Hello, fellow punks and music lovers, Justin here. Apparently I missed a fantastic show last weekend while I was away for work. This is going to be a thing that happens every now and then with this new job of mine. Therefore, my long-time friend Eric Letourneau will be writing reviews for the shows I can’t attend! Eric also happens to be a great writer and talented musician. We’ve played in a few punk, metal, emo, and hardcore bands together back in the day. We’re also currently working on putting together a punk project! You can often catch Eric playing at The Working Class on Wednesday nights, Open Mic Night. He is usually accompanied by our great friend, Dave Lamoureux, as their acoustic project named, The Lover and the Bird. Eric also plays bass in a new local punk act called, Rough Outlook. So be sure to catch him whenever you can, he’s a real ear-pleaser! 

As I’ve mentioned above, Eric is a great writer. I love his style and his eloquence, and I’m very excited to have him as part of this segment on my website. I hope you enjoy his piece, and without further adieu, Eric’s review:

 

As I stepped through the backdoor of the Working Class, carrying a massive Ampeg bass cab, a hundred thoughts loomed in the back of my mind: I wonder how many people will show up tonight… How will the bands be? Will they be cool people? I really hope they’re cool people. Next we unloaded the guitar amp heads and merch bins. Focus on playing well and you’ll have a great time, I told myself. Then, “So long as it’s been forgotten,I mentally rehearsed lyrics from our opening song. We set up our gear while various members of Bigger than All and The Headlines lounged around and played pool. They look pretty coolTwo steaming Don’s pizzas come through the front door: holy fuck I’m hungryThen we did the soundcheck, and I thought for the hundredth time that day, I wonder how the turnout will be tonight

Little did I know, I was about to see, and participate in, one of the best punk rock shows I’ve ever been to. That’s right folks, Saturday night was one for the books. While the lineup featured two (possibly even three) bands that I am convinced were not well known in the Timmins area, the two visiting groups were fantastic in every way. I made sure to ask my fellow band mates from Rough Outlook what they thought of the show. Not one of the members, including myself, thought it anything less than stellar

The show kicked off at about 10:30pm when we jumped on stage to perform seven songs, six of which were covers. I had a really great time rocking out on the bass guitar and belting harmonies with the rest of Rough Outlook (Krys Saudino – lead vocals, Chris Pilon – rhythm guitar, Tyler Brazeau – lead guitar and Matt Stewart – drums). I feel we laid down a nice opening set that served well as a nice transition to the first visiting band, Bigger than All.

Bigger than All is a four piece punk rock band hailing from Montréal, Québec. It features Bigger (Danny) on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Daniel on lead guitar, Alex on bass guitar and backup vocals and Jr. on drums. While their music is fast and punchy, it retains some instrumental complexity with Daniel adding various leads and Alex shredding great bass lines over Bigger’s fast power chords. The vocals, however, are what set this band apart from others in the same genre. Bigger has a voice that reminds me of both Fat Mike’s of NOFX and Chris Demakes’ of Less than Jake. It has just the right amount of grit to carry a melody without being too agressive. The bassist and drummer help out when they can by adding crowd vocals and the typical punk-rock whah-ohs to the mix. The sound was very balanced, and their performance was tight and on point, despite the set up being a little awkward. Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties with the stage, which caused the lead guitarist, Daniel, to have to play between the two other members. Seeing as though he is the only member of the band that doesn’t sing, it made the stage dynamic a little weird. Even still, the bassist drove the energy of the band way up by running from one side of the stage to the other, still managing to masterfully pluck his bass. Bigger was also very entertaining, sometimes looking around in complete confusion and making funny facial expressions before exploding into the next part. Though it took a little while for the crowd to warm up to Bigger than All, the band’s energy level shot up when they finally did. With a strong finish, they paved the way for the headliner of their current ‘Desbouleaux Tour’, The Headlines.

