Live Sounds: ’77 Montreal Festival

'77 Montreal Festival

Photo By: Tim Snow

On July 28th, 2017, the inaugural ’77 Montreal Festival kicked off at Parc Jean Drapeau in the heart of the city!  “With the ’77 MONTRÉAL project we are hoping to create not just a festival but a living archive of the Montréal Punk scene uniting all the eras of the music we love into one glorious celebration of the genre,” says the festival’s website. “What started on the fringes and developed over a few years came into a focus in 1977. Iggy, The Ramones, The New York Dolls, The 101ers, The Damned, The Saints, and a few others fueled what would be the explosion. That big bang of punk and alternative music would continue expanding until the present day.”

Our day started off with a band called The Creepshow, a band from Burlington, Ontario, Canada.  A psychobilly band whose songs are inspired by horror flicks and have released 4 studio LPs on the Stomp Records label.  I wasn’t familiar with them but their sound caught my ear.  Next up, an acoustic set by Jake Burns, lead singer and guitarist for legendary punk band Stiff Little Fingers.  After his set was the first band we were there to see!

Photo By: Tim  Snow

Bouncing Souls, hailing from New Brunswick, NJ, received the first sizable crowd of the day.  The band has had a successful career and has been able to remain relevant in the punk scene since ’94.  The band also has a special connection with the city as the Montreal Canadiens’ home crowd often likes to chant the bands “Ole” song.  Their setlist could have been the track listing off the greatest hits album, including “Lean on Sheena,” “Manthem,” “True Believers,” “East Coast! FuckYou!,” “Driving All Night,” and 10 more songs that kept the fan singing and moshing the entire time.

Photo By: Cindy Lopez

We skipped The Vandals and X to prepare for my favorite band of the night, The Dropkick Murphys!  Having just released their latest album this year, “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory,” I expected to hear a nice mix of old and new songs from them and they did just that.  Classics like “Barroom Hero,” “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya” and “The State of Massachusetts” were sung just as loud by the fans as the newer songs like “Blood,” “Rose Tattoo,” and “Going Out In Style” were!  Montreal and the Murphys have a strange, close relationship, even though the Murphys are die hard Bruins fans, the people of Montreal seem to forgive them for that.  I’ve never been to one of their shows where they didn’t sound good or have the energy that the crowd has fed off and tonight wasn’t any different.

Photo By: Tim Snow

Punk rock legends Rancid were the last band of the night.  Just like the Murphys, their setlist comprised of greatest hits and new songs.  “Troublemaker” is their latest album and fans were treated to songs “Telegraph Avenue” and “Ghost of Chance” off the new album.  Popular songs like “Time Bomb,” “Fall Back Down,” “Ruby Soho,” “Roots Radical,” and “Where I’m Going” spun the crowd into a frenzy!  Rancid is another band that still have the same phenomenal live sound that made them popular over 25 years ago!  And just when you thought the show was over, Rancid and the Murphys came back out to play an encore together!  The fans were surprised with 4 covers by the bands. “Cretin Hop” by the Ramones, “I Fought The Law” by The Clash, “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash and “TNT” by AC/DC!

Photo By: Vitor Munhoz

Overall, I thought the festival was a success!  They had a decent-sized crowd, and I really liked the location and setup of the show and the lineup was filled with the who’s who of punk.  I enjoyed the record fair and poster expo, it made the event feel like a true celebration of punk music.  The group of fans that were there were great and respectful, if someone fell in the pit, people helped pick them back up.  There were water filling stations where you could fill up water bottles for free and they also had free phone charging stations as well.  The only negatives I have about the show was the lack of food vendors and the prices of the food.  $7 for a burger is a bit much, even for a concert.  Also, I couldn’t find anywhere to wash my hands with soap.

I hope there’s another show next year. I’d really like to see acts like Pennywise and the Offspring in the lineup.  ’77 Montreal Festival is the newest must-do event of the summer!  For more info, check out their website at 77montreal.com.

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