Festival Review: ‘77 Montreal with Punk Rockin’ Performances

Joining All Punk Generations in Celebration of the Genre

  • You could hear the drums firing away in the distance. Courtesy Tim Snow

On a gorgeous Friday, ‘77 Montreal was going strong at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

As soon as you walked on the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit on July 27, the site of the event this year, the punk rock vibe was live in the air⎯you could hear the drums firing away in the distance.

At the event, more dedicated fans wore their favourite band’s apparel, including ones that weren’t performing, like Rancid and Dropkick Murphys. Others rocked funky hair colors like pink and blue, and had crazy tattoos.

The artists were spread out on three stages. The Garden Stage was the smallest, showcasing less renowned bands and upcoming artists like local band Pussy Stench, and Oakville, Ontario’s Seaway. The East Stage was furthest from the entrance which featured bands with a traditional anarchist punk sound, like veterans Sick Of It All and Suicidal Tendencies. The West Stage was the mainstage, for mainstream bands like headliner Anti-Flag.

Anti-Flag

At the start of Anti-Flag’s performance, the audience started to show early signs of fatigue. The group kicked their fans back to life with an ironic “die, die, die” chant for their song “Die for your Government”.

During the first song, bassist Chris Barker jumped all around on stage; the energy demonstrated by him and the rest of the band as they slashed away with their music encouraged the crowd to join them.

Barker wore a sleeveless t-shirt displaying the words “FCK NZS”, an obvious anti-fascist message. This is constant with the band’s message to the fans to “let go off all the hate, f**k bigotry, f**k racism, f**k homophobia, f**k sexism.”

Following the Anti-Flag’s sixth song of their performance, “This Machine Kills Fascists”, drummer Pat Thetic slowly made his way into the crowd. Piece by piece, the sound techs passed parts of the drum set down to him, which was a simpler version of Thetic’s kit; only consisting of his bass drum, snare drum, hi-hat and one cymbal.

Thetic went on to play the next song “Brandenburg Gate” in the crowd. As one of the band’s popular tropes, Thetic playing the drums alongside fans sent them into a frenzy.

AFI

Wearing all black, the band members of AFI stormed onto the stage just after 7:30 p.m.

AFI’s performance was superb. Main singer Davey Havok used the whole stage for their performance as the sun went down.

He danced all around on stage, and swung the microphone while holding the chord, haphazardly and playfully. Standing up on the speakers, he made sure to entertain the whole crowd including the fans in the back so they could see him better. Havok also climbed down stage and onto the metal barrier separating the crowd and sang up close and personal with concert goers.

Closing out their set, AFI finished off the show with their classic song “Miss Murder.” By this time, all the fans who were gathered around the stage belted out the chorus of the song along with the band.

Rise Against

The Chicago natives Rise Against opened up their performance with “The Violence”, the lead single of their most recent album, Wolves.

Unfortunately for the audience, the band had some audio issues; they didn’t seem to be in sync with each other for the majority of the show. Lead vocalist Tim McIlrath couldn’t keep tempo with his band mates for many of their songs, especially for “Give It All” and “Help Is On The Way”. The issue became so problematic during “Help Is On The Way” that McIlrath slurred some of the lyrics and even skipped over an entire verse of the song to keep up with the rest of the band.

Despite this, the band powered through and reengaged the viewers. Mcllarth got both sides of the crowd, which was split in the middle by a security barrier, to start two circle pits.

The band even went as far as breaking out four of their acoustic songs: “Voices Off Camera”, “People Live Here”, the emotional “Hero Of War”, ending the acoustic part of the set with one of the band’s older song “Swing Life Away”.

They then surprisingly came back after this set for a three song encore to put the finishing touch on a wonderful day.

For more information about ‘77 Montreal, check them out at https://www.77montreal.com/en/

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