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.


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.

How I Got Into Punk Rock. Conclusion.

And now, the conclusion as to what brought me to the present.

After hearing ‘American Idiot’; and deciding to be a ‘Punk’, I started hanging with my one Punk friend. And researching the genre. Whether by spending a few hours on a library computer, asking my parents what they knew, or reading the books that had been written on the subject.

Green Day was no longer the only band I was listening to. I started listening to what little Punk my parents had, and I listened intently to the ‘Alternative’ radio stations. That led to alot of (home-made) mixtapes with everything from Billy Idol to Teenage Head.

Around the time I was 15, I was getting alot of crap from certain members of the church for the whole Punk thing.  (Apparently; a knee-length kilt, a Green Day shirt, dyed red hair, Converse, and bad-mouthing the U.S was a no-no. I soon quit.)

That led to the Goth phase and that  lasted for 3 years. (I still listen to the music, but I am totally devoted to the Punk scene at this point.)

I remember exactly how I fell back in love with Punk, and how I actually got into the scene here in Hamilton.

It was a June day, and I was visiting Crash Landing. As I leaving, the owner Suzanne Kirkwood, handed me a flyer. She told me there was going to be something called a ‘Punk Rock Matinee’ that weekend at a place called the Casbah.

I took the flyer, thanked her, and left. All could think was how weird this sounded. I knew what Punk Rock was, and I knew what a matinee was, but throw them together? What the hell was that?

I finally decided to go. I figured if it’s sh*t, I don’t have to go again.

But after I made the decision to go, I started to get nervous. I read books, and I listened to ‘Ongoing History Of New Music.’  I knew Punk could get down-right violent!

I honestly thought I was going to die. The pit would crush me, the lead singer would have glass shards like Iggy and stab me….

But curiousity prevailed. I am not lying when I tell you I felt a tug and knew I had to go.

I was one of the first people there, and it was quiet. I met someone who introduced himself as Randy,  and we talked a little. He assured me that the place would fill up, and I seriously doubted him.

But I shouldn’t have. The Casbah was soon packed with Punks, and I was gladly proven wrong. Even if I didn’t know that many people, it felt great to see people that looked a little like me.

From the time the first band ,(out of 4 or 5 that would play in a row), went on and I moshed, I knew something.

Wherever this music was, I was supposed to be there too.

Oh, and everything was fine. No one died, and there was no danger.

Today, I am so glad I went to that first show. Punk and the people within it have given me so many things: Wonderful friends. Great music. A place to belong. Something to contribute to.

But mostly, Punk has given me a second home.