Black power

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Hitting bookshelves this week is What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal (Bazillion Points, 192 pp, $16.95) by Toronto author, cultural critic and blogger Laina Dawes. Dawes blurs lines and blows up misconceptions from a perspective of being a woman of colour entrenched in the white-male-dominated world of heavy metal. Her early passion for the music leads her to the underground extreme metal scene, where she looks around the mosh pit in search of other women as eager as she is to pitch a flag and claim their rightful place in heavy metal.

Dawes writes directly from the heart, with personal memories of rampant sexism and racism hitting close to the bone. She also makes way for similar voices, including Skunk Anansie’s Skin, who provides the electrifying foreword to the book. Dawes tackles the subjects of sexism and racism, which sadly remain present in many aspects of the heavy metal world. Particularly eye-opening is her personal take on the 1995 “white power” speech by Phil Anselmo, which happened here in Montreal.

If you’re a die-hard fan of metal, identify as a feminist or just an individual who feels excluded by society’s strict codification, this book is utterly mandatory.

Now, here’s the gigs, kids.

Wednesday – The fine furry folks from one of Montreal’s greatest wax shacks, Cheap Thrills, once again take over the turntables at Casa with their long-running monthly residency. These vinyl fiends are not afraid to mix up the styles, running the gamut from black metal to whimsical indie rock, so expect the unexpected.

Thursday – Montreal’s power-pop/rockers Dead Messenger are a mere breath away from putting the final touches on their sophomore record and will be filling up their set list with new jams when they open for the In and Outs at Divan Orange. Providing the tuneage between sets is les Breastfeeders’ six-string slinger DJ Sunny.

Friday – San Francisco’s Maus Haus describe themselves as a combination of Kraftwerk, the Beach Boys and Sonic Youth. Questions? Best of all, Maus Haus will wear these influences on their sleeves at one of the best-sounding rooms in the city, Club Lambi.

For more balls-to-the-wall rock, the Barfly is once again the place to be to catch Toronto’s Hussy and Das Rad with locals Small Teeth warming up the room.

Saturday – Proving you can never keep a good punk down, ex-Sainte Catherines and Yesterday’s Ring yelper Hugo Mudie gets back in the game with his new project, Miracles. They launch their debut record at at Quai des Brumes, with Off With Their Heads and Panic Attack.

If you want a little bit more d-beat and noise mixed with your punk, you can check out Nagoya, Japan’s D-Clone with New York’s Perdition and local miscreants Truncheons at Katacombes.

If you’re seeking more metal in the pedals, you won’t want to miss Toronto’s Cauldron lay down some old-school thrash with birds of a feather Metalian, Joe Thrasher and Warsenal at Hemisphère Gauche.

Sunday – For a perfect Sunday evening, you can head down to Divan Orange to catch the trancey psych-folk of Maica Mia with Sathönay and Regis Victor. For a Maica Mia taste test, head over to her Bandcamp page and stream her debut record Sparcity Blues.

Not surprisingly, there’s a metal show on the Sabbath, starring Septicflesh, Krisiun, Ex Deo, Melechesh and Inquisition level Café Campus. Choose wisely, young heshers!

Monday – Probably the most important Canadian punk/hardcore band ever — D.O.A.— is finally hanging up its Doc Martens. Thankfully, they’re playing one last show in Montreal. Often cited for coining the term “hardcore” in 1981, D.O.A.’s influence on independent touring and punk rock’s DIY-deology cannot be overstated. You can wave a fond farewell to these lumberjack punks at Foufounes.

While that’s certainly a big-ticket event, my pick of the week also happens on Monday, when the hardcore breakdowns of Bane rattle the walls at Sala, with openers Code Orange Kids and Get the Shot. If you miss the good ol’ days of Victory and Equal Vision Records, do yourself a favour and search out Bane’s 2005 blaster, The Note. ■

Current obsession: godspeed you! black emperor, Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

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