Fattal Fest 2014 © Bree Rockbrand

Amongst the dirt, mosh pits and the pungent smell of stale beer wavering in the air, I found myself in the middle of Fattal Fest. This raunchy punk fest, occurring once a year, is home to the city’s biggest punk community.

I should mention now that I’m not one to frequent Fattal’s punk shows, although I have been to one or two (which, in hindsight, was not at all enough to feel prepared for this festival). I was, in the moment, still trying to attune myself to the whole punk-vibe, which is, more than anything, kind of similar to being pretty drunk among a hundred or two of your shit-faced-wasted best friends who find it fun to push each other into walls (which I did take part in, and enjoyed, minus the bruises).

When I arrived, I instantly felt out of place with my big fancy camera. I got there in time to see the last band of the night perform on the outdoor stage. Fatal Flaw, a Montreal-based band who identify themselves as “Thrashing Crust Punk Fury,” really seemed to catch the attention of the crowd. By the strong presence of their female vocalist letting out her guttural growling, I finally felt grounded and relieved in an environment that seemed to be more or less dominated by men.

The rest of the night seemed to take on a mind of its own. My girlfriend recognized a friend of hers in the crowd and we took it from there. Finding familiar faces brought me to a state of genuine enjoyment.

We ended up in a small red loft, one of the venues at Fattal. While the band was preparing for their show downstairs, we claimed our spot on an empty black couch upstairs. There was a gate around the entire upstairs floor, giving the venue a kind of creepy, jail-type feeling with a hint of MMA-match inspiration (I asked myself if this gate is for decoration or just in case some drunk guy falls off the ledge of the loft’s upper deck).

It was unfortunate that the venue was so small, although I guess that it was part of the charm to see band and crowd become one. The way punks thrash around is very different from what you’d see elsewhere – caught somewhere between dancing, stumbling and street-fighting, there is no way to predict who will be the last man (or woman) standing.

Although there was a definite undercurrent of this violent-esque pursuit of self-expression, I have to note that when I entered the mosh pit and threw myself around like a pinball in a pinball machine, the guy standing next to me was quick to help me up when I fell down. Obviously the members of the punk scene are used to constant scrutiny and judgment, but in this small red room filled with loud music, alcohol and drugs, all of that disappeared. What I was left with was a feeling of community; a certain strength and pride built on the common understanding of what it is like to be an outsider.

(photos by Bree Rockbrand, click first image below to start slideshow)


Fattal Fest 2014Fattal Fest 2014

Take your pick of these shows this week!


Fattal Fest 2014 @ Fattal

Nothing marks the end of summer like the outdoor barbecue crusty blowout party that is Fattal Fest. Now in its fifth year, the festival started as a block party of sorts for the residents of the Fattal lofts in St-Henri, a nice little community-oriented get-together with cheap food, beer and punk bands. As the neighbourhood has gentrified in the last few years, the party has become more popular and has grown to include non-St-Henri residents as well. This goes over pretty well with the people I have spoken to in the past who live there as it serves to raise awareness about the socio-political situation at Fattal.

Over the past couple of years, the residents of the Fattal lofts have been battling the city and their landlord, the notorious Sam Fattal – owner of many squalid, derelict buildings and shoddy new condo developments on the island – for their right to live there and not be forced out as the neighbourhood becomes more and more desirable to condo developers.

As the event description is quick to point out, the organizers of the party (mainly Fattal residents and others in the St-Henri punk scene) do not have permission from the city to host this event so they ask everyone to keep to the parking lot, not mill around in the streets, be respectful and pick up after themselves.

Event starts tonight at 7 p.m. and continues Saturday and possibly Sunday, free.

Rae Spoon + Elena Stoodley + Lady Sin Trayda @ La Sala Rossa

Dragonroot Media and The Centre for Gender Advocacy are presenting this show tonight featuring transgender musician and author Rae Spoon. All proceeds will go to fund Dragonroot, a fairly new feminist collective that supports anti-oppressive practices in the media. They have a weekly show on CKUT 90.3 FM Tuesdays from 8:30 to 9 a.m. Shoutout to fellow FTBers Hannah Besseau and Pamela Fillion, who are also behind Dragonroot.

Doors open at 8 p.m., $8 or PWYC.

Wings of Metal Festival: feat. The Skull + Blood Ceremony + Holocaust + ADX & more @ Katacombes

Wings of Metal is an underground metal festival put on by three promoters looking to emulate the style of underground metal festivals that take place in Europe. That means lots of quality bands for a fair price, many of whom are from out of town like Toronto’s Blood Ceremony, Bölzer from Zurich, Edinburgh’s Holocaust and Brooklyn’s Natur, just to name a very few. Many of these bands, even the ones from North America, have a huge following in Europe and rarely come play here so getting to see them all under one roof is pretty special.

Bands play Friday and Saturday and to close off the festival, on Sunday there’s a metal record market followed by a barbecue and a secret show.

Doors open at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $45 per day; Metal record market and BBQ Sunday from 2 p.m. followed by a secret show at 6 p.m., $5 entry for the market, $15 for the show.


Piknic Électronik triple edition feat. Jamie XX + Misstress Barbara + Surfing Leons & more @ Parc Jean-Drapeau

The good people behind Piknic are hoping you’ll take advantage of the long weekend to check out at least one of the three editions of Montreal’s favourite summertime electronic party series. Saturday’s edition is a short one (it ends at 8:45 p.m.) with only one stage due to the Arcade Fire show that takes place that night ($10 entry to Piknic upon presentation of an Arcade Fire ticket). Their regular full programming continues on Sunday and Monday.

Shows start Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 2 p.m., $15 at the door.

Eddie Paul @ BBAM! Gallery

Show starts at 3 p.m., free (PWYC).

The 222s + Paddle to the Sea + Arbor Glades @ Piccolo Rialto

Show starts at 9 p.m., $14 at the door.

Elephant Stone + UUBBUURRUU @ l’Escogriffe

Montreal psych rockers Elephant Stone will be launching their third full-length album, The Three Poisons, which is available for streaming in full on their Soundcloud. Then they’re off on tour again (man, do these guys work hard).

Show starts at 9 p.m., $?.


Golden Tombs + Slight + Old Haunt @ Divan Orange

Show starts at 9:30 p.m., $6.


Future Islands + Operators + DJ Disco Phantom @ Metropolis

This show will mark the first time Dan Boeckner’s (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs) new project Operators perform in Montreal. Go see what all the fuss is about and in the meantime, check out this review by Nameless Ponytail of their first release, EP1.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m., $18 in advance via Blue Skies Turn Black or $20 at the door.

Atsuko Chiba + Set and Setting + Christ @ Casa del Popolo

Doors open at 8:30 p.m.; $8 before the end of the first band’s set, $10 after (I can get behind this; support opening bands!).