The past weekend was spent in the urban wilds of Montreal, as well as the rural wilds of Montebello, Quebec at the Amnesia Rock Fest.
Amnesia Fest is a Punk/Metal music fest that was developed by a Canadian teenager about 7 years ago. It takes place in Montebello (about 70 miles North of Montreal) and for 2 days- was the Great White North’s version of Woodstock.
Not this this was a completely good thing! The festival reached critical mass this year and three hour waits to pick up tickets were de rigeur. Fortunately, your humble narrator took care of his shit long before the day of show, and J-Lo, Davey-boy and old Nazz sauntered in leisurely both days. And, since the last big crowd headliner's bore no real interest to us (Rise Against and The Offspring- been there done that for both bands), we also were able to "get outta dodge city" both nites without too much bumping.
- The people of Montebello (including law enforcement) could not have been nicer and more laid back. 50,000 plus punks and metalheads invading a town with more cows than people could have been a disaster- but civility was the name of the game. In fact, the only interaction we had with the long arm of the law was a photo op! The townspeople were wonderful- and as a result, the vibe between attendees, cops and natives was extremely cool.
- $5 beer inside the venue (and lots of it!)- beer kiosks were everywhere (albeit Budweiser) and vendors were actually triasping thru the mud (more on THAT later) to serve us! Kinda weird that they couldn't get Canadian beer sponsorship- but, on the other hand, I guess Bud is exotic in Canada since it's an import!
- Poutine- Inside the show- Pulled pork, gravy, fries, cheese curds…mmmmmmmmm – aside from a convenience store/ gas station sandwich that’s all I ate for the 4 days!
- The bands!- Holy shit!!!!!! Let’s see, the best bands of the 20 or so (there were 5 stages and about 100 bands that played) I saw were: FLAG (ie – the non Gregg Ginn version)- Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowski et al brought it waaaaaay back to 1979!, our NYC homeboys Agnostic Front and Anthrax were great; DropKick Murphys, old skool L.A. band The Adolescents, old skool crust punks Subhumans UK, Alice fucking Cooper, Social Distortion, Rancid.
- But the best band I saw all weekend was FUCKED UP. Lead singer Pink Eyes and his preppy looking band absolutely tore up the freakin’ place. Pink Eyes (all 250 plus hairy lbs of him) spent the entire show singing whilst being held aloft. After the show, he spent about an hour posing for pix and hugging anybody that cam within hugging distance.
J-Lo, Pink Eyes & Davey-Boy
- Yeah, it was a lot like Woodstock- overflowing toilets, shit piss and mud rivers bisecting the festival grounds. Canadian kids must not have gotten the word on littering, strewn everywhere were empty beer cups, soda bottles etc- though this was at least in part due to the organizers, who did not have enough garbage cans.
- Band cancellations and bad info- several bands such as Lagwagon and The Mighty Bosstones got shifted around in times and stages- and no one was informed- so we missed them.
- The lines- as said- waiting three hours to pick up my tickets would have been a disaster.
- Old age - I overindulged big time too early Saturday & sorta had to take a rest for a couple of hours in a parking lot in the early afternoon– But that was cool- I arose feeling refreshed and ready to mosh!
- Cookie Monster bands- Christ, is there some sort of Canadian law that every metal band has to sound like the Cookie Monster is their singer?
All in all- a great weekend. I hope to go back next year (it was a pretty long drive) but I am glad I went!