Last Saturday, the second night of Halifax’s “Two Nights of Metal” fest at Gus’ Pub, was a stuffy summer night at the famous north-end venue. While Friday night featured Quebec bands Talaymus (Montreal) and Insanitarium (Boucherville), Halifax’s own Pith, Defective Perception and Ear to Ear, Saturday night held in store performances by Orchid’s Curse (lead vocalist being Josh Hogan, festival organizer), Dumpster Mummy, Bombing of Dresden and Montreal-based, Derelict.
Walking into the pub Saturday night, one of the first things to notice was a zip-loc bag on a merchandise table with ear-plugs in it. On it was a label that read, “take ‘em if you need ‘em!” This was an indicator for how the night would play out and a chance to protect whatever ear health one may have left after Friday’s onslaught.
The night opened with Bombing of Dresden, a hard-hitting three-piece group from Wedgeport, NS. It was quite appealing to the crowd of authentic headbangers and devoted metal heads, all watching intently, almost waiting for someone to start a scrap. Bombing of Dresden was fun to watch, all members being naturally excellent musicians. Their groovy metal lead by Luc Cottreau’s finger-plucking bass and all-out vocals was quite impressive. Guitarist Brian Doane held his own, with a sound that created a feeling of numerous guitarists playing different parts and Jason Cottreau rocked the drums.
Following was crowd pleaser Dumpster Mummy, from Dartmouth, NS. These guys had an awesome stage presence. Sporting orange construction vests and demoing synchronized headbangs, the band would periodically hoist a beat-up trash can with “Dumpster Mummy” written in red on the side. These guys really set the tone of the night, got the energy flowing and the bodies bumping. Lead-singer Willy Slick uses such dynamic passion that it gives you chills, bassist Gilbourg 3000 reminded me of a blond-haired Robert Trujillo and drummer Shawnald Wax looks like he’s having the most fun he’s ever had in his life while playing almost flawlessly. Guitarist Brad News worked his instrument with smooth skill and grace, blowing my mind towards the end of the show with some groovy Pantera-esque flange sounds. Any dip away from the 150 HZ range for a moment was welcome.
Taking the stage next was Halifax’s own Orchid’s Curse. These guys also owned the stage in their own way and a large part of it was definitely due to lead singer/festival co-organizer Josh Hogan’s beard. That thing is stunning. Not to mention his talented vocal performance is all but held-back, pouring his heart and soul into it and proving to be a purely authentic lead for the band. However his drive wouldn’t be half of what it is without the amazing group backing him up. Guitarists Keith Macleod and Brian Jones played on-track with each other and had unpredictably mind-boggling riffs. Bassist Kevin Momburquette was admirable as well, hoisting a six-string bass and knowing his place as foundation for the band, keeping an open communication and consistently tight sound with drummer Bobby Webb. Overall this band was amazing to watch and has an authentic feel and look that packed the stage with a solid punch.
Last but not least, was the unique Derelict. Travelling from Montreal and, as most touring bands in Halifax seem to do, making Halifax their last stop on the tour, we did what we do best. We make that last show the best they had all tour. Lead vocalist Eric Burnet said to the audience at one point “you guys are f#$&ing awesome, you’ve completely recharged our batteries, Halifax!”
Derelict’s precision and lyrical content is intelligent as well as provocative. Not to mention it took me until about the fourth song to realize that there was no bassist for their set. That’s how good these guys were. Guitarists Max Lussier and Simon Cléroux appeared to be quite experienced and had some riffs that literally caught me with my jaw dropping a little bit. The full sound and overall confidence of Derelict’s unique yet authentic look was awesome and very apparent. Well-earned success. Bravo guys. “Two Nights of Metal” at Gus’ was a total success and I think Halifax is ready for more!
- Ian Smith