Coming all the way from Malmö, Sweden, The Headlines have been active since 2006 and have played over 500 shows in many countries worldwide. The band, composed of Kerry Bomb – Lead Vocals, Jake – Lead Guitar, Peter – Rhythm Guitar, Cim Dhalle – Bass Guitar and Peter II – Drums, have gained a fan base in Germany, and is known to travel abroad often to play for welcoming crowds the world over. These guys absolutely obliterated the stage Saturday night. You want to know what they sound like? To quote tour organizer Michaël Lagacé, “The Headlines live is like taking a shovel to the face but with a lot of love” and I couldn’t agree more. The Headlines are nothing but pure punk rock, straight from the early 90’s. Their sound invokes the likes of Rancid and the Ramones. The music is catchy and simple, yet edgy and raw. The first thing I noticed was how great they looked as a unit. Kerry, Jake and Cim dressed in traditional punk rock threads. The front woman sported a spike-studded jean jacket covered in patches to match her pink hair. Plaid shirts, tight pants, tattoos and high topped shoes completed the look.

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The performance was insane. Kerry Bomb, who, in the past, played bass guitar and left most of the singing to lead guitarist Jake, is an amazing front woman with a seemingly unsurmountable amount of energy. Her voice is extremely versatile, at times soft and soothing and then gritty and agressive in the next breath. She exudes confidence but remains very genuine as she runs, jumps, dances and bangs her head to the music. The music is complete with a good mix of fast beats and downtime, as well as some nice buildups that culminate in some of the most catchy choruses I’ve heard. If you don’t know the lyrics, you’ll know at least the chorus by the end of the song, and you’ll catch yourself singing along. Lead guitarist Jake does quite a bit of vocals as well. His voice, often paired with Kerry’s, is edgy and sits very well in the mix. He also swoops in every so often with a guitar solo reminiscent of old school rock and roll which he does very well. The bassist, Cim Dahlle, is simply electric. She is very energetic and also belts out some great backup vocals, be it harmony or chanting along with the rest of the band. She played on her knees with her bass up in the air, she played behind her head, she jumped off the drum riser, and she did it all while playing perfectly, and with style and swagger. The band was greeted by a great crowd, however small, who succeeded in bringing the band back for not one, but two encores. The first one was one of my favourite punk rock covers of all time: 99 Red Balloons. The best part? Kerry sang the song in German, the language in which the original song was written by artist Nena in 1983. After 99 luftballons, they played an original called Wake Up. The crowd chanted “Wake up! Whah-oh, whah-oh”, with the band until they ended the show with a final crash!

Not only do I not have any negative comments or criticism to offer this band, but I cannot say enough positive things about them to do them justice. Although it is unlikely that they come back to Timmins (mostly due to the massive ocean that separates our home country from theirs), I highly recommend you go give this band a listen. Beware however, that even on the most recent album, Vendetta, Kerry does not sing lead vocals throughout as she was still the bassist of the band at the time of recording.

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Luckily, I had the chance to talk with a few of the members from Bigger than All after the show, and it turns out that they’re a really great bunch of dudes. I also had the chance to congratulate The Headlines who seemed very pleased with the outcome of the show in such a small venue in a small town. Simply put, whoever wasn’t there, missed out.

I hope you enjoyed the review. I’ll be writing more of these in the future, whenever Justin is unable to make it out to a show. And remember, the next time you tell yourself there is nothing to do in Timmins, head out to The Working Class and let Krys and Johnny show you how to have a good time. This is our scene. Without us, it doesn’t exist.

Stay sexy, Timmins,

Ric

 

It was country night last night (January 16, 2016) at The Working Class in Timmins. The sold out show featured The Devin Cuddy Band, with a local opening act by Lee Hannigan. The Class truly felt like a country bar last night; the show attracted an audience that isn’t typical for our venue, and I was perfectly okay with that! The bands played really well, and the people enjoyed themselves, myself included. If you happened not to have made it out last night, here are my thoughts on what you missed:

