Review of Slamfest’s 2 Year Anniversary

*Note: I was not able to stay for the entire matinee. And I forgot my memory card, so I have no pictures to link to.

A lot can happen in two years. Companies can form, people can start a life together, families can grow.
But on Sunday July 28th, 2 years was marked as an anniversary for Hammer City Records and their Sunday Slamfest matinees.
Always 4 or 5 great bands at an awesome price, Sunday Slamfest has been giving Punk Rockers in Hamilton somewhere to go at the end of every month for 2 years now.
I attended this past Slamfest and it was fantastic as always.
Before I dive into my quick review, I want to thank Craig and Leah, the staff at Hammer City Records, Jaime Problem, and everyone at This Ain’t Hollywood. They all do such amazing work.

1st Band: Sketchbooks.

Sketchbooks is one of those bands that make my personal top 30, and I was really happy to see them. (Before, I had only heard their mp3s.)
Their live set only adds to the experience if you’re a fan. Their set ignited the place. Fast, ferocious, fuzzy Hardcore blared out at me from the band and it was awesome.
Adding to the set was that the singer stood in the pit and let people join in. In my opinion, that’s important. Let your fans join you, and you’ll only see good results.

10 out of 10.

2nd Band: System System.

System System were a completely new band to me. I had never heard anything by them, so it was a nice surprise to see and hear this great band that reminded me of 80’s Hardcore.
The whole band worked as a great unit, playing hard and furious.
My only complaint is I had some problems understanding the lyrics, but other than that their set was great.

9 out of 10.

What’s Coming Up In Ontario.

*Note: All prices are in Canadian funds.

 

I was thinking recently about two things.

1: We don’t have much of the year left.

2: I haven’t written recently about upcoming shows.

So I decided to gather up a bunch of dates that I knew about and put them up. I’ve seen a lot of the local bands before, so when I say a show by them would be worth seeing, take a woman at her word.

 

In the Legendary category, the Misfits play Toronto. Tonight. The venue is the Opera House, and if you feel like trying to get in, go for it! I have the start time at 6:30pm, and there are quite a few opening bands. (I only know tickets are available at Rotate This. I don’t have any information on prices.)

 

On October 26th, Witch Mountain, Swords Of Texas, Quiet Lakes, and Castle play the Doors Pub. Tickets are $10 in advance, (you can get them at Hammer City Records or Dr Disc) or $15 at the door. The show starts at 10pm.

 

Also on October 26th, there is Hallowpunk at the 460 in Toronto. Bourbon DK, The Skullians, The Rebel Arms and more play the event. It’s a 19+ show and admission is $5.

 

October 27th is this year’s Zombie Walk date!  There’s the walk, a public wedding, and more; so please check out hamiltonzombiewalk.com to plan your day! Also, please remember food for the food drive. There’s admission for some activities. (But it’s mostly under $20.)

 

Sunday Slamfest 16 happens on October 28th at This Ain’t Hollywood. It’s $6 to get in, bands go on at 3pm, and it’s All-Ages. This will be a bittersweet show, as this is Web Society’s last before they take a hiatus. They play alongside Social Divorce, The Noble Savages, and Slender Loris.

 

To celebrate Halloween, the folks at the Bovine Sex Club are throwing a Punk show. Costumes are welcome, it’s 19+, doors open at 9pm, and it’s FREE! Who’s playing? The Skullians, Black Cat Attack, and a few more.

 

Another awesome, completely FREE show takes place the same night. (Why does that always happen?)  Frankie and Jimmy, Lab Rats Assemble, and D*Files play This Ain’t Hollywood on October 30th. Show is 19+ and costumes are welcome.

 

The actual day, (and appropriately, night), of Halloween, there are at least 3 different shows to go to. Doors Pub is having a Goth/Fetish party; with candy, a horror movie marathon, and prizes for best costumes. It’s $10 admission, things kick off at 8pm, and the event is 19+.

 

This Ain’t Hollywood hosts an electronica dance party for Halloween, with Ark Analog, Dex, and more. It’s $5 to get in before 10pm, $8 after. I don’t know if this event is All-Ages or 19+.

 

Napalm Death play the Opera House on the 1st of November with municipal Waste, Vektor, and Exhumed. That’s about all I know right now though, so if you’re heading out, Go*gle the bands or check the venue for things like prices, age requirements, etc.

