Walking down Rideau street, 1997 the street posts are full of postings. Word of mouth hits faster, and an answering service that lists off bands names and shows 613-234-PUNX listed off the months listings for all the underground fanatics. It was the times. Skateboarding, shredding, going to shows and partying with your favorite bands in between playing your own shows. Probably the best time of my life.
It was St Andrews Church, one of if not the first or second Sno Jam before Molson bought it and ruined it, I'm in the basement. Having a conversation with the lead singer of Anti-Flag. He smells bad, probably hasn't showered in a month and hands me what was Die For Your government on Cassette. 88 fingers Louie are fighting on stage and don't even finish the set (fighting). It was just another night. I can't believe I didn't pay more attention not realizing they were going to break up and I was going to never see them again, but I wasn't there to see Misconduct from Sweden, nor was I there to see The Bouncing Souls. Looking back, a pretty boss line-up. However I WAS there to see Gob. Little did I know these were the dying days of these kinds of lineups we took for granted in the capital.
At the time it felt like Canadian Punk Rock was ruling the game. With bands (give or take a few years) like Gob, Another Joe, Moneen, Choke, Layaway Plan, Grade, Marylins Vitamis, The Chelseas, Bertha Does Moosejaw, Propagandhi, Guy Smiley, Miles Between Us, Seven Layers, Unemployed, The Riptides, I could keep going and going and going.
It wasn't like we didn't get our share of the big names before they were big or after. The Misfits to The Ataris, you could have your fill. However we seemed to have something really unique and ahead of it's time compared to the Hardcore/Melodic Hardcore/Pop-Punk dominating the stuff we got from down south. From Propagahis 45 minute speeches between 3 minute songs to the math-rock/metal of Choke's latest release 'Forward' leading itself to a record of complete insanity within time signatures and complexity just not found in "Punk" of the day. Moneen was hitting the seen with their own take on Atmospheric Emo Core with its own take on complex time signatures and 15 minute songs with improvisations. I distinctly remember Kenny Bridges breaking a Strat right in half at the neck during a BREAKDOWN of melodic interchanges of clean, undistorted harmonies. It was feeling like our time and years later with the demise of almost every band listed it's hard to understand why it is that Canadian music has as hard a time breaking into the states as a border jumper getting a job with the Department of Defense.
Moving forward it wouldn't be until Alexisonfire would breakthrough, 20 some years since DOA or SNFU laid their stamps on American Punk. Why was this? We may never know as all bands had the talent and toured relentlessly. In fact, one of the most iconic songs of touring in my own opinion is Chokes - Concrete Timeline off There's a Story To This Moral.
To give you an idea of what I'm on about think of the fact that these are songs from the 1990s or year 2000 at the latest (year 2000 would of been recorded in 99 anyways).
However it's bad times in Canada, what we had is gone and for the slack I might say from my companