The Black Unicorn Tour – Montreal, QC
Review by: Joel Cuthbert
So to start it off this show was rather confusing. The initial ads I saw advertised the show as being at El Salon… which is one of the three event venues owned by members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, El Salon being the one used most for this type of show. I tried to see As Cities Burn at El Salon a few months ago, and when I found out the band didn’t make it across the border I walked out and wound up seeing Downhere, a good band but weird when you were pumping yourself up to see As Cities Burn, but I digress. A couple days before the show I managed to track around on the various band’s myspaces and websites trying to get some solid information on the venue and start times(something, I might add, that is getting excruciatingly painful in this day and age). I discovered that there was 3 different times listed and two different venues. Good times. Thankfully The Fall Of Troy’s website had a listing of people who had posted that they planned on attending. So I sent a few messages off via MySpace, and learned that El Salon had decided to can shows indefinitely. Alas. So Now with the correct address and a new venue I ventured from my house in my parents standard Escort to see what I could see. Or to go “out and about” as americans say we say. Yes.
So after a solid twenty minutes circling the blocks trying to find a usable parking space, I easily identified the venue by the massing scene kids with metalcore shirts on swearing at each other in french. I love montreal. So I’m driving around trying to find a parking spot, trying to read these signs that all tell different stories about all the parking privileges they entail. I finally found a spot and realized I’d been reading the signs wrong and I could have parked miles ago. So as you might see I was right and ready for some metallic served heavy.
The venue was an odd one indeed, Accueil Inconditionnel, was split into two sections. When I entered and paid at first I wasn’t sure where the show was. The one room was a cafe with some tables chairs and merch set up. Random people with Chariot and Norma Jean shirts lounging around and loud music coming from the wall. Lucky for me someone wandered out and let that blast of rock show me where the door was.
I came half way into the opener band, Florence. They were your standard metalcore band, with a nice blend of singing and screaming. They felt like a harder Black Maria. Every so often someone would break out in a solo with the bass player definately showing off his skills. At one point the band built to a craschendo and the vocalist burst out a note which went high and long, I’ve never seen someone hold a note as long as that. I was wincing just watching. They had thier unity down as they had plenty of that boy-core-band head banging at the perfect points during thier breakdowns. This always looks flashy, but seems forced. The thing that shocked me the most was that the lead singer spoke french in between songs. I’ve never experienced local rock music like that. I found it really interesting, though the lyrical content itself was english. Overall they were a solid opener band but they’ll need to work to make themselves stick out in a competeing world of screamo lookalikes.
Fall of Troy wasn’t able to make it to the Canadian dates due to van trouble so the next band up was Classic Case. Not to be confused with Tooth and Nail band The Classic Crime. Classic Case features ex-Beloved Lead Singer Josh Moore who now plays Guitar and does backup vocals. The first thing that struck me about this band was how rediculously happy they were. Not the music I just mean they seemed like people who truely enjoyed and loved what they did. They rocked out through songs off thier album Dress to Depress which came out in December. The mix of the vocals between the lead and background really stood out for me and made this set really shine. The guitarist really knew his pedals and added a lot of layering and diversity to the tracks. The band played really well and had all sorts of moments from melodic ballads to straigh up rock’n ferocity. They still felt relatively young as the band lacked a bit in unity. Still a wonderful set all around.
Showbread leaked there way onto the stage each in matching outfits as is the tradition. As soon as I saw that keytar being strapped on a smile spread across my face. They crammed six guys onto the venues relatively small stage and they rocked out. They started the show by gathering around for prayer and then ripped straight into thier first song. They played classics; they played new songs. The strange thing was, the lead singer acted really dulled out by the whole show. I’m not sure if it was like a stage-act or what. But I think it might have hurt thier crowd reaction. At one point they had a guy dressed as a dinosaur come running onto the stage and they proceeded to hack it’s head off. Musically they were really tight, thier music just shocks away between some melodic lines to just pure screaming madness. At one point the whole band was just surging and spazing out the chaotic beats. I enjoyed them thouroughly. They started thier last song by calling out that everything they do is for Jesus Christ, after which the budding christian population of four people clapped and cheered, while the rest gawked and leared. They then went into thier last song.
He Is Legend is a band of dudes I do not want to meet in a dark alley. Like these guys are pirates. Straight up. They all either have amazing heavy metal hair or beards that could beat YOUR daddy in a fight. But did they ever rock! They went through all the classics playing mostly old but definately some new, it was neat to see how they did a lot of coninuation songs that kept themes or lines from the old album. They used great lighting using a strobe light for those killer breakdowns and over the top metal madness. It was generally face-melting. Needless to say I went nuts and sang along to every line. I wasn’t too fond of thier stage presence as once the lead singer said “Lord Jesus Christ” for no apparent reason and bit back from using some other cussing(note, this is a new word for Joel as he tries to be Southern Baptist about this situation). This isn’t too surprising as the band has been vocal about containing some christians but not nessesarily being christian as a band. Needless to say they rocked the house ending with a gastronomical I Am Hollywood which they broke into two parts just to crush those bones you still had in you.
An amusing fact was that He Is Legend and Classic Case actually switched drummers for the show, In leu of thier latest split EP which has both bands covering each other they decided to switch it up which added a fun dimension to the show. I had a chance to run around and meet some people in between sets. It’s really weird going to shows alone cause I love walking up to people and talking to them but when you’re done saying whatever thing you were going to say you just sort of walk over and stop somewhere else. I tend to need a group of friends to hide behind. It’s also odd when you go to compliment someone for thier ‘super-awesome shirt’ or thier ‘rad-to-the-max hardcore dancing styles’ and right after you walk away you hear them talking and realize they’re totally french and have no idea what you said. You pretty much walked up to some guy and shaked his hand and smiled and walked away. Which is creepy. There was a group of guys there who I handed out some stickers too, one was wearing a Beaumont shirt, a local band from back home which was mind blowing to see. But I had trouble asking him about it due to my lack of french. One of his friends was wearing a shirt that said “Public Display of Affection” with a picture of Jesus on the cross. These guys obviously deserve stickers and if they followed the link they may be reading this now. You are cool dudes.
All in all a great show. Check out the bands as follows:
Florence – Local band, Not too sure what they believe.
Classic Case – Fiddler Records/Help Records – Josh/Guitar ex-beloved might be only christian member.
Showbread – Solid State – Rawk’n Band / Rawk’n Message
He Is Legend – Solid State – ROCK