Lee Hannigan is a local singer/songwriter. He writes a fusion of country, blues, folk, and rock n’ roll. Last night, 3 supporting musicians accompanied Hannigan on the stage, (a bassist, a drummer, and a keyboard player). I didn’t catch the names of the musicians, unfortunately. Their performance was incredibly tight and masterful. The relatively older backing musicians displayed a show of their skill and experience. The bassist served as a rock solid foundation for the music; he was always on time, and his playing style was simple yet powerful. He was my favorite musician to watch out of everyone. He rocked the fuck out, and sang solid backup vocals with his deep, smoky voice. The drummer was very chill and composed, and rocking a very appropriate Bob Marley t-shirt. He banged his wavy long hair as he performed his groovy beats. His playing was very versatile, from train beats (typical in country music) to funk and jazz beats. He was also a lot of fun to look at on stage! The keyboard player was phenomenal. He shreded on those keys. When in one instant where Hannigan forgot a part, the keyboard player just took over and made the song seamless. These musicians were fantastic, and I had no idea Timmins harbored that amount of talent. I hope to see them perform again soon! Now as for Hannigan himself, while his playing was mostly on point (his guitar playing skills are great, his guitar tone was delicious, and his vocals were mostly always on pitch and on time), I did find him kind of boring to watch on stage. He barely moved around, or even smiled while he was playing. He didn’t look like he was having fun to me. Certainly not like his backing musicians did. His performance just seemed too amateurish for me in contrast with his band. I wanted to see him rock out with the bassist! I also don’t think it’s necessary to present every single song (that’s just my personal preference). I believe talking to the crowd is an art of its own, and if a singer is not completely comfortable doing it, it’s completely fine (if not better) to just not talk as much. Don’t get me wrong however; his skills on the guitar and on the harmonica were great. He played quite well, and his parts were very tightly in sync with the band. He’s also a great outlaw country singer, and a very talented songwriter! I just think his performance skills need some work.

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The Devin Cuddy Band. (Photo cred: Olivia Sullivan)

The Devin Cuddy Band is Devin Cuddy on the piano and vocals, Nichol Robertson on the guitar, Devon James on the bass, and Zachary Sutton on the drums. Timmins happened to be their first stop on their western Canadian tour, and what a delight it was to have them up here all the way from Toronto. Their music is a lot of fun to hear. It has its roots in southern blues and outlaw country. It’s got that New Orleans spice! Their performance last night was fantastic. Their energy was hot and the audience fed on it until our stomachs were full. The bassist did not stop dancing about in the limited space he had on the stage for the entire show. His playing was tight, dynamic, and his vocal harmonies were flawless. The same goes for the drummer; his grooves were punchy or mellow whenever they had to be. He also looked to be having a blast behind his kit. The guitarist’s energy wasn’t at the same level, however. I wanted to see his rock out a little more, but his playing was great! His solos we smoother than butter; he made them look so easy. Finally, Devin Cuddy himself was killer to watch! His piano playing is good to the point where I now regret giving up on my piano lessons as a child. His playing had that ragtime sound as he pounded his keyboard with precision and speed. He too made his instrument look easy to play. His vocals are perfect for his genre. His voice doesn’t have too much twang as we hear typically in country music, and it resides in a confortable mid-range. I’m not really sure to whom I should compare him because I’m not that familiar with the genre. The best thing I can do is recommend you go listen to his record, “Kitchen Knife”. It’s a lot of fun to listen to, and I regret not picking one up on vinyl last night. My only gripe with their performance is the lack of energy from the guitarist (as I’ve mentioned), and the slight repetitive nature of their sound. I felt their set was getting a little long near the end. Despite these nit picks, however, I was overall very impressed by their performance. Ritchie also did a great job with the sound; I could hear every distinct part clearly. My ears were happy! So yeah, I hope to see these guys again, and I wish them luck on their tour!

That’s my review! I hope you enjoyed the read, and I hope you check out The Devin Cuddy Band’s music!

Peace!

PS. Keep your eyes open for an album recommendation coming soon! I’m currently working on a schedule for my content output. As my life will see a little more stability soon, and I’ll be able to put more work into this website! Thanks again to all those who support me with this thing! I appreciate you all from the deepest depths of my heart!