 

Gatling play the All-Star Bar and Grill in Brampton November 3rd. (The address is 73 Bramalea Road, Brampton. For those of you like me, that know their hometown; but after that get hopelessly lost.) Joining them is Skatalyst, Ravyn’s Fall, and quite a few more. Tickets are $10, and I don’t know if this is All-Ages or not. As always, check before you head out.

 

Also happening November 3rd, Hangman Pinata play the Doors Pub with Meathook, Miner69er, and Bad Logic. (For now. More bands are to be announced, according to my information.)  This show is 19+, costs $5, and gets started at 9pm.

 

November the 10th, Gag Order play Charlie’s in Brantford. (43 Oak Street, Brantford.) This is their bass player’s last show, so it’s sort of a send-off party/show, too. Playing alongside them are End Program, Hangman Pinata, and Hooker Spit. This show is 19+, and things get started 9pm. Admission is $5.

 

Punk and New Wave legends The Rezillos play This Ain’t Hollywood November 23rd. Rounding out the show are Wiggler!?! and The Tiny Humans, and The Fuckholes. I don’t know how much tickets will be, or if the show is All-Ages or 19+, so definitely check This Ain’t Hollywood’s site.

 

What’s better than an awesome Punk show?  Helping to give a kid a holiday.                                                                                                                       Burly Calling is having it’s annual Toy Drive on the 6th of December, and if you donate a new toy; you get to see The Spicoli’s, Adelleda, and more!  (Admission is $5 without a toy. This event is 19+. Things kick off at 9pm at Joe Dog’s Burlington. 531 Brant Street, Burlington.)

 

That’s all I know about for now. I hope everyone gets out and enjoys themselves!

 

Review Of The September 30th Slamfest.

*NOTE: The following are the opinions of the person providing them, and are protected under the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms, Section 2 B.

**Note: All possible research has been done regarding the incident readers will read about when they come to the section about Armed and Hammered.

Recently, I noticed Sunday Slamfest, (the local monthly Punk show in my city), has been happening for 15 months. (And we’re close to another one.)

I say ‘I noticed’ because I’m peculiar person. I know anniversaries and birthdays, but I get busy having fun at events.

The result is the full awe or impact usually hits me after the event in a quiet moment by myself.

(E.g: ‘Wow. This is event 15? That’s amazing. I’m so happy for them and proud.’)

And the above was what I was feeling. I saw the bands who would be playing, who was there, and thought “They’ve done it again. Another great show.”

1st band: At What Cost.

Kicking off the afternoon, and it’s very political undertone, At What Cost went on first.

They’re always fantastic to see, because they always make you think. Their lyrics touch on themes of censorship, economics, oppression, and more.

But at the same time, they are catchy as hell. I dare anyone to listen to songs such as ‘Feels Like 1984’ and not get it stuck in their head.

Their musicianship hits just the right level too, being hard-hitting enough to feel like the kick we all need; while being appealing enough to keep anyone interested coming back for another round.

10 out of 10.

 

2nd Band: Gag Order.

Gag Order, to me, are a great example of modern Hardcore.

Most songs clock in at under 3 minutes. The instrumentation is hard-hitting. And while their songs are short, their lyrical content covers so much. Corrupt government, modern technology, lying. (And that’s just what I can think of from my MP3 player.)

They’re really one of those bands you absolutely have to see live. There’s no other way to say it.

You have to see the crowd interaction with your own eyes. You have to feel the instruments humming through the amp and your feet.

But mostly, you have to hear those songs with your own ears.

10 out of 10.

 

3rd Band: Armed and Hammered.

I’ll admit it. When I heard Armed and Hammered would be playing this past Slamfest, I felt my half giddy/half anxious feeling.

Controversy has followed this band ever since 1995. (They were part of an AIDS benefit concert to raise money for the cause. They said  something as part of a routine, and while I can see how people would be hurt, I believe it was part of that routine. I don’t think the band meant any ill-intent, especially when the words are placed with the rest of the routine. But as always, I can’t speak for anyone and they can’t speak for me. I can only know why I do things, and I believe that is true for everyone.)

Now, as for the show I attended, it was eventful and uneventful at the same time. (Which was perfect.)

It was uneventful in the way that no bad controversy happened. (No one misinterpreted anything, no one replaced the Armed and Hammered performance with an R.E.M video, etc.)

