Punk’s not dead even if it’s underground

Lead singer of The Schizophonics belts out into the crowd at their most recent stop in Montreal alongside The Chats and the Cosmic Psychos. Photo by Daniel Cross.

 From down under to right here in Montreal, punk music is far from dead. 

Music blared into the old concert hall, black denim-clad fans shouted back at the stage and the mosh pit was going wild right in the center of it all. Amidst the chaos in the pit, someone passed out on the floor and everyone backed away in an instant. She got up after a few seconds and went right back into the mosh. That was a perfect example of who made up the largely misrepresented punk community: they were there to have a good time and make sure you were too, no matter who you were.

A blend of young and old came together for the three-set show earlier in October with The Schizophonics, Cosmic Psychos and the headlining Chats. With crowd surfing right at the first opener, this was one of the best concerts Daniel Racette had ever been to. Surpassing The Weekend, The Pharcyde, Travis Scott and Lil Yachty, Racette said The Chats had the best energy out of any concert he’d ever been to.

The punk scene currently has a huge age gap, with the older generation still in it from the beginnings of punk to the newer 18-25 age range. Punk’s popularity has seemingly skipped a generation and now is gaining huge popularity in the younger age group. 

With anti-establishment hues and inclusivity at the top of the order, the community is diverse. Different characters from all sorts of backgrounds are all united by punk.

I have wanted to see The Chats ever since I had Australian guests staying over at my house a little while back. They had put me on to The Chats and ever since then, it has been a deep dive into Australian punk. From The Chats and Amyl and the Sniffers to Private Function, Australia boasts one of the world’s most thriving hotbeds for punk rock. 

Whether it’s the heat or the remnants of Britain’s castaway disorderlies, Australian punk is on the rise. The Chats are the biggest success from down under, releasing their first album in 2016 and then exploding onto the big stage in 2017 with their Get This In Ya album song “Smoko.” 

Right here in Canada, we also have a thriving punk scene playing in small underground shows. Montreal’s home for punk is Traxide, formerly known as Fattal. Located in the St-Henri borough, punk bands from all over North America come to play in the two-story venue. But the exact location is only given when you ask a punk.

The Canadian punk community gathers mainly on Facebook through the Punk Canada page to discuss upcoming shows and bands. There, they also share new Canadian punk bands like Autonomous Apes, Television Supervision or Sonic Souvenir. 
To hear more Canadian punk, check out the Blackmarket playlist New Punk From Canada, a compilation of punk from Canadian bands, all released in 2023.

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