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.

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.

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 Destroy Music/ Imants Krumins Day.

(*Note: Some items in this article are meant for humor. They are intended for that purpose and that alone. They, and all other material, are covered under section 2 B of the Canadian Charter Of Rights and Freedoms.)

(**Note: Unfortunately, I missed the first band of the evening, which was the spectacular NOT. Sorry about that fellas!)

July 1st, 2012 was an epic day.

Music was destroyed. And rebuilt the way I and so many others have been waiting for.

A new issue of Thunder came out on paper. (Call me biased, but this was the best event of the day. It beat out ALL the celebrations. What country had a birthday again?)

The all-Hamilton compilation so many have been waiting for was finally released. (Yes, Brantford’s Nothing Helper. And yes Stoney Creek’s NOT.  I count all of you one of us.)

I’m divided as to what the most spectacular part of the day and night were.

On one hand, of course the music. It featured a boatload of bands that are my personal favorites, and the style variations were phenomenal. Hangman Pinata’s Jazz-infused Punk to the Krumones reinvention of classic Ramones tones? (And’s that’s just one example of the evening.)Stunning.

On the other, getting to be a part of something so amazing while it’s happening. I used to read, and still do, about Punk Rock when it began. And I wished I could have been a part of what took place.

When I go to an event like this and have so much fun with my friends like I did, I feel like we are in the midst of what’s happening’s for Punk in this great city.

1st Band I Saw: The Pre-Nods.

There is small minority of people within the Punk community, (and let’s face it we all know at least one), who say that ‘Punk Is Dead.’ (Despite being involved with it themselves, and there being Punk bands today.)

I would invite anybody who believes that statement to come see a Pre-Nods show. Especially when they are in a fantastic mode of playing, like Canada Day.

With the Pre-Nods, you can not only see Punk is alive and well. You can hear it too.

10 out of 10.

2nd Band: Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans.

Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans frontman Erik Begg often jokes he is getting older and losing his memory. (He turned 40 earlier this year.) A lot of the time, we as an audience joke back with him, and know it is just that.

But I think Mr! Erik has talked himself into having some of his symptoms, because on Canada Day, he forgot two important elements of the usual performance.

1: Tiny Red Human and Tiny Blue Human.

2: The stage.

Instead, Mr! Erik performed an acoustic set outside.

Early memory loss aside, the set was superb. It was nice to get outside and see something different. (The Tiny Humans are more recent additions to the Wiggler!?! music project.) There was plenty of singing along, prompted or not. So it was a lot of fun.

10 out of 10.

3rd Band: Steeltown Spoilers.

One of the bands that could get me on my feet, (and pirating the stage for ‘I Love Livin’ In The City’) even if I had smallpox.

The Spoilers haven’t been playing a lot of late, so it was awesome to see them again. What made it that much better was that they had new material, as political and Hamilton as any fan would expect.

There was some small, but admirable; mosh pits going while The Spoilers played. Which tells me I wasn’t the only one happy to see the band onstage again.

10 out of 10.

4th Band: Hangman Pinata.

I hadn’t seen Hangman Pinata in quite some time, so when I heard that they would be playing the Destroy Music release party, I was ecstatic.

They are one of the most original bands coming out of Hamilton, (combining Jazz, Hard-Core Punk, and Ska to great effect), and while nothing can ever recreate ‘that moment’ when you first see a great band live; Hangman Pinata nearly did just that.

Their set was fantastic. They played their music well, it was original, and it was good as the first round.

No wonder people talk about them so much.

10 out of 10.

5th Band: Nothing Helper.

While TECHNICALLY not a Hamilton band, (they are from Brantford), I consider Nothing Helper one of us.

They share our humor. They share our love of Punk. And the music backing their lyrics sounds as good as any Hamiltonian could produce on bass, drums, or guitar.

As much I love the music though, I have to love the lyrics and show that accompany a Nothing Helper set. Wackiness ensues, and I’m clapping and laughing at the same time.

It really is the mark of true showmanship when you not only get a set. You get a show.

10 out of 10.

6th Band: Rackula.

I can’t count how many times I have seen this marvelous, all-female Punk band.

But every time, I walk away from the set thinking how great they were.

Their Canada Day performance was splendid, as they broke out a ton of their old songs, and their newer material.

What I thought was really cool was to see all the young guys, listening to Rackula’s brand of Punk. (Which includes a feminist message.) It’s always good to have a message, but it’s even better to have people who listen and cheer it on.

10 out of 10.

7th Band: T.V Freaks.

T.V Freaks…. T.V Freaks…. T.V Freaks….

This is a band that leaves my music-loving ears ever divided.

I LOVE their sound. It’s very raw, it’s very early Punk, and it captures the city in it’s sound somehow.

But the onstage antics Canada Day? (Shivers and claps at the same time.)

First came the remarks about male organs. I don’t need to hear how you would like to have a bigger…. appendage. Humor and antics are fine, but it’s the wording that gets me.

The redeeming moment? When the T.V Freaks frontman climbed on one of the amps. This was a moment of sheer brilliance, and reminded me of Teenage Head’s late Frankie Venom.

When all is said and done; I see a lot for the T.V Freaks. If they could cut SOME of the R-rated stuff.

9 out of 10.

8th Band: The Krumones.

I have never attended a full tribute set. (A lot of bands I see will play covers. But they will be by various artists.)

The Krumones were the first, full tribute band I had ever seen. Mercifully, they did a spectacular job. (You hear horror stories about these things.)

The keys, I think, to the band’s successful set was that:

1: They didn’t dress up like anyone in the Ramones. If they had, I would have jumped out the nearest window.

2: They didn’t perform all the obvious songs. I appreciated this, because it led to some new favorites.

The Krumones got a great reaction. People were dancing, people were singing along, and people looked liked they were having the time of their lives.

I would love to see the Krumones again.

10 out of 10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.)

5 Years In The Hamilton Punk Scene. (And I Can’t For More.)

(*Note: I know this is over a week early, but I expect to be busy in the upcoming weeks, and I wanted to write this while I was thinking about it.)

Come the 18th of June, there is an anniversary I celebrate.

On that day 5 years ago, I first attended a Punk show in Hamilton.

I know I have told this story before, but I love it. About this time 5 years ago, I went into Crash Landing. After paying for my purchases, store owner Suzanne handed me a flyer.

‘There’s a Punk Rock matinée next week. You should come.’ she said smiling.

I went to the show, petrified I would die.

But I had the time of my life. And since then, Punk has been one amazing experience after another for me.

I’ve heard more music than I thought could ever exist. And then I hear more.

I’ve taken thousands of pictures.

I have written thousands of words.

I’ve been to more shows than I can count.

But most of all, I have met some of the most amazing people in the world.

And my favorite part is that it’s all happened in my city.

I want to thank everyone that makes my experience of this scene so awesome. I will be thanking people in person as I see them at shows.

(* I wrote names as they came to me. I appreciate everyone and what they bring to the scene equally.)

Thank you for the 5 years of Punk, (and more in the future):

Suzanne

Crash

Nathaniel

Randy

The ladies of Rackula (All incarnations of the band)

The guys of Adelleda

The guys of Web Society

The guys of Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans

Kelsey

Hailey

Phil

Craig

Missy

The guys of Born Wrong

The guys of Hangman Pinata

Jaime P.

Glen

Jody

The guys of the 413s

The guys of NOT

I also want to thank:

The bands from out of town

The bands of different genres

The staff of each venue

The independent record stores

The legal online music sites

The Hamilton Public Library

And The all free festivals.

All this contributes to my love of Punk, and love of music in various ways.

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.