On that cold and wet Thursday night, the place to be for die hard rock fans in Montreal was Cafe Campus, as The Glorious Sons, the rockers from Kingston, Ontario, were in town to present their sophomore album “Young Beauties and Fools”. The venue was far from full, but full enough to loudly welcome one of the most exciting rock bands of the century.
The evening started with Velvet Black, from Quebec City, a quartet with a rock-pop hybrid sound. The songs were pretty good, and the musicians did a great job of warming up the crowd of people slowing coming in. It’s never easy to open a club show like this, but I’d be willing to bet they gained a few fans.
Born in New Jersey and raised in Toronto, Grandson was next, and is the stage moniker of Jordan Benjamin, a former McGill student who moved to Los Angeles to launch his career yet never mentioned spending time in our city. The music mixes rap and rock with a wide range of other influences seasoned in. At times it sounds a little too much like Rage Against the Machine (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but he also offered a terrific rendition of Bob Marley’s “War” that wasn’t quite reggae nor hip hop.
But the defining feature of his performance (apart from the terrific musicians backing him up) is his spastic stage moves, that are more Tourette’s Syndrome than Mick Jagger. He looks like the neighbourhood skateboard kid, but he’s a natural on stage and knows how to work a crowd. And I have to admit that his moves become oddly endearing after a while, and if rock stardom is all about “cult of personality”, he’s got a future ahead of him.
Then came time for the star attractions. With each of their show I attend, the band commands the stage with more ease and authority. The star of the show is clearly singer Brett Emmons, who casually walked on stage holding a half empty bottle of red wine, but the other band members are developing their on stage personality more, and the show is becoming much more of a band affair. And the wine bottle would turn out to be more a prop than anything: despite seemingly nursing it throughout the show, the wine level didn’t dip that much by show’s end.
From the opener, their early single “White Noise”, to the close, the fantastic “Kill the Lights”, the band offered a high energy set that predominantly featured their new record, with 7 out 10 songs played. Despite the record being out for a little over a month, people were singing along to every lyric, embracing the new material just as much as the songs off their fantastic debut. That album was a little under represented in my view, but that’s amazing problem to have for a band with just two records.
The sound was a little over bearing at times, muddling the music, but the band’s energy compensated. My impression of the new record was that it was more understated than the first one, but live the songs had a lot more grit and didn’t sound that different.
“Sawed Off Shotgun”, “So Much Love to Give”, “The Union” and “Mama” were some of the rocking highlights, while “Sometimes on a Sunday” featured the band’s more introspective side.
An excellent reading of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” had the middle slot of the 3 song encore, with guitarist Chris Koster surprisingly taking over the female vocals during the song’s ending section. The guy can wail! “Kill the Lights” appropriately ended the evening on a high note.
I’m on record saying The Glorious Sons are on of the best rock bands of this century. While the times might not be conductive to them breaking out as huge stars, they are destined to a great future. One of the most exciting rock bands to come out in a long time.