12279207_794647980672036_5444755377891944776_nLast night (December 26, 2015), I attended a punk show at The Working Class here in Timmins. The show was said to begin at 9 pm, and I got there fifteen minutes past 9. To my dismay, the venue was at capacity and they weren’t letting anyone else in for an unforeseen amount of time. This was very bittersweet for me because while I’m very stoked to see the venue and scene thrive, it was unfortunate to see so many people turned down at the door. I waited outside and from there, I listened to a few songs by Calming Collection, a new punk band fronted by Tory Holmes. The band for whom I was most excited to see perform because it was their first performance at The Working Class, and because their recorded music sounds fantastic! I had the pleasure of watching Tory perform some Calming Collection tunes on an acoustic guitar at an open mic night, and I’m really bummed I missed out last night. Standing outside only lasted as long as it could have considering how cold my friends and I were getting.

Check out their EP, “Departures”, here!

We spent about an hour or so at the bar next door, and I decided to give The Working Class another go. I finally got in with two friends after a little more waiting and got to see The Payoff play their last two songs. They were on point as usual, and I’m really happy to have caught the bit that I did. Rumour has it that they plan on getting into the studio to record soon. If so, I am really excited to hear what they put out!

Give The Payoff a like on Facebook!

The headlining band was one of our longer-standing Timmins punk bands, Laforge! The band is made of Corey McGee on lead vocals and guitar, Mitch Bergeron on lead guitar and vocals, Kevin Watson on bass, and Pat Lauzier on drums. It had been a few years since the last time I personally got to see them, and I’m bummed I missed their last performance. I actually got to jam with them a few years back, and they’re really solid dudes. They played very well last night! So well in fact that I felt compelled to write this brief review (I wasn’t planning on writing this due to my late entry). If you haven’t heard of them and you like punk rock, you’re seriously missing out on some tasty jams! Their music is melodious, dynamic, and anthemic. Its very reminiscent of classic 90s skater punk bands like Lagwagon, Strung Out, and No Use For A Name. They had us (the crowd) moshing, headbanging, throwing our fists in the air, and chanting their catchy, home-hitting lyrics! “I’ll be SEVEN-O-FIVE!!” It made me seriously wish I knew more of the band’s lyrics so I could sing along with everyone! Pat’s drumming was fucking killer as always. He has to be the most impressive drummer in town! I can honestly dance to his grooves all night! I won’t go much more into detail about how they sound and how they played partly because I didn’t take any notes last night. I was too busy having a baller time! They were really tight and sounded awesome on the stage overall. If you haven’t heard or seen them, I seriously recommend you take the time to experience Laforge!

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This was not taken last night. Photo credit: Craig Chè Koostachin (Taken from Laforge’s Facebook page)

Here are links to their Facebook and Bandcamp pages!

I stuck around the bar after the show for a few more drinks. It was so great to chat with the various members of our prospering music scene here in Timmins. I know a lot of you are reading these reviews, and I want to thank you all for the support and feedback you’ve been giving me. I’m just so happy to be a part of it all! I often contemplate moving back to a bigger city (for a myriad of reasons) but the nights like I had last night that make me want to stay.

Thank you so much for reading. I can’t wait to see you all again at the New Years show!

Peace!

Last night (December 19, 2015), The Working class hosted yet another great show. Ryan Problems & The Solutions, and Wyatt Young. The show took place between around 10pm and 1:30am.

 

Ryan Problems & The Solutions are a “Country-fried folk punk [band] from North Bay, Ontario,”[i] that consists of Ryan Problems (lead vocals, harmonica, and guitar), Jo (vocals and percussion), Mike Favretto (mandolin), Uncle Alice (bass), Josh (cajón), and Mad Dog (djembe, percussion). They played a fantastic set last night! Their sound is made up of all-acoustic instruments (other than the electric double bass). It has a ton of twang, and is folky enough to come right out of the east coast! Ryan Problems has a punk-rock voice, however, and it reminds me a lot of bands like PUP, Millencolin, NOFX, and maybe Pennywise! It’s a gritty, raspy, and high voice. I was blown away by just how eclectic their sound is. Every member could also sing flawless harmonies, and the mandolin leads were just plain dope! The band also looked great on stage, taking up all the room they could use on the stage, and looking like they were having a genuine great time playing together. The crowd was definitely feeling their good vibes too, as many were dancing and clapping along in their seats (myself including), and some full out dancing in the open space before the stage. It was my first experience watching this band perform, and I was amazed by just how tight the band was, and by their stellar musicianship. These people are pros and should be recognized as such!

