It was a night of loud, sweaty rock ’n roll last Friday at the Petit Campus as three of Canada’s finest up and coming bands played their hearts out on stage. Toronto’s Poor Young Things started the night with their catchy melodic rock, including their latest single “Like an Animal” which got a great reaction from the fans who came early to catch their set. The music shed some of the polish found on their records to adopt a grittier vibe, which culminated in a spirited cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” (also known as the theme to the TV show CSI NY). Their charismatic and energetic performance surely won them some new fans; these guys are definitely going places.
They were soon followed on stage by Northcote, who had a decent following among the crowd. Their lead singer Matt Goud was the centre of attention, and his stage presence seemed to channel the spirit of Joe Cocker, both musically and physically. Genuinely grateful to be in Montreal, they played a spirited set that was a lot of fun. I wasn’t familiar with their material, but I’ll correct this situation as soon as possible.
Then came the headliners, The Glorious Sons. “The Contender” was a good choice for an opening number, and with the next song “The Union”, the party was in full swing. The Montreal show was the penultimate stop in a three month tour and the band looked a little road weary, except for singer Brett Emmons who never stood still for the entire night. He made the tiny stage look ten times its size, as he walked from one end to the other, jumped and sang his heart out. Their album “The Union” was the cornerstone of the setlist (they played every song except for “Hard Times”) along with their latest single “Sometimes on a Sunday”. The latter took on the airs of a rock ’n roll gospel, with Emmons as the fire and brimstone preacher with the frantic vocals.
“Heavy”, “Man Made Man”, “Lightning” and “Mama” were all high points for the boys from Kingston. Brett Emmons sang a soulful version of “Gordie” alone with an acoustic guitar, and then invited Matt Goud and Matt Fratpietro to join him on stage (A “Matt Sandwich”, quipped Fratpietro) for a great cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World”.
As an encore, the band offered “Amigo”, then their early hit “White Noise”. Most of the opening bands then joined them on stage for a cover of The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down”.
Comparing their performance to last year when they opened for Airbourne, it’s clear that the time on the road has offered them the chance to hone their show: it’s tighter and more focused. Emmons promised the guys would try to play Montreal more often; let’s hope we don’t have to wait another year before having the pleasure of seeing these boys on stage again.
(Check out my interview with Glorious Sons lead singer Brett Emmons)