Show report: GrimSkunk & Greta Knights in Gatineau
Concert review: GrimSkunk & Greta Knights live at Le Petit Chicago, Gatineau (11/10/14)
On October 11, 2014, which was a truly beautiful autumn day, I went to see Quebec’s eclectic alternative rock band GrimSkunk for the fourth time in four years. After assisting two memorable concerts in Chicoutimi in April 2010 and October 2011 as well as the release party of the band’s amazing last record “Set Fire!” in Montreal in May 2012, the energizing and original quintet now performed in the small pub Le Petit Chicago in the old Hull section of Gatineau, only meters away from the Canadian capital Ottawa.
As usual, GrimSkunk started to play quite late. Three out of four times when I saw them, the band actually played much later than originally announced. On that day, the concert was scheduled to start around 9:30 p.m. but an opening act was added at the last minute. Even the opening act only started to play around 10:05 p.m. after the dramatic 3:4 shootout win by the Montreal Canadiens against the Philadelphia Flyers. This gave me the occasion to admire some interesting and very political merchandise by the main act, chat and have a drink with a few fans and watch an entertaining hockey game on a small television.
Once the hockey game was over, the trance-core band Greta Knights went on to deliver a weird but interesting set around thirty minutes. I’ve never heard such as weird mixture of melodic over-the-top dubstep and techno elements on one side and brutal metalcore passages on the other. The songs were filled with breakdowns and more or less radical changes of pace and style and it was rather difficult to get into this kind of music. Each time I appreciated a charming melody or started to move my body to wild beats and gripping riffs, the band threw these elements over board and radically changed the pattern which left several people in the crowd slightly confused. With some more consistent song writing, this could have been one of the most interesting bands I had discovered in recent times but as it turned out to be the band was only strangely original but not truly brilliant.
After this unique and controversially received opening act, the five members of GrimSkunk took their time to get ready for the show and only hit the stage around 11:10 p.m. At that point, it was sure that I was going to miss my last bus ride home and had to walk for around one hour or pay a taxi to get back. I don’t mind walking for a while or taking a taxi from time to time but when a concert is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. I think that it’s definitely too late to start playing almost two hours late when some people need to get home somehow or even have to go to work the next day.
Despite the late start, the bar was still filled with a respectable crowd, including almost as many women as men, a few new faces, several more recent fans in their early twenties as well as a couple of veterans who were at least twice as old. I even saw a few people wearing old Groovy Aardvark pullovers and an old hippy with a long white beard and long white hair who was enjoying the band’s mixture of relaxing psychedelic and progressive tones mixed with faster punk rock and metal elements here and there right in the front row. Sadly, the sympathetic fan had to leave the bar in a hurry during the encore part and collapsed on the sidewalk right in front of the location which made me feel worried and even slightly shocked. After a few minutes when some helpful people in the crowd assisted him, the old man finally seemed to feel better and even got back beside the stage before the concert ended. That dangerous event gladly had a happy ending.
GrimSkunk opened the show with the brilliant opener from the last record entitled “Falling Into Shadow” featuring aboriginal sounds from Australia and psychedelic hooks that could come from one of the better U2 releases. Right after this experimental masterpiece with its liberating and catchy chorus, the band changed its genre and delivered the angry and fast-paced punk rock anthem with explicit lyrics called “Fuck Shit Up”. The band would go on to vary between both extremes over the next ninety minutes or so and play a lot of classics from the early years as well, including the French “Le gouvernement songe”, the Spanish “¡Ya basta!” and the French-Spanish “Perestroiska”. After roughly seventy-five minutes, the band left the stage for a while but quickly came back for a hypnotizing encore featuring long instrumental tunes like “Mahmoud’s Dream” before dedicating the final fun anthem “Mange d’la marde” to the annoying casting show La Voix. Even after this explicit hymn, the band wasn’t done and went back to perform an extended version of the sinister and energizing “Rooftop Killer” that made some people in the crowd go so insane in the improvised circle pit that the keyboard on stage nearly fell to the ground.
The concert was over around 12:40 p.m. but I decided to stay at the bar to chat with a few fans and band members until the bar was about to close around 2 a.m. I took me another seventy-five minutes or so to get home but the energizing concert and great night had definitely been worth the long walk back. Even though it was the fourth time I have seen GrimSkunk so far, I would definitely go and see them again if they happen to perform anywhere close to where I live.« Show report: B.A.R.F., Insurrection, My Shadow & ...From the Deep in GatineauShow report: Blaze Bayley, Shock, Joe Thrasher & Rusted in Ottawa »
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