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Check out Ryan Problems & The Solutions here!

 

Wyatt Young is Travis Major (Guitar and vocals), Jamie MacKay (Guitar and backup vocals), Chris McCoy (bass), and Brendan Colameco (drums). Only Travis Major and Jamie Mackay performed, however. It was an intimate show, an acoustic and an electric guitar and their voices; they even decorated the stage with a grandfather clock, trees and candles. The electric guitar was very ambient-sounding, as it was drenched in reverb, delay, and other effects. It was a nice addition to the acoustic guitar rhythm. Major’s voice was on point, and he proved his wide-ranged vocal abilities, as he sang his songs with passion, and with a lot of embellishments (the way a gospel singer would). Their sound reminded me a lot of The Tallest Man On Earth. The two were playing beautiful guitars: A Gibson ES 335, and what looked like a Taylor 410ce (I could be wrong here). The duo played very well, and their music does sound very good, but I do have a few issues with their performance last night. For one, the set was way too long (nearly 3 hours for what felt like 30 songs). They also played mostly new material, which was great, but their set could have used more songs from their EP, “Peace Be Your Eternity” (which is fantastic, I do recommend it), and more covers just to keep it interesting. I felt that their set seemed a little too repetitive, and my attention and interest dwindled after the first hour of their performance. They did play a Fleetwood Mac cover, which brought me back near the end, and that’s why I feel as though more well-known covers would have benefited them greatly. To be honest, what I would have rather seen was Wyatt Young play an hour set and open for Ryan Problems & The Solutions. If not, then at least have their sound turned down so the crowd could also enjoy each other’s company during the 3-hour set.

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Support them on their Facebook page here!

 

Those were my thoughts on last night’s show. I did really enjoy the music from both bands. Every single person who took the stage was fantastic as both musicians and performers. Despite my issues with the Wyatt Young set, I had a great time, and I can’t wait for the next show!

 

Thanks for reading! And please go an check out the two bands. You’re missing out otherwise!

 

Cheers!

[i] Taken from their Facebook page. I couldn’t describe them any better than that!

Last Sunday (December 13, 2015), The Working Class, also known as my new favourite place in the world, hosted a damn good show: Cancer Bats from Toronto, also featuring Lord Dying from Portland, Oregon, and local hardcore heroes, The Payoff. The sold out show took place between 9pm and just past midnight. Despite it being Sunday, the venue was filled to capacity, and the energy was destructive (both figuratively and literally)!

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Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats killing it.

The Payoff is a Timmins local five-member beatdown hardcore act. It consists of Joel Dumas (Vocals), Joey Polowy (Lead Guitar), Bee Rad (Rhythm Guitar), Craig-Ryan Larocque (Bass Guitar), and Krys Saudino (Drums). They’re set was short and sweet, and hard and aggressive. They served as the perfect opening act as they warmed up the crowd for the chaos to come. I loved Joel’s energy. He always does a great job at engaging the crowd; making hand gestures to emphasize the lyrics he sings, and making eye contact with individuals in the crowd, which altogether enables us to feel his energy. He’s everything I want to see in a frontman. The instrumentation was also on point. The guitar tones were heavy and the bass was not subdued in the mix; it was prominent and accentuated the “beatdowness” of their sound. I could clearly hear the contrasting frequencies (highs, mids, and lows) in the spectrum. Finally, the drums were nice and tight. I really love Krys’s drum tone; I could feel the kick drum deep in my chest, and the snare is punchy, clear, and groovy. I really could not expect any more or any less from The Payoff. They played a new track, (the title of which I didn’t catch) and it was also great. My question is, when are they going to come out with some recorded material?!

