October 25, 2023 – Beanfield Theatre, Montreal, Quebec
Playing shows on week nights can sometimes be a volatile affair, that can be pretty hit or miss – and given the unusually warm late October temperatures, I thought a classic punk band such as G.B.H would draw better. Especially given that G.B.H haven’t played Montreal in roughly fifteen years. Yet, here we are.
Furthermore, when you take into consideration that the incredible Niis were also playing the bill, it boggles the mind that just the lower level of the newly renamed Beanfield theatre was filled out. Still, given the economy and the price of everything from seriously inflated rents, ridiculous grocery bill costs and the disgusting amount of tax we pay in this city, there’s little wonder that concert tickets aren’t selling as well as they once did. There’s considerably less expendable income floating about these days. You can thank that weasel Justin Trudeau for that – alas, that is a conversation for another time.
See Also: Agent Orange at Le Ritz, Montreal
Still, those that had come out were treated to an incredible night of music that won’t soon be forgotten. First from Niis, then from Charged G.B.H as well, or is it just G.B.H?! Whichever it is, it was a pleasure to have them play before us again. It’s been way too long since their last visit.
I have never seen Niis prior to tonight, and knowing them just based on what I had heard on streaming services (I know, I hate streaming too) meant I didn’t know what to expect until it was right in front of me, blasting me right in the face like an exploding furnace. These things happen, I suppose, as there’s only so much time in a day and an abundance of good art to fill it with. However, as late as I may have been to the party – Niis are on my radar now and will stay there for the foreseeable future.
Yes, that is a long-winded way of saying that Niis played a phenomenal set. There is so little written about Niis (which I only just learned is pronounced Nice) that all I really have to go on, is exactly what I witnessed that night. That is, a band with a great stage presence, which in itself is a lost art form these days, that plays punk the way it was intended to be; fast, nasty, dirty and raw. With snarl and bite, atmosphere and attitude. Niis are a blessing and despite only having been around for a few years, perhaps even a flag carrier for the future of the genre.
Gauging by the response of the crowd, I wasn’t the only one that was impressed by their performance either. Classic bands such as G.B.H bring out punks of all ages – the veterans to the new blood, and in most cases, everyone if there for similar reasons. However, that isn’t always the case when a younger band is in tow, and tonight everyone seemed to be digging this new band, despite the age gap. Now, whether or not that’s because Niis play an older style of punk music or not, is up for interpretation. I put it down to everyone just appreciating good tunes.
I was late to the party – but I’ll be ready for their return.
The term “legend” gets thrown about way too willy nilly these days, but what else can be used to match the status that G.B.H, one of the originators of an entire sub-culture and musical genre deserve? Until a better word comes about, that is the word I’ll use to describe them and those from that era. The purveyors of the music that has shaped by life.
Original guitarist Colin “Jock” Blyth wasn’t able to make the show, and his parts were covered by the guitarist and bassist of Niis, who took turns ripping through the classic Punk anthems of G.B.H, and doing so rather well, if I do say so myself. Touring to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their City Baby’s Revenge album, which instantly makes me feel old as the hills. Music, however, is timeless, as those in attendance can attest to, coming out to celebrate a punk record turning four decades old, from a genre that was supposed to have been nothing more than a flash in the pan that was said to have burned out moments after it began.
played a whopping eight tracks off their seminal City Baby Attacked By Rats album, which was strange consider the tour was announced as a celebration of the City Baby’s Revenge album, from which just four selections were played. I suppose, at the end of the day, they played what the crowd most wanted to hear – and there’s no way of denying which of the two records was the more popular. Personally, I love both, and was more than happy to have the majority of their songs on the night come from those two records.
Capping off their set with City Baby Attacked By Rats and then City Baby’s Revenge, the two title tracks to their respect records, was a class move that was also a pretty cool thing to witness live. Two of their best known and best loved tracks back to back like that; brilliant. Of course, there was a brief pause followed by the tired and cliché encore but traditions are traditions and whores will have their trinkets.
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Somehow, despite their catalog, G.B.H still found room in their set for not one, but two covers. Boston Babies by Slaughter And The Dogs and they finished the night off with a thunderous rendition of Bomber by the might Motorhead. I’m not sure how better to cap off a great night over that.
Maybe one day I’ll get used to the Corona theatre now being called the Beanfield, but given that I still refer to the MTelus and the Metropolis, I doubt that is about to happen any time soon. I also still don’t know if I should refer to this band as Charged G.B.H or just G.B.H!? When did shit get so complicated anyway?