I spent the last weekend at Music 4 Cancer fest in Ste-Thérèse. It wasn’t my first time at that fest, but this year was definitely the best one ever. First of all, when the line up was announced a couple of months ago, I couldn’t believe it. I told myself it was going to be the best 90s punk rock party ever: Belvedere, Bigwig, Good Riddance, No Fun at All and Ten Foot Pole at the same place, at the same time. Insane! And I was stoked to finally have the chance to see Straightline, A Vulture Wake and Chaser. You add to this already perfect line up most of my favorite Quebec bands and then, Much the Same, my favorite band. I just couldn’t miss that fest, type 1 diabetes or not. Because yeah, as much as I was excited to see so many great bands, M4C was my very first fest with needles and insulin. Quite a challenge, but a challenge I was more than ready to take up.
So my weekend really started with A Vulture Wake on Friday night. I’m sorry I missed the first two bands; there was no gluten free beer on the site so I had to drink before getting there 😉 But I have to say I catched a couple of songs from the Nirvana tribute band and they were really good. A Vulture Wake was great! It was the first time I had the chance to see them live and I’m really glad I did. I have to admit that I’m really not a ska fan so I spent most of the ska tribute sets catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Because in the end, this is also what a fest is about.
I was so excited to see Belvedere. I stopped counting the number of times I’ve seen them live a long time ago, but I’m always super happy to catch them. Those guys have such a beautiful energy. I like seeing bands having fun on stage because it really shows that they’re doing it for good reasons: fun and the love of music. You just have to look at Steven Rawles’ smile and you know that guy is doing what he really loves. After Belvedere, it was time for Bigwig to get on the stage. Sometimes people complain that they’ve seen them way too many times because they haven’t recorded new songs for a very long time. I know, it’s true. But come on guys, it’s Bigwig! I could never get tired of seeing them live and I go to their shows everytime they play in Ottawa because I know it’s always going to be a great and fun show. Friday night was no exception. And it’s so cool to hear the crowd singing all the songs. It’s definitely one of the things I like the most about fests: the crowd singing. After a poutine and a rollercoaster of blood sugar (damn, I really don’t get how to adjust my insulin to crappy food), it was time to see Good Riddance. I’m pretty sure everybody in the crowd already had the chance to see them live, but those guys killed it once again. What a great way to end the first night of M4C VIII.
Actually, the first night wasn’t over yet. I had a ticket for the after show party because I wanted to see Chaser and Much the Same playing an acoustic set. And I also wanted to catch 50 Shades of Punk Rock because those two are just amazing live. I still don’t know how I managed to stay that late at the show with my rollercoaster of blood sugar. Honestly, I could barely stand on my feet, but there was no way I would miss Much the Same. So with nuts, gummies and my friends taking care of me, I finally got to stay until the last song and I’m so glad I did. It was definitely the best after show party I’ve been to ever. A small crowd singing along with the bands in a small church… wow!
After two or three hours of sleep, it was time to start again! I was such a mess, but so ready to spend another day at the fest. So Gwille and I headed to the small church to see some of the best Quebec punk bands. These Fast Times started the show and I really enjoyed them. But I won’t lie, I just couldn’t wait to see Colorsfade. Even if we live in the same town, I never had the chance to catch them live and their last record is so good. I was really excited to finally see them and they didn’t disappoint me at all. They killed it! And I was really glad they invited Doowy from Down Memory Lane and Vince from Our Darkest Days to sing their featuring parts in Obedience and Loaded for Peace because I love those two songs. After Colorsfade, it was time for Bussieres to get on the stage. I won’t lie, I just love that band. Everytime I talk about Quebec punk rock, I have to talk about Bussieres. And everytime people tell me they have never heard of that band, I tell them it’s a shame. I saw Bussieres for the first time at Pouzza Fest in 2017 and I remember telling myself « why the hell isn’t that band in my everyday playlist?! » Trust me, they were after that show. Their last EP, Sunny Side Up, that came out earlier this year, is just as amazing as their first one. Diabetes being a bitch, my blood sugar started dropping, I started shaking, so it was time to eat and I missed Down Memory Lane and Set It Back. And I was very sad because I really like those two bands and as I’ve already had the chance to see them live, I know for sure I missed a great show.
My stomach full, a coffee to survive and my blood sugar back on track, I was ready to go to the main site of the fest for another amazing punk rock night. I couldn’t wait for Straightline to start the show. And I couldn’t wait to hear Generation Lost live. I perfectly remember the first time I heard that song. I almost fell off my chair and told myself « how the hell?! » But you know what? It was as amazing live as it is on the record. And I’m still wondering how Bart managed to jump all over the stage while playing a solo. It totally blew my mind. What a great show! And what great performers they are. Chaser was next. The acoustic set at the church the night before was a great preview of what we were going to get. Their last record, Sound the Sirens, is one of my favorite records of the year and I was stoked to have the chance to see them live. They were amazing. Great performers, very nice guys. And they even had girly shirts, something I really do appreciate as a punk rock girl.
Ten Foot Pole, Pépé et sa Guitare and No Fun at All were all great. Actually, No Fun at All played the same set I had already seen in Austria in May, but it was still great to hear it. And I say « hear » because I was already at the other stage to have a nice spot by the fence to see Much the Same. I have no words to describe what that band means to me, especially their song Stitches. I saw them in Peru in last October, but it was amazing to see Dan back on stage, cancer free. I’m getting very emotional just writing about it. I cried the whole set. I was there, watching my favorite band, singing along and thinking about how my life has been so hard in the last months, trying to learn how to live with type 1 diabetes. But still, I was there doing what I love the most. I knew someone had pulled some strings from California before the show and asked them to play Stitches for me. My heart stopped when I heard « this song is for Marie » and they started playing my song. But it was so unreal that I wasn’t sure I heard the right thing until Chris jumped down the stage after the set to give me the setlist and a hug and I saw « (for Marie) » written next to Stitches. The whole set was amazing, but that moment will definitely stay with me forever. Because it’s that kind of moments that remind me that even if I’m sick of fighting diabetes and that sometimes I feel like giving up, my life can be truly amazing. I was such a crying mess after Much the Same that I missed most of Goldfinger‘s set. But still, I had the chance to sing and dance on Superman. And I was so exhausted that it was the end of the fest for me.
Finally, M4C was just amazing this year. The organization, the line up, the people I met: everything was perfect. I really don’t have any negative aspect to point out. It was so perfect that I’m wondering how Jay and his team are going to organize something as great for next year. Thanks M4C for giving me the time of my life, but most of all, thank you punk rock family. You guys are the best!