After a good night of sleep and a quick breakfast on my way, I made it to Local 41 on time for the Thousand Islands Records afternoon shows. It was my very first time at a show with a coffee in hand, but a punk rock fan has to do what she has to do! And I wouldn’t have missed that show for anything in this world, especially as Dutch Nuggets was the first band playing. I love those guys! They hadn’t been active for some time, but they now have a new drummer and it seems that they are back on track. They played a new song and holy moly… it’s even faster than the old songs. I really can’t wait for them to release new stuff.
Next on the stage were Still Insane. Even if it was still early and JP would have liked to get some toast with butter on stage, they put on a real good show. Those guys have a great energy and it’s always fun to see them live. Then it was time for the band I was the most excited to see that afternoon as I never had the chance to see them before: Bring on the Storm. I’m a big fan of the record they released last year and I have to say that my expectations for that show were quite high. But they even exceeded my expectations with their set. They’re so great!
Two thumbs up to Karl Bullets and Greg Laraigné for their acoustic sets on the patio between the bands that were playing inside the venue. First of all, it was a great idea to entertain the crowd while the bands were setting their gear. And second, those two artists are just great and both have an amazing voice. I had never heard Greg Laraigné before and I was very impressed by his voice and his original songs. Karl Bullets covered well-known punk rock songs and my favorite moment was when he dedicated Bro Hymn to his friend Carl who recently passed away from cancer. Even if I didn’t know Carl, I had goosebumps and my eyes filled with tears. It was a very touching moment.
I had no clue who The Castagnes were before the show and I have to say that they were a great surprise to me. It’s always impressive to see a band comprised of only two members that can really deliver. The show at Local 41 was running late on its schedule and that’s why I missed Sudden Waves AND The Matchup. Missing the The Matchup is definitely my biggest regret of the weekend. Everybody who caught their set told me it was amazing and I have no doubt about it. As they seem to be back at playing shows, hopefully I’ll get the chance to see them soon.
So I literally ran to the main site of the fest to be sure not to miss Fifty Nutz too. I was a big fan of them when they released theirs records more than 15 years ago and I never miss a chance to see one of their rare reunions. I saw them at Montebello Rockfest in 2014, but they were even better this time. They played all my favorite songs from The Last Word and it was such a pleasure to sing along in the crowd. They were one of my highligts of the weekend.
Then it was United Defiance‘s turn to hit the stage. As I missed Red Bridge Fest earlier this year, I was very happy to have another chance to see that band from San Francisco. And they didn’t disappoint at all! I noticed that a lot of people were happy to see them again and singing along their songs. It always makes me smile when I see that the crowd has forged ties with a band. And I don’t think I could find a better example for that than CHASER, who were playing next. As always, the band delivered a great performance and the crowd was singing like crazy. Special mention to Yannick and Mel crowd surfing in a big yellow duck! One of my favorite moments of the weekend happened to be during the CHASER‘s set. There was a young teenager next to me who was singing along the songs with his dad. Then people started a mosh pit so he gave his bag to his dad and jumped into the pit. It made me so happy to see that the punk rock scene might have a succession despite the aging crowd. And it also reminded me how much Music 4 Cancer is suited for families. It really was a great moment!
After that, 88 Fingers Louie went on stage. Those guys are punk rock legends and never disappoint. It’s always a pleasure to see them play their old classics. Then it was time for the last Quebec band of the weekend: Subb. I’ve seen them many times and I’m always anxious to hear them play Bright Red Dress, one of my favorite punk rock songs of all time. But this time, not only they played Bright Red Dress, but they also played E. I had never had the chance to hear that song live and I couldn’t believe it when I heard the first notes. It blew my mind and nothing could have erased the smile from my face at that time. Thank you guys for that magic moment!
Good Riddance, Anti-Flag and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes… I mean, could there have been a better way to end the weekend?! Three amazing bands who have been part of the punk scene for so long that we all grew up listening to. As I’m not a big fan of big crowds, I watched the sets from afar so I also had a great view of the crowd. The bands delivered amazing sets and the crowd was more than responsive to their energy. It was beautiful to see.
As my boyfriend had to conduct interviews with some bands, I headed for Local 41 earlier than the rest of the crowd. And thanks to that, I was privileged enough to assist to a very special moment between Justin and Chris from Anti-Flag. I sat in a quiet spot of the venue while watching them practice their songs for the after party. They were both sitting on the stage, playing unplugged acoustic guitar and the chemistry between them was amazing. We are used to see bands perform in front of big crowds, but being able to see them in such a private moment was memorable. The kind of magic moment that seems to always happen at M4C.
Then the crowd came in and the after party show began. I was dead tired but singing along Anti-Flag songs with my punk rock family was so much fun. After their set I decided that the festival was over for me. I gave Jay a hug and thanked him for another amazing edition of Music 4 Cancer, then headed back home, my head full of great memories.
The 9th edition was as great as all the other ones and I already can’t wait for the next one. I can imagine that it’s going to be a hell of a show since it’s going to be the 10th edition. Thank you guys for your dedication to such a great cause and for the amazing organization. It’s a lot of work, but totally worth it. F*ck cancer and see you next year!