Wallows + Penelope Isles @ Corona Theatre – 29 February 2020

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Wallows in Montreal

The first clue as to just how loud tonight’s crowd is going to be arrives during the set of opener Penelope Isles.  After frontwoman Lily Wolter remarks how today is the most snow she’s seen in her entire life, the shrill screams that resonate in response would suggest that she had said the most profound thing in history.  It’s unquestionably a louder response than most opening bands get on their maiden visit to Montreal!  That’s certainly not to suggest that the reception is unwarranted; exquisite harmonies from all corners of the 4-piece dominate the largely mellow 30-minute set in a manner similar to The Magic Numbers or Warpaint, though the climactic last song is more akin to The War On Drugs!

Penelope Isles

It’s testament to the popularity of headliner Wallows that they could sell out this show so quickly, and they could then add a Matinee show to the schedule on the same day… and easily sell that out too.  Indeed, when Lily asked how many in tonight’s crowd had been at the Matinee show earlier, the crowd roar is deafening!  We find out that some had been here since 7am, too.  Insane.  The screams that greet the dropping of the lights at 9pm are the loudest yet, as one-by-one, the 5-piece enter the stage to gradually construct the moody Do Not Wait under a dim red light. 

The volume of the crowd singing that accompanies frontman Dylan Minette is deafening and sets the precedent for the rest of the 70-minute show.  The song ends in a blaze of distorted guitar from fellow frontman Braeden Lemasters, before mutating into the frenetic Only Friend, igniting strobe lights around the stage.   The breakthrough Joy Division-esque Pictures Of Girls sounds amazing, with Dylan dropping off his mic entirely to let the rabid crowd bellow “YOU SHOULD BE DOWN IN HOLLYWOOD!” at the top of their lungs.

After a trumpet-heavy Ice Cold Pool, the band huddle together on stage, before Dylan announces “we weren’t gonna play this song, but we like you guys, so we’re adding one!”  It’s a good choice too, as the WOAHHH’s ring around the room on Pulling Leaves Off Trees.  Trust Fall slows things down and lets everyone catch their breath, and showcases some superb harmonies between Dylan and Braeden before drummer Cole Preston joins the vocal party.  Let The Sun In is similarly relaxed, radiating summer vibes on a frigid winter night.

Dylan ditches his guitar entirely on These Days, patrolling the front of the stage like a bona fide frontman, whipping up the crowd once more, who sing back the lyrics religiously, and follow Dylan’s lead with a thunderous clap-along.  The fantastic Treacherous Doctor and Remember When then takes the pace to unprecedented levels; the beats are frantic, the riffs are furious, the hi-hat is a machine gun.  It sounds like Two Door Cinema Club on speed. 

Shortly thereafter, Dylan tries to pay tribute to the crowd: “thanks Montreal, this is the first show of the tour that sold out…” BAM!  A soft toy thrown from the crowd hits him in the face.  Unperturbed, he laughs, and tries to continue: “we played earlier today, but that doesn’t mean we love you second…”  BAM!  Another soft toy to the face.  He eventually throws in the towel: “OK I lost my train of thought!”  The main set closes out in emphatic fashion, with Pleaser and Are You Bored Yet?, with Dylan again dropping off his mic to let the crowd sing Clairo’s verse entirely.  Again, it’s deafening, and it’s amazing.

After a short pause, the band are beckoned back to the stage for an encore, which starts with the scuzzy I’m Full.  Braeden puts on a faux Metal voice: “OPEN UP THE PIIIIIIIT!”  A small one actually forms, though mostly consists of a few girls dancing…seems like a Wallows crowd has a few things to learn in that respect!  Crowd-surfing is another work in progress too; as the set closes with Scrawny, one girl is hoisted up, held aloft for a few seconds, then comes back down again.  Still, aside from the crowd-surf fail, it’s a triumphant conclusion to a fantastic set and a truly memorable debut in our fair city.


  • 1.       Do Not Wait
  • 2.       Only Friend
  • 3.       Sidelines
  • 4.       Pictures of Girls
  • 5.       Underneath the Streetlights in the Winter Outside Your House
  • 6.       Ice Cold Pool
  • 7.       Pulling Leaves Off Trees
  • 8.       Trust Fall
  • 9.       It’s Only Right
  • 10.   Let the Sun In
  • 11.   These Days
  • 12.   Worlds Apart
  • 13.   Treacherous Doctor
  • 14.   Remember When
  • 15.   Just Like a Movie
  • 16.   Pleaser
  • 17.   Are You Bored Yet?


  • 18.   I’m Full
  • 19.   Scrawny

Review – Simon Williams
Photos – Ryley Remedios

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