And it was eventful in the way that I’ve gotten to see yet another amazing Canadian Punk band. The band has been going, in some form or another, since 1989.

Seeing this band, like seeing any of the Greats, was like seeing a wonder of the world.

10 out of 10.

Review Of The ‘Punk In The Creek’ Matinee.

(*Note: Everything contained in this review, whether details of the musical performance or the reactions of the audience, are as written. There have been no exaggerations.)

I acknowledge this review is late.

Usually, I write a review a day after a show. (If I have received a migraine from the glorious noise, it will be 3 days. At most.)

The reason for the delay?

I couldn’t think of what to say to fully describe what I saw and heard.

So below is the best I can do. But I don’t feel as if I’ve captured how spectacular the Punk In The Creek matinée was.

Last Saturday, I went to Stoney Creek for a Punk show. And it was one of those shows that had to be experienced in person. The bands were in great form. The sound was terrific. The atmosphere was amazing.

But mostly, the people responded in a way I would expect of a huge concert, and I saw that Stoney Creek is another place in Ontario that can be a fertile home for Punk.

This was easily one of the 10 best Punk shows I have EVER been too. I hope host Brandon Kummer organizes more matinees, as the audience was a force that seemed eager for more Punk Rock. (And I include myself in that count.)

1st Band: Web Society.

The vocals were clear and sharp. Brandon Kummer’s guitar shredded. Stephen Petrina’s drums pounded. And the bass of Jeffrey Mills thudded. And yet something was different this time.

There was a ferocity and drive that seemed to present itself at unprecedented levels, and it was incredible to witness. Web Society were superbly in their element, and at the best I’ve ever seen and heard them.

For a long time, Web Society was known as a Pop-Punk band. But to see their set on Saturday was to hear a band that was Punk Rock and nothing else.

This was an amazing home-town set, and of a variety I’ve seen all too rarely. (Guest Simon Marshall, of Adelleda, joined the guys for a song and added a cool touch to the already great set.) For people who don’t believe hometown shows make a difference, this was proof.

10 out of 10.

2nd band: The Rebel Arms.

I’ll admit, I was surprised when I heard that the Rebel Arms would be playing this matinée. I thought, for his first effort as an organizer, Mr Kummer would stick with Stoney Creek bands.

But he didn’t, and the Grimsby four-piece took to the stage in one of their most intense shows.

Lead singer Bobby Dell was red in the face and yelling some of the lyrics. While remaining melodic, the music was at the most Hard-Core I’ve ever heard it. The rest of the band was at the best I’ve ever heard them. But coolest of all, Adelleda’s Steve Vos guested as a stand-up drummer. While the Rebel Arms drummer and singer beat on other parts of the kit. That was a hint of the craziness to come later in the evening.

10 out of 10.

3rd Band: NOT.

NOT has always been a great band.

They’ve got a unique sound. (Ska-Punk-Jazz. Skapazz?)

They’re from Stoney Creek, but they come to Hamilton and play killer shows.

And they’re young, but they put more into their shows than some people who are older than them.

But last Saturdays set? HOLY F**K.

Lead singer Nathan Ivanco, who seemed to be taking a cue from the Snakecharmer school of intensity, actually dove into the crowd and yelled lyrics into the face of a friend/ fan.

And the sheer movement of people!

They had massive mosh pits. They came on-stage to guest on songs. And they dove off stage. Nothing stopped moving until the band’s music was done.

This was NOT’s best set, by far. No question.

10 out of 10.

4th Band: Adelleda.

While they tout themselves as a Hamilton band, the fact remains that some members of Adelleda are from Stoney Creek.

So it was interesting to see what they would play like in a home environment.

But while they seemed excited to be playing a home show, they did as they always do. They gave the set their all.

Guitarists Steve Vos and Chris Allan were, as they usually are, the formidable guitar duo providing great riffs.

Drummer Simon Marshall threw out his infectious, thunderous drum beats. (With a ton of energy, despite doing guest vocals on a few sets and moshing much of the night.)

Lead vocalist Adam Shea took a different approach to the night, and spent much of the set in the pit. Even with the going, Adam’s vocals came out great.

Bassist Kevin March’s work was impressive. His bass pounded the air loud and clear.

Alot of craziness ensued with Adelleda’s set. I got to guest on some songs. People threw a couch. Everyone in the audience came on-stage to sing the final song.