Check out The Payoff’s Facebook page here!

Lord Dying is a four-piece band, but I’m assuming their bassist could not make the trip up north as he was missing from the stage. The band is composed of Erik Olson on guitar and lead vocals, Don Capuano on bass, Nickolis Parks on drums, and Chris Evans on guitar as well.[i] Their lack of a bassist did not prevent me from enjoying their set, however. Their sound is pulverizing, doomy, sludgy, and just all around heavy. They don’t even need a bassist, (and this is coming from a bassist)! They really remind me of bands like High On Fire, Mastodon, Electric Wizard, etc. The vocals are very much in the mid-to-high range, and Olson does a great job at conveying anger and fury. The drummer is really tight and impressive to watch. Another element I liked about their set was how well they looked on the stage: The two guitarist were playing (what seemed like) the same guitar model (LTD Eclipse Deluxe EC-1000), one with a pearl-white finish, and another with a flamed maple top, and a see-through black finish. I really liked the look of the contrasting guitars. Behind them were 2 Marshall half stacks (a JCM 900 and a JCM800), one on each side of the drums. The bass drum also had an incredible looking design. The band looked professional all around. And speaking of professional, during their first song, the power was cut out to their entire left channel, yet they kept playing as though nothing had happened. The problem was short-lived as Ritchie Caron (the sound technician) and Krys Saudino jumped to the rescue and solved the issue. They gave us a great performance, and I’m glad they came all the way up here to play for us.

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Check out their music video for “Poisoned Altars”!

Finally, we get to the meat of the article; the headlining set, Cancer Bats. The band is made of Liam Cormier (Vocals), Scott Middleton (Guitar), Mike Peters (Drums), and Jaye R. Schwarzer (Bass). They killed it, ladies and gentlemen. The crowd ate them up and loved every moment of it. Cancer Bats are a doom flavoured southern metal band. Their sound is very reminiscent of Black Sabbath and Pantera, and has a modern edge to it that makes it unique in my opinion. Their music is heavy, sludgy, gritty, and very groovy, (I don’t think I stopped dancing throughout their entire set). Their performance began with some low droning guitar chords and Cormier inviting the crowd to approach the stage. As soon as we did, the band exploded with “True Zero” from their new record, “Searching For Zero”, which I highly recommend!

Cancer Bats - Searching For Zero
Click here for a taste!

Throughout their set, the band played some of my favourites from their previous record, like “R.A.T.S.”, “Road Sick”, and “Bricks and Mortar”, which is one of my favourite tracks in their entire catalogue. It’s deadly, heavy and catchy as all hell! “Grief like a halo around my neck… MY SALVATION! BRICKS AND MORTAR!!!” They also played a few of their older classics like “Pneumonia Hawk” and “Hail Destroyer”. The band maintained their energy throughout the entire set; they head-banged wildly, jumped about, and beat their instruments into a pulp. Cormier is a great frontman. He maintained his vocal abilities for every song he sang, and proved to be an all-around awesome dude. He gave shout-outs to the opening acts, as well as to the guys who own and run the venue (Johnny Cayen and Krys Saudino). He gave us Timminites respect and praise for our great bourgeoning music scene. He was also very funny at times. I had the opportunity to shoot the shit with him after the show at their merchandise table, and he’s just a rad dude altogether. I was really impressed. The band concluded their set with a banger, “Satellites”. The crowd chanted for more, but we didn’t get more. However, that was okay with me, because “Satellites” was a perfect song to close with.

Overall, I was incredibly impressed with every performance of that night. I had a great time, and I could see on the faces of everyone else there that I wasn’t alone in how I felt about the night. It was definitely one of the best shows I’ve personally been to in my hometown, and one for the books altogether!

Thanks so much for reading. I apologize for the delay. I really wanted to have this published last week, but I got caught up. I’ll certainly do my best to avoid such delays in the future.

Thanks again!

Peace.

[i] Taken from their Facebook page