audiences. Let’s not forget, Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape has a song on one of his solo records named “Montreal” – not Toronto or New York, nor Boston or Halifax. Cape and his musical brothers truly adore their time spent here in Montreal, and while many musicians blow smoke to whatever crowd they happen to be in on any given night, it always feels honest when it’s Joey Cape at the microphone.

Red City Radio played to a filled room, which usually isn’t the case when it comes to our fine city. Typically, the crowd grows as the roster advances, and it is only for the headlining acts that the venue is filled. Perhaps the time off we’ve all suffered through has people hungry for live music again. Maybe people are no longer taking things as granted. 

Despite the capacity crowd, many thought it more important to chat instead of pay attention to the stage. Again, probably a side-effect of not having been out on the town for so long, and seeing faces they hadn’t seen in quite some time. Understandable, I suppose. Rude, but understandable. 

Lagwagon seemed more focused than on previous visits and were really tight with their playing. Playing their Blaze in full, in order, took a little under forty minutes – slightly less than the physical album itself, and the audience was gifted a following four more songs on top of it. “After You”, “Bombs Away”, fan favourite “Violins” and “Bye For Now”. 

The guys left the stage, but an encore was never in doubt, as their roadies remained behind to tune guitars. Cap returned alone, with an acoustic guitar strapped to him, and strummed out “Kids”, before the rest of the band came back to play “May 16th” and “Razor”. This time, as they walked off, it was for good. Until tomorrow at least, where they would do it all over again, playing their Double Platinum album instead of Blaze.

It felt strange to be in a live music setting again, but great as well. And to be leaving a venue at 10:40 pm too, seemed like the night was still young. How good it is to feel a taste of normality once again. 

Review – Samantha Morris

Photos – Kieron Yates

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