In short, Adelleda didn’t disappoint.

10 out of 10.

I would like to thank Brandon Kummer for organizing this show, the interview he gave, and the treatment I received as the photographer. It was an awesome show Brandon , and I hope to see more!

Punk In Church?! It’s Happening Tomorrow In Stoney Creek.

(*Note: The following is meant to be funny. The facts and events are real, but humor is humor and that alone. And as always, it’s covered by the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms, Section 2 B.)

Near Hamilton, there exists a municipality. It’s name is Stoney Creek, and it’s famous for being a major defense site of the war of 1812.

And while we from Hamilton know that musicians, particularly those of the Punk ilk can come from Stoney Creek, we were mystified to hear that a Punk show could happen there.

(Stoney Creek Punk bands are playing their hometown? And even bringing in bands from other cities? What witchcraft is this?!)

But it was announced some weeks ago, and it’s happening tomorrow.

Organized by Web Society’s guitarist and lead vocalist Brandon Kummer, Stoney Creek will have a Punk show. And musicians from the municipality will play there. (The members of Web Society, NOT, and some of Adelleda are all from the area.)

The show will be taking place at Stoney Creek United Church. (1 King Street West, Stoney Creek.)

$5 will get you in, and the first band goes on at 7:30pm.

 

Band times are as such:

Web Society: 7:30pm

Rebel Arms: 8:15pm

NOT: 9:00pm

Adelleda: 9:45pm.

 

I will be going to gawk at the Creekers, I mean document like a professional. And I suggest everyone that can get out do it. It’s rare to see actual Punk Rock in a church. But it’s more rare to see Stoney Creek residents play their hometown.

Review Of Rebel Fest. (Part 2.)

Unlike a lot of people, I’m still as excited for the consecutive days of something as I am for the first day. (Call it a long, weird attention span.)

Rebel Fest last weekend was no different. Day 2 appealed to me as much, if not a little more. (Some bands that were new to me were coming. Not to mention they came from outside of Ontario.)

1st Band: Jesse Lebourdais.

He’s one person with an acoustic guitar, (the ex-singer of Punk band Cambridge), but Jesse filled the venue musically as well as any band could. He touched on a lot of subjects, from a favorite hang-out in Vancouver being changed drastically, to people losing work. Punk is about changing perception and doing things differently, and Jesse is living the ethics in how he performs. 10 out of 10.

2nd Band: Social Club No. 27.

I’m not sure how long ago it was, but for some time, the band Broadcast Zero has been broken up.  Now, three members are back with a new project: Social Club No. 27. It was good to see them performing songs again, and I liken it to Broadcast Zero. (Solid Punk with messages tucked in the lyrics.) I’m interested in seeing them again, as their set was intriguing. Only time will time tell if this project will be as well-liked as Broadcast Zero proved to be,though. 10 out of 10.

3rd Band: Get The Shot.

This band came from Quebec to play Rebel Fest, and it was certainly something to hear and see. Their brand of Punk reminded me of Rage Against The Machine. It was heavy, it had hip-hop elements, and they had a lot to say about people who didn’t take Punk seriously. (They did have pleasant things to say about the Hamilton scene, however.) The singer showed his enthusiasm by going into the crowd and singing in it for a portion of the set, which I always think is a cool touch. They were a little heavy for me, but I do admire all they had to say. And how they said it. 8 out of 10.

4th Band: Nine Eleven.

Nine Eleven is the first international act to play Rebel Fest, (they are originally from France), and this was the band I was properly most eager to see out of sheer curiosity. They were even better than I thought they would be. They had sharp, militant drum beats; powerful vocals; and very politicized views. (Revealed in lyrics on their blog.) Whether you agree with their views, don’t agree, or do a bit of both like myself, you can certainly see that they will make you think. And I think that’s part of what Punk should be. 9 out of 10.

5th Band: La Gachette.

Another act hailing from Quebec, La Gachette certainly have opinions. But their music is on the lighter side, and they certainly don’t seem like they take things too seriously. (Part of their set included a cover of ACDC’s ‘TNT’.) One of the coolest parts of their set, though, was hearing about the band’s trip to Mexico and what the Punk scene is like there. They then played the song that was inspired by the trip, so it all made for a great section of a fantastic set. 10 out of 10.

6th Band: Subsistance.

