Scowl + Militarie Gun + MSPAINT + Spite House @ la Sala Rossa

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It was a packed house for the return of one of the hottest bands in hardcore right now Scowl at la Sala Rossa. This was their first headlining show in Montreal, and the show was completely sold out. The line-up was stacked with exciting new bands that are garnering attention in the hardcore scene and outside of it.

The first band to step on stage were local veterans Spite House. They were the perfect band to open this lineup with their grungy, hardcore-influenced sound. The band offered a charismatic performance of post-hardcore that is very reminiscent of Title Fight. Their vocalist and guitarist Max blends aggression and melody in his delivery to create a moody and melodic soundscape. They played a fantastic set and I wanted to hear more of them.  If you are a fan of rock, alt-rock or post-hardcore, I suggest you check out their self-titled album. With such talented local bands in Montreal, it is very easy to support our local scene.

I am not often caught by surprise by a band, but MSPAINT was a highlight of the evening. As I returned from outside for a breath of fresh air, they had already started their set. I sneaked my way through the packed crowd to the front of the stage, and to my surprise, there was no guitarist. MSPAINT is a four-piece from Mississippi that is a genre-bending experience to witness. They mix rock, hardcore, harsh electronics and new wave into something unique. There is no other band that sounds like MSPAINT. The singer was an absolute beast on stage, jumping around and captivating the crowd’s attention. The heavy bass sound laden with all sorts of strange effects combined with the half-electronic/half-rock drums with the electronics and synths layered over was absolute madness. They played songs off their newest 2023 album, “Post-American”. They were joined on stage by Militaire Gun vocalist Ian for their performance of their single Delete it. MSPAINT got the crowd moving as people started dancing and moshing. In my honest opinion, they stole the show and were my most memorable band of the evening.

Militaire Gun is another band that seems to be gaining more and more attention. Our team did an interview with them recently; I suggest you check it out. The band hit the stage and you could feel their connection with the crowd. They focused on their newest album, “Life Under the Gun,” and played some older fan favourites. They opened the set with their new single “Do it Faster,” which is featured on the NHL 24 video game soundtrack. After a few songs, they played my personal favourite, “Pressure Cooker,” which features such a fantastic and memorable chorus that invites you to sing along.

All throughout the set, fans were jumping up and down constantly and singing along to every word, feeding the band with energy. They even went back to some of their older material, like “Don’t Pick Up the Phone.” The band was energetic and charismatic, and their set just seemed too short. We all were left wanting more, and I just can’t wait for their next tour.

The hype was palpable in the room as everyone was waiting for Scowl. In the last year, Scowl has blown up and has been everywhere. You might have discovered them on their Taco Bell ad, or you saw the video of their performance at the Sonic Drive-Thru, or you saw them open for Limp Bizkit, or you are a scene veteran and you saw them open for Touche Amore.

Wasting no time, they opened the set with an aggressive fan favourite, “Bloodhound,” off their breakthrough album “How Flowers Grow, “ and the crowd erupted immediately into a huge mosh pit. We were then treated to “Shot Down” from their newest EP. It did not take long for the usual hardcore madness to ensue in the room as bodies were flying off the stage and piling onto each other to sing along.

Vocalist and fashion icon Kat showed off her dance moves as they launched into their newest hit, “Psychic Dance Routine,” and the crowd loved every minute of it. She sang and danced and held everyone’s attention. The set moved on and the crowd enjoyed every minute of it as they danced and sang along. They took a small pause and Kat and the band knew that the next one was a special song that they don’t play very often, and they launched into the mellow “Seeds to Sow”. They followed that up with one of their much older songs, “Retail Hell,” which is a fan-favourite anthem about working a retail job.

The set winded down as the band finished up with their last two hits from the latest EP “Sold Out” and “Opening Night”. Scowl was fantastic, and this will be a memorable night to all who had the opportunity to attend this sold-out show. If you didn’t get the chance, I am sure Scowl will be back soon.

Thank you to Good Shows for inviting the Montreal Rocks team and for organizing this great evening of music.

Review – Jason Maher

Photos – Ryan Rumpel

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