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.

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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!

 

No S.C.E.N.E For Kristine. But There Will Always Be More Music.

(*Note. This is intended as a humorous article. The facts are true, but my melancholy, overstatements, and pomposity are all jokes.)

This post is supposed to be about all the fun times I had at the S.C.E.N.E Music Festival. I’m supposed to talk all about how I went to St. Catharines and the people were floored.

I was supposed to interview a great-but-undiscovered band and bring them to the Canadian consciousness. In doing so, I would prove what a spectacular talent I was. I would write my article and show my photos, and win myself a few prizes along the way. (I’m thinking a Governor Generals Award or three. And a couple of Granges. Nothing major. Yet.)

But none of it turned out that way because the universe hates me.

Instead, the night before S.C.E.N.E, I was admitted to the hospital with a migraine and severe dehydration. And the prescription to rid my ails? (Aside from some medicine.) ‘Plenty of rest.’

There went all my hopes and dreams, down the drain!  I felt like crying bitter tears. I felt like pounding my fists into the wall. I felt like tearing the very hair from my head.

This has given me inspiration for a new book. ‘Lamentations.’ (Nobody’s written that before right?) And even if they did, they don’t comprehend my pain. I mean, I missed a music festival. That’s like dying.

But there is an upside: The Canada Day weekend shines like a lighthouse. At Gage Park, there is It’s Your Festival. Snakecharmer, Frankie and Jimmy, and more will be playing. (It’s free.)

And Canada Day, This Ain’t Hollywood will celebrating the independence of our nation by shattering the sound barrier around it. There is going to be a Punk Rock matinée that runs from 5:00pm to 1:00am. We’re finally going to see and hear the result of all this waiting on one, all-Hamilton comp. ($10 gets you into the show and a record.)

On The Road Again. I’m Headed For S.C.E.N.E

Summer really is a key time for music.

No sooner does Burlington Sound Of Music wrap up, and S.C.E.N.E music festival arrives.

I worked as a photographer and reviewer for this years BSOM, and I’ll be working S.C.E.N.E in the same roles. (Except the interviews and photos will be for Thunder.)

While it’s exciting, it’s also got me nervous. I’m further from home, (I’ve actually never been to St. Catharines), and I haven’t got work backing me.

So here’s hoping all goes well!!

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.

It’s That Time Of Year Again. Rebel Fest Is Back For A Second Year.

If anyone has been checking any kind of listing lately, they know what is coming tomorrow. Rebel Fest, which had its first edition last year, is back this year.

For those that don’t attend Punk shows regularly, Rebel Fest is a 2 day marathon of Punk Rock bands; focusing on the Canadian scene. (But this year, a band from France has been included in the line-up.) All varieties play, from the Hard-Core Born Wrong to the political Rebel Spell.

For those that are regular attendees, we know it’s a great time of  year for a lot of reasons. We get to see Punks in our community. We get to meet people from the other scenes. We get to support some good causes with our admissions. And of course, we get to hear stellar Punk Rock from a variety of places.

It may only be 2 days, but they are days I look forward to months in advance.

Whether you are new to Punk Rock, or someone who has been listening for years, I highly encourage everyone to check out this event. It’s $10 both days, All-Ages, and it all kicks off at 7:00 pm tomorrow.