It’s been a while since I last saw Subsistance, (they too are from Quebec), but the band still gives an amazing set to its audience. They performed my favorite song ‘Keep Up The Fight’, which is about keeping Punk Rock alive, well, and true. Their Hard-Core is a subtle mix of sub-genres, ranging from 80’s D.C Hard-Core, to the Hard-Core that Montreal experienced through-out the years. 10 out of 10.

7th Band: Born Wrong.

What better way to close a Hamilton Punk festival than with the Hamilton Punk band that so many people like? (Those who didn’t attend should have seen all the people, myself included, who clamoured for the microphone to sing along with ‘Burn A Debt.’) Born Wrong are one of my personal favorites, as they blend so many different musical styles into a spectacular Hard-Core set and make it all their own. And what’s more, their lead singer often dives into the audience to sing and mosh with the crowd, giving them a cool opportunity to mix with those who are their fans. 10 out of 10.

Review Of Rebel Fest. (Part 1.)

Note: I know. Rebel Fest was last weekend. But that doesn’t change the fact that I want to give the review that gives credit where it is due.

I’m not an easily excitable person. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy things, but something has to be pretty spectacular to get me waiting eagerly in anticipation. And letting loose once said event comes to existence.

Every year, Rebel Fest gets me waiting and acting less restricted. It is a celebration of the current Canadian Punk landscape, and a lot of people turn out to support the vibrant scene. Bands, individual performers, and of course fans; were all part and parcel to the 2 day marathon of Punk music that took place at This Ain’t Hollywood on April 14th and 15th.

1st Band: At What Cost.

I can no longer see this band and see just ‘a Punk band.’ Instead; because of time and circumstance, I get nostalgic. I know that sounds silly, but I am serious. I have seen the band three times. But the first time I saw them, I was new to Punk shows. And every time I have seen them since, I am reminded of that time. Their music is still cool, politically driven, and socially conscious. And I am still a fan. They still put on kick-a*s shows that make you think. The best part about seeing them live though is how I feel like I’m 17 once again. And how fresh and inspiring everything in Punk feels once more. 10 out of 10.

2nd Band: The Rebel Arms.

It wasn’t that long ago I saw this Grimsby band, and I took an immediate liking to them. Sure they play Hard-Core, but it’s melodic, appealing, and has political overtones. It also has it’s funny moments, making for a wild mix of Punk. This band has an insane amount of energy, which made for some difficult shooting moments, but it all turned out in the end. I love seeing Punk from other areas of Canada, and The Rebel Arms teaming with Rebel Time Records to help produce this festival help provide a great opportunity for that. 10 out of 10.

3rd Band: The Rotten.

Yes, their original songs are brilliant. (They concern the state of modern Punk Rock, Canadian politics, and other topics.) But then; Steeltown Spoilers guitarist Chris Crash was called up to assist on a cover of the Dead Boys seminal ‘Sonic Reducer.’ And everyone in the audience went crazy, myself included. We sang along too,  and it made for some wonderful chaos. 10 out of 10.

4th Band: Brutal Youth.

An already speedy four-piece,it’s like this band took the exquisite craziness left over from the Rotten’s set and transplanted it into theirs. People were literally climbing over one another to sing the bands lyrics up front, and it was amazing to take it all in. Lead singer Patty O Lantern is an especially energetic performer, so it’s interesting to see that manifest in the audience.  But their set, amazingly, has it’s more poignant moments too. Like in the song ‘Postman’, which is about Alzheimer’s affecting a band members grandparent. 10 out of 10.

5th Band: Class Assassins.

Even though they are from Hamilton’s rival city of Toronto, The Class Assassins are always greeted with enthusiasm. And with such timely lyrics, and great music that provides the right amount of punch, it’s easy to see why. Their music talks about a lot, and they perform wonderfully. It’s a fantastic combination, and that is why I remain a fan. 10 out of 10.

6th Band: The Rebel Spell.

Since last year’s Rebel Fest, I have not been able to get this band’s music off my mind. It’s staunchly political, highly opinionated, and full of irony. And yet, it is not preachy. If anything, it’s insanely likeable. Their set was as incredible as the previous year. They exploded into their songs, and the audience responded like they were hearing Punk for the first time. I could not believe it when they performed my favorite song, as it was not on the set list, but myself and a bunch of others were cheering like crazy when they did. (And some of the more nervy ones, like me, went onstage and sang along.) 10 out of 10.