A TALE OF TWO CITIES

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Early on Thursday afternoon myself, my girlfriend Christina Wahsquonaikezhik, and Roxanne T piled into a rental car and embarked on an 8 hour journey from Sudbury to Montreal. Final Word were playing their first show in almost two years and their first show in many more with original drummer Ben Dussault.

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We arrived in Montreal at around 10 pm, grabbed Spoiler and Dan P and headed for VIP. VIP is this sketchy Chinese restaurant in China town in Montreal that used to be a regular post show hang out in the late 90s/early part of this decade. The food isn’t really that good but I have a certain nostalgic attachment to the place. Apparently I stand alone in this. About half way there I was convinced to hit up some place that I thought was called OV… allegedly it was good and all vegan, so I didn’t put up much of an argument. Apparently the place was actually called Aux Vivres… the entree was good but let’s talk about the desserts… much to the confusion of the waiter I ordered three desserts to myself.. the parfait was incredible… some strawberry stuff on top, some vanilla pudding under that and choclate pudding below that… if my tongue could jack off it would be doing it right now thinking about this parfait.  The second item was the chocolate and banana pie … also incredible, I mean, if you haven’t had bananas and chocolate together you probably live in a cave or a really downer of a monastery… like the kind that doesn’t even chant… it was delicious, nuff said.   The uncheesecake was the third item… I had up until than never had bad vegan cheese cake (for examples of good vegan cheese cake see Vegetarian Haven in Toronto or Red Bamboo in NYC)… this basically tasted like somebody just put some tofu on a pie crust, added a tad bit of cocoa powder and called it cheesecake… it was as John Joseph would say ungots… it means it was shit…  Spent the next day during the day studying in the McGill library, sitting in on a Social Change in Africa class, and catching up with an old family friend that’s doing her PhD there.

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Missed the first band, Vile Intent but apparently they were pretty good, I was across the street doing an in depth interview with Andrew Kline from Strife… unfortunately the battery died halfway through the interview so, so much for that. Got into the show half way through Alpha and Omega’s first song. Band sounded sick, think late 80s New York hardcore ala Leeway meets early 90s Cleveland hardcore ala Ringworm and Integrity… sounded pretty much exactly the same as on record, which is a good thing since the record is great.  Cruel Hand played next… it’s three dudes that used to play in Outbreak… they’re often sited as sounding like No Warning, and yeah, they sound a lot like No Warning… I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing… band had a lot of energy, lots of kids seemed pretty into them…  I would strongly urge anybody that’s into New York influenced hardcore to check them out… LP’s been out for a few months on Bridge 9.

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Internal Affairs were up next. This was one of their last few hardcore shows on the East Coast… I’m not going to lie and say I ever really got into this band but I respect the fact that Corey kept it together for 6 years in one form or another strictly because it was something that he enjoyed doing.

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This is the best reaction I’d ever seen them get and I know at least two young ass kids had driven what they said took them 8 hours from Niagara Falls (I have no idea what they were driving but it must have been slow as shit).

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Final Word played last… I’d been looking forward to this for a long time. The lights went out and they started their intro… this was probably the most insane thing that anybody has ever done and I’m pretty sure I got punched in the face three times within the first minute… Size Em Up posted a video of the intro/first song here.

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For the entire set kids were going completely ape shit… it was one of the most insane sets I’ve seen in a long time. They played all the songs off the 7”, a new song, and basically a three minute long mosh part to boot.

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Unable to move my neck on account of somebody using it to stage dive off of during the last song I was more than satisfied with my road trip at this point. Another couple of hours at the strip bar, a harvey’s veggie burger and a lap dance later and we were on the road back to Nickel City.

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We got back to Sudbury the next day just in time to hear the feedback at the beginning of the Plagues set… but first, let’s go back in time a year and a half to when I was picking where to go to University. One of the reasons I chose going to University at Laurentian was because I knew that Sudbury had a hardcore scene and that I’d still be able to stay involved while going to school. I’d heard about shows in Sudbury over the years and knew bands like Vicious Cycle and Proven that had come out of Sudbury… I had actually been to a show in Sudbury once while roadying for Terror on the Madball and Hatebreed tour… these two 15 year old kids named Frank and Nico sold me a zine called On the Edge… it was pretty ill for something written by 15 year olds in Northern Ontario… Miles Between Us, Lockin Out Records and Terror interviews… the Todd Jones interview is actually kind of legendary in my mind…

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anyways, when I moved here within a week or so Vicious Cycle (which features the two kids that had sold me that zine years back) played a show… band played awesome, hardcore kids around here seemed pretty friendly, I was pretty pumped on Sudbury Hardcore… unfortunately Vicious Cycle didn’t play another show for over a year so things seemed to be kind of dead as far as hardcore in Sudbury went… back to last night, Cancer Bats played here… Plagues and Vicious Cycle played first and second which afforded me the chance to bounce as soon as the hardcore bands were done playing…

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To be honest I didn’t really expect much from Plagues, they’ve got a couple songs up on the internet that you can listen to here, but it kind of sounds like shit on account of the fact that it was recorded with a laptop with a toque on top of it… it’s actually one of the worst recorded things I’ve heard since the Karenza demo… anyways, regardless of the terrible recording the band was incredible live, definitely have a Hamilton vibe to them ala Haymaker/Left For Dead/The Swarm…

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they covered Off My Chest and Ill Blood and pulled them off perfectly… tons of kids singing along and stage diving… apparently I just narrowly missed diving on some kid in a wheel chair… 2000.

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Vicious Cycle played next and broke out tons of old stuff… kids were going ape shit… closed the set with Nervous Breakdown… Band is playing often again and are getting ready to record a new full length on Deranged Records.  Sudbury Hardcore seems to be looking up.

Photos by: Ben H, Sean, and Vincent Tsang

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