Last week, Montreal punks proved that October’s The Exploited riot has not tarnished this city’s punk ethic by giving an aggressively enthusiastic yet (mostly) non-violent welcome to The Dropkick Murphys.
The band sold out the Spectrum on their Montreal stop of the tour November 12th with the help of pop-punkers Avoid One Thing and seminal hardcore outfit The Casualties.
Though the opening act is often faced with a tough and discriminating crowd, Avoid One Thing, led by Mighty Mighty Bosstones bassist Joe Gittleman, received a warm welcome. But closing off with their slower-paced ballad Lean on Sheena, Avoid One Thing was no match for The Casualties in inciting a crowd.
The Casualties, now in their thirteenth year of delivering their brand of New York hardcore punk rock, got the fists pumping and the pit jumping. Personal space became a rare commodity throughout the venue once The Casualties took the stage and became even scarcer as the evening went on. The self-proclaimed drunk punx blasted their way through 16 songs with Jake Casualty’s screeching guitar drowning out most of the vocals. No matter, though – most people barely noticed, they were so busy either moshing or shielding themselves from ominous crowd surfers.
The Casualties played old favourites like 40 oz. Casualty and Punx Unite, as well as numbers off their latest release, 2001’s Die Hards like Nightmare and Made in N.Y.C, a tribute to the late DeeDee and Joey Ramone.
Jake Casualty noted in a pre-show interview that not only is Montreal a big city for the band, but that Canada’s punk scene has developed a great deal since he joined the band in 1993. Though the group has seen many members come and go during the past 13 years, he is convinced that the current lineup, which is founder Jorge on vocals, Rick on bass and Meggers on drums, is solid. Though Casualty, 26, is not about to give up being full-time punk rocker with The Casualties, he admits, “Nothing lasts forever. We’re not Menudo. There’ll be other punk bands. That’s how punk rock is.” With a new album, entitled On The Front Line, slated for a February 17th release date, the band will embark on a headlining tour in support and are scheduled to once again zigzag across the continent on this summer’s Warped Tour.
The Casualties certainly got the temperature rising and the blood boiling for the main event of the evening, the very Boston and extremely Irish Dropkick Murphys. With songs about hockey and songs about booze, the band felt right at home in Montreal. Except when they cursed Canadiens fans. Anyway, the band played several songs from their new album, Blackout, including a cover of folk legend Woody Guthrie’s Gonna Be A Blackout Tonight, along with older tunes like Barroom Hero and The Legend of Finn MacCumhail thrown in for good measure. For the final songs of the evening, the band allowed hundreds of fans onto the stage, which caused mass chaos, and head injuries for those at the barrier (myself included). Fortunately, it didn’t cause amnesia.