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Concert Review: Mayhem at Club Soda, Montreal

Metal band Mayhem performing at Club Soda in Montreal on March 22nd

Take a walk on the dark side, Norwegian black metal band Mayhem has returned to Montreal

Saint Laurent Boulevard is home to the Club Soda, a marvelous venue with a capacity of up to 975 standing guests. Their large capacity was suitable for a black metal show of Mayhem’s caliber.

In the lobby, the doors to the dance floor were rattling with the powerful sound of heavy guitars, a bone-rattling kick drum and the grueling growls of Midnight, the opening act. Their sound was incredibly powerful, though not as fast-paced as the headliner that would proceed them. Midnight’s vocals were clear and severe, backed up by wailing guitars as they sang of sin, darkness and death. Their fiery sound successfully provoked the crowd, preparing them for what was to come. 

After spending Midnight’s set in the mosh pit, the silence set in as the crowd waited for Mayhem’s arrival. The band was timely, creeping onto the stage through red light and clouds of fog. Feeling like I had entered the dark dungeon of a secret society, I watched as the lights slowly grew brighter. 

Opening with “Falsified and Hated,” Mayhem was met with screams from the crowd. A rush of harsh guitar and ghoulish rasping kicked the show off, with a quick flash of blue light revealing the lead singer, Attila Csihar. He was dressed in many layers, with a tattered cloak on top. His face was covered in blood and corpse paint, and in his hands he held a cross made of bones.

The band would eventually swap out their battle jackets for black ritualistic cloaks, with Csihar donning pope-esque garb, upholding the theme of a high satanic priest preaching to his devilish children. The stage would appear to be the inside of a cathedral. Eventually, Csihar would be seen swinging a noose around, whispering into the microphone over an ominous beat like a vengeful spirit.

During the band’s most notable song, “Freezing Moon,” the crowd rushed to the front of the stage and the mosh pit erupted with crowd-surfers, creating pushing and shoving galore. The pulsing lull midway through the song provided a smooth transition from the first verse’s fast pace to the sound of a more soothing embrace of death. 

The most vicious mosh pit that night by far would be during “Chainsaw Gutsfuck.” People were headbanging left and right. The thunderous hum of raspy guitar and bass accompanied melodic shrieks and the beating of a vicious kick drum. Several men were shirtless, sweating and panting as they sought out their next shove from a fellow fan.

The show came to a close surprisingly early at around 11:00 p.m. The band members kindly threw picks and grasped hands with fans on their way off the stage. Overall, it was a beautifully dark, thrilling experience!

There was such a strong sense of spirit in the room through it all and it was an unforgettable night. To all metalheads of Montreal, if you haven’t had a taste of black metal yet, I’d recommend dipping your toes in by listening to a song or even attending a show (especially if you’re looking to mosh and headbang insanely hard).

 

Photo by Jake Beacock

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Music

Metronomy lives on Forever

Even in the middle of a snowstorm, this English electronic group was on fire

Up until now, Metronomy has been evolving their sound between each new album. From lo-fi electronica to wonky pop, and from new wave to electronic rock, each release and subsequent tour had its own fresh take on what Metronomy was.

Last year, the band put out their sixth album, Metronomy Forever, a 17-track amalgamation of every genre Metronomy had dabbled in, while still having room for a few surprise twists. This direction also sums up their current tour quite well––Metronomy has brought their performance to the next level while still paying homage to their funky indie roots.

Olugbenga Adelekan on bass guitar and Oscar Cash on keyboard.

Upon arrival last Friday night, Feb. 7, the MTelus venue was quite empty even though it was only a few minutes away from the official start time of the show, most likely due to the unfortunate weather. The supporting act was supposed to be indie-dance artist Charlotte Adigery, but her replacement, Montreal’s own Birds of Paradise, informed the crowd that she was unable to make it. They joked about how it was as much a surprise for us as for them, as they only got called a few hours prior and already had tickets to the show. It ended up being a nice surprise as they captured the crowd’s attention with their unique blend of machine folk and romantic pop. In particular, their cover of Ozzie Nelson’s classic “Dream a Little Dream of Me” was a standout moment.

Metronomy kept it simple this time, at least compared to the gimmicks and wild costumes of their past live shows. A cloth backdrop was the only real set-piece. On either side of the stage, Michael Lovett and Oscar Cash were playing customized synth structures on wheels, with Anna Prior on drums towards the back. Bassist Olugbenga Adelekan and lead singer Joseph Mount were at the front, with plenty of space to dance around. Their set––or lack of one––and the matching white jumpsuits might seem minimal on paper, but the simplicity put an emphasis on the lighting and the music.

Metronomy treated the crowd to an energetic 21-song setlist, packed with their greatest hits and some hidden gems. Between each track from Metronomy Forever were hits from the last few albums crossing all genres while avoiding any jarring changes to the vibe. Every member had a track where they got the spotlight to shine. Prior’s vocals in “Everything Goes My Way” and Oscar Cash’s theremin synth in “Boy Racers” are two good examples.

Throughout the whole night, the crowd could be heard singing along to every track and had great energy. As the set came to an end with “Sex Emoji,” people weren’t ready to go home just yet, and cheered until Mount returned to the stage solo for an acoustic version of “Upset My Girlfriend.” Then the rest of the band slowly made their way back to the stage for a final explosive rendition of “Radio Ladio.”

All together, Metronomy’s concert was a great treat for their biggest fans and a fantastic first show for new ones as they enter a new decade of their career.

 

Metronomy live on Feb. 7 at MTelus.

Photos by Cecilia Piga

Categories
Music

Fink wows fans at La Sala Rossa

Like a good glass of scotch or the ideal piece of chocolate cake, Fink’s voice is smoky, rich and capable of sending any audience to a

Photo by Tommy N. Lance

relaxed but grooving place. Live, his deep melodies and slow rhythms have a greater impact and a very different feel from his studio albums. The notes seem to permeate the very air: a hum that settles deep within your bones as you rock in time to the music.

Accompanied on the drums and guitar by Tim Thornton, Fink played most of the songs off his newest album, Perfect Darkness. The hit single “Yesterday Was Hard On All Of Us” and the album’s final track, “Berlin Sunrise”, received particularly rousing applause from the mostly older crowd.

To spice it up, the duo played the bluesy number “Hush Now” from Fink’s breakout album Biscuits for Breakfast. While changing to his blues guitar, Fink explained, “Every tour I tell myself, ‘This guitar isn’t coming on tour anymore’ and every tour it manages to sneak on board anyway.” Let us hope that it does keep ‘sneaking’ aboard because the slight change in pace and rhythm brought a whole new dimension to the show.

All of this combined with the intimate feel of La Sala Rossa made for a memorable night. After the show a smiling Fink said, “We love playing in Montreal!” However, he confessed that the last time they were here “it was bloody freezing and only twenty people showed up.” Fink’s popularity has been on the rise since the release of Biscuits for Breakfast in 2006. Perfect Darkness reached number 32 on the Dutch charts in 2011 and remains Fink’s biggest claim to fame.

The group are on tour around the Northeastern U.S. and Canada but will be performing at several music festivals in India come December. Whenever they do return to Montreal they are well worth a look-in.

 

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