The second edition of the ’77 Montreal festival took place Friday at Parc Jean Drapeau. Bringing together fans of the punk rock genre for a day out in the sun.
Early crowds where sparse, presumably due to an early start time on what is a work day for many, but by the time punch cards where stamped quite a number had turned out. For many, ’77 serves as an introduction to Heavy Montreal that follows on the two preceding days, especially for the out-of-towner’s that had made the trek to Montreal for the event – but ’77 draws its own people too. In the blazing heat, they danced and drank into the sunset and into the mosh pits that broke out in rowdy fashion in front of every band that played.
The festival is named after the year, 1977. However, which many believe is the start of the Punk genre. And much like last year, did a solid job of pulling artists from each era of Punk existence. Early in the day, two such names took to the stage. California’s L7, who were at the forefront of the Grunge movement in the early 90’s, alongside bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees and the likes, belted out their classics for the first on Montreal soil for the first time in nineteen years.
The other being Steve Ignorant & Paranoid Visions. Ignorant was the front-man of the legendary anarchist punk band, Crass. Much of their set revolved around the former group. They opened up with one of the most iconic songs of their generation. It sent shivers down my spin watching Ignorant bellowing “Do they owe us a living?”. and I joined in with the crowd that yelled back. “Of course they do, of course they do.” It was magical.
See Also : Heavy Montreal 2018 at Montreal, Quebec
Prior to that, Montreal’s Francophone Ramones cover band, Les Raymonds, played. It took a quick minute to acclimatize to the change, but it soon become a fun experience. Translating Punk rock classics into French was silly, and highly amusing. Perfect for the ’77 festival. The foul named Pussy Stench also had their moment in the sun. Also a local group, and as abrasive as the group’s moniker might suggest.
Sick Of It All hit hard and fast. One of the most iconic names in the Hardcore genre, they really cranked up the amperage. Jumping about the stage as if they were still in their 20’s. And the crowd ate it up. Anti-Flag flew about the stage in similar fashion. As they are known to do. These two groups accounted for the more high energy portions of the show.
Sweden’s Satanic Surfers provided some amusing tongue-in-cheek Skate Punk tunes. But the comedy portion award, as always, went to Me First And The Gimmie Gimmie’s. A Punk rock super-group that only plays cover songs – and starts each track by reminding the audience of this fact. “This next one is a cover” echoed singer Spike Slawson. Over and over again. Each time more funny than the last.
One band that just continues to grow, is The Interrupters. And when they played their hit single, “She’s Kerosene” – ’77 festival sprung to life. A choir singing along to Aimee Interrupter‘s every word. It was a special moment indeed. This is a band that will one day headline festivals like this. In the not too distant future, I’d wager.
Other greats from years long gone included Suicidal Tendencies and Canadian’s D.O.A . Both bands gave great performances, closing their respective stages for the night. D.O.A are the oldest Punk band to have formed on Canadian soil. As a result, they hold a special spot in the hearts of many across the nation. Suicidal Tendencies need no introduction. Perhaps the biggest name in the Skate Punk world.
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Rise Against rocked the final set of the main stage in front of a fine collection of people, capping off what was a great day of live music. With the other two stages now put to sleep for the night, everybody now congregated in front of the one remaining. Rise Against never disappoint. And tonight wasn’t going to be the evening where they started to either. Probably the most accessible of the night. This was a great way to bring all generations of rockers together. And that is exactly what happened.
As loud and as frantic as the event had been, it was always evident that the key to the whole thing was fun – and family. Many of the older attendees where about the grounds with their offspring, ranging from weeks old to pre-teens. Others rekindled their youth, silver-haired and all. Seeing people from all walks of life and all ages coming together with a common interest is a fantastic thing.
Music knows no boundaries nor does it abide to the concept of time.