Usually I count down the days until the annual Heavy MTL festival, which gets underway early Saturday and ends late on Sunday. Having seen some incredible sets there by Voivod, Mastodon, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, High on Fire, Slayer and more, I’m truly thankful for the organizers who plant this annual two-day event in my backyard. But, aside from the return of local thrash metal legends Voivod, this year’s edition throws me no bones.
So instead of battling the sun over the weekend, I’ll be propping up the bar of our little local haunts. Here’s why:
Thursday: U.K.-via-Detroit DIY noiseniks Tyvek (think Swell Maps, the Pop Group etc.) return to town with Wet Hair, Los Escuadrones de la Muerte and Ultrathin at Casa del Popolo. If you’re digging the current roster on Detroit’s In the Red label, as well as the early ’80s post-punk barrage, this stacked bill is not to be missed.
Friday: Down at l’Escogriffe, you can catch the grind/thrash blast of the Forum when they release their eponymous debut 7-inch. They’re supported by Scarlet Beast (think Reagan-era hardcore) and the Hazelles. Fans of Nasum and early D.R.I. are definitely going to want to buckle up for this one.
Also happening on Friday is an appearance from my band, USA Out of Vietnam. I usually describe USA… as E.L.O. meets Sunn O))), but you may find that we’re just way too loud, with songs that are way too long. The real reason you should be showing up to Casa on Friday night is to catch the quiet storm of opener Maica Mia. Think Cat Power meets Codeine meets Low. Their debut, Sparcity Blues, is a haunting creeper that is still giving me goosebumps. Definitely bring the sawbucks so you can grab this awesome slab of wax off the merch table.
If you think danger and skewed humour is missing in modern hardcore, you owe it to yourself to see one of Montreal’s best punk bands, Omegas, with Proxy and Vomit Squad at Silver Door. Their aptly titled Blasts of Lunacy is one of the best punk rock LPs ever to burst out of our burg. Darby rides again!
Saturday: Although the aforementioned shows have me more excited than a tween at a Justin Bieber concert, the first big pick of the week is MTLHC legends S.C.U.M., who’ll pack ’em in at Katacombes, with support from Proxy. (Note that this show has been moved from Playhouse, which nearly burned down on Sunday night). This is definitely not to be missed — the chances of seeing this all-original S.C.U.M. line-up again is slim at best.
Sunday: Finally you can wind the weekend down with a Parking Lot Party. Expect an installation piece from Alexis O’Hara, assorted films and projections, a piece of music scored by Suuns’ Ben Shemie — written for and to be performed on a 2009 Subaru Legacy — which includes viola and loops from Set Fire to Flames/hangedup’s Gen Heistek and much, much more. Best of all, this event is free.
Also on Sunday, a rare show from arguably one of the U.S.’s greatest living songwriters, Steve Earle, with his Dukes in tow, at the Corona Theatre. If there’s anybody tailor-made to receive Townes Van Zandt’s jewel-encrusted crown, it would certainly be Earle. This show cannot be anything less than stupendous. ■