September 16, 2023 – Club Soda, Montreal
Montreal put the power in power metal with an endless pit
After a few days at a folk music festival, I was ready to get back to my metal roots with the sold out Beast In Black show at Club Soda in Montreal—one of many sold out shows on their Back In North America tour. My sister and I lined up nearly two hours early to ensure that we would have the perfect view for her favorite band, and it was definitely worth it! With a sold out show and a capacity of 900, Club Soda was packed with metalheads ready to go crazy and quite literally unleash the beasts within. Metal shows in Quebec never disappoint, and this was no exception.
See Also: Jinjer at MTelus, Montreal
Doors opened 15 minutes early and we parked in the front to wait for Dance With The Dead, one of my favorite bands. As the crowd filled in I chatted with people about Dance With The Dead as it seemed like many had never heard of them. I hyped up the band and the people around me were all excited to experience them live for the first time. I always describe the band as horror synthwave for metalheads and gamers, which is a pretty accurate description considering the band is made up of horror enthusiasts and gamers. It’s horror dance metal, like Castlevania meets Children of Bodom.
Dance With The Dead took the stage right at 8 pm with Tony Kim on guitar, Justin Pointer switching between the synthesizer and guitar, and John Terry on drums. With no vocals nor a mic for crowd engagement, they created a very unique atmosphere. For nearly an hour the audience was transported to a decrepit manor surrounded by a graveyard filled with rotting corpses, wandering souls, and thin fog. But out of the darkness the band emerged to mesmerize the dead and shine a glimmer of light into their sorrowful afterlives.
After the audience figured out what they were in for and realized just how heavy Dance With The Dead is, the pit opened up and stayed circling for the rest of the evening. And when it slowed down, Kim made sure to gesture to the crowd to open up the circle yet again. By the end of their set they definitely gained more fans, and I hope at the end of this tour their following grows more than tenfold—they deserve it.
With flashing neon lights and the masterful and melodic synth sounds creating an otherworldly ambience, I truly felt like I was at a dance with the dead (and I didn’t want to be anywhere else ever again). As a horror fan myself, I was a fast fan of Dance With The Dead years ago because of how their sound perfectly fits my personality. So much so that I’ve even written lyrics to some of their songs.
The guys were a delight to watch as they focused intently on their instruments and performed with technical precision. They smiled at each other and the crowd, proving that they were right at home. Without any breaks between songs for talking to the audience, they kept the party going and didn’t let the energy dip for even a second. In keeping with the vibe of the show, at one moment Kim played his guitar with one hand and crawled his other hand across Pointer’s shoulder like Thing from The Addams Family.
They were the perfect opener for Beast In Black and set the tone for the rest of the show. Two high-energy bands made for an extreme evening of moshing, dancing, and an endless train of crowd surfers. After a short half an hour break between bands, the audience lights went dark and the stage was lit up with blue lights to show off the cyberpunk props for Beast In Black’s latest studio album Dark Connection. The audience went wild as the band jumped right into their first song, and the moshing began immediately and continued for the hour and a half set.
Before their set, my friend and photographer Danny Donovan made a deal with his buddy Sorin Neculcea to let my sister and I up next to him at the bar (since we were second row). As the show started, Neculcea brought us up next to him and I’m forever grateful to him and Donovan for giving us the best experience! Neculcea deserves a shoutout for encompassing the perfect metal show spirit. He helped every crowd surfer over the bar, sang enthusiastically, was friendly to everyone, and checked in with us to make sure we were ok (I definitely took a beating at times). We need more people like him! The rest of the audience was fantastic as well, with only one problem that security dealt with halfway through the show (an unnecessarily aggressive man who was ruining the pit). Shoutout to DLF/Dans la foule security for keeping us safe!
Singer Yannis Papadopoulos sounded absolutely perfect live, hitting high and low notes with ease, and showing off his goofy charm in between songs. I love when musicians are chatty, and his accent could make anyone swoon. Bandmates Anton Kabanen (lead guitar), Kasperi Heikkinen (rhythm guitar), Máté Molnár (bass), and Atte Palokangas (drums) were also a delight to watch with their beautiful smiles and gorgeous long hair that was blowing around from the fans. It was the perfect power metal performance.
They had a great time interacting with the crowd, blowing kisses, pursing their lips, winking, waving, and playing their hearts out. I loved when the guitarists lined up and rocked in sync—it made for stunning photos as well. Their tour manager Samantha C. joined them on stage during Crazy, Mad, Insane with vibrant pink hair and a metal mask to play the keytar, adding another level of energy and a surprise for the audience.
“We’re gonna calm things down in a way and change the atmosphere,” said singer Papadopoulos about halfway through the show to introduce the beautiful song Oceandeep. Phones and lighters came out as the moshing paused to take in his angelic voice. It was a nice intermission before turning up the heat even higher and going full throttle until the end of their set. Blind and Frozen and One Night in Tokyo had the largest crowd reactions with more singing and somehow more energy, and we managed to turn the volume up over the max like Papadopoulos requested.
>> Jinjer at MTelus, Montreal
>> Avenged Sevenfold at Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa
>> RBC Bluesfest come to an end with a performance from The Smile
“It doesn’t matter your nationality, age, music brings everything and everyone together,” said Papadopoulos before their final song. “There’s really no limitations in our music.” He referenced being able to do anything in heavy metal, whether it’s disco or death metal, the genre has a lot of variety. They played a short O Canada, which would have been a big hit anywhere else, but only received mostly silence and some boo’s, which I think was missed by the band as Papadopoulos continued with his final speech. After thanking the crowd for selling out the show and being the best crowd in the world, and thanking Dance With The Dead, they ended with a promise that they will be back to Montreal before one final song, the fitting End of the World.
Dance With The Dead Setlist
- A Man Who Made a Monster
- Into the Shadows
- A New Fear
- The Dawn
- Become Wrath
- Wyrm of Doom
- Get Out
Beast In Black Setlist
- Blade Runner
- Eternal Fire
- Die by the Blade
- Revengeance Machine
- Unlimited Sin
- True Believer
- Moonlight Rendezvous
- Crazy, Mad, Insane
- Sweet True Lies
- To the Last Drop of Blood
- Dark New World
- Beast in Black
- Born Again
- Blind and Frozen
- Cry Out for a Hero
- One Night in Tokyo
- End of the World
More photos by Danny Donovan. Credit: @dandon19photography