The Real McKenzies @ Coop Katacombes – 8th March 2018

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Real Mckenzies Montreal

“The Flower of Scotland”

Paul Mckenzie was out in full Scottish regalia last Thursday night. Undeterred, even after getting whopped in the mouth with the mic stand. The Real McKenzies young and old proved themselves, pelting out the stomping tunes without missing a beat. With a trail of blood dripping down his chin, Paul flashed a classic joker’s grimace and wailed right into “They’re Dropping Like Flies,” fist raised in the air chanting out the chorus his fans have come to know and love.

Opening acts Morgan and BOIDS built up the crowd leading into the nefarious Canadian kilt band. Three-pieces BOIDS definitely got the angst level in the crowd raised, asking for a hands-up for anyone who hates their job. However, the energy really began to rise with the appearance of local act Morgan, hailing from Valleyfield, QC. The five-piece punk band really impressed the crowd with their unique variety of…what can only be described as wild banshee-screaming Farm rock. Sporting denim, flannel and a backup percussionist on a washboard, they’re a sight to behold – look out for Morgan performing at this year’s Rock Fest in Montebello QC.

Looking like a senior officer in the Scottish Black-Watch, Paul McKenzie stomped onto the stage. Firing through a few quick numbers, with bagpiper Matt Hawley blaring out the classic west-coast Scottish horns, we quickly got into the scrum center-stage of whirling & moshing McKenzie fans. Paul announced his support for international women’s day, to cheers from the crowd. However later, as one female fan angrily demanded he play “The Flower of Scotland,” the alcohol got the better of Paul, and he lifted up his kilt to show the crowd the sight of a peculiar flower they’d probably just as rather forget.

It was all fun and laughs in the end though, and even as some crowd-surfing fans got a slightly violent landing in the small Katacombes venue, or impacted each other, each time there were dozens of smiling fans that would pick them up, make sure they were alright, and pat them on the back with a grin. Nothing that can’t be cured by another pint.

Paul McKenzie gave us an anecdote from his childhood during a break in the show. Forbidden by his father to attend a rock show in Detroit, that featured the epic lineup of MC5, Alice Cooper, and Iggy Pop, he had the simple choice to stay home and become a cop or a priest, or leave home, never to come back, and become a rock musician. We all know what choice he made, and everyone who got to witness the Real McKenzies that night at Katacombes was thankful he made it.

The Real McKenzies are celebrating their 25th anniversary as a band and will be touring Canada through the Spring, headed west from Montreal.

Look for Morgan performing at RockFest this June in Montebello, QC.

Review and photo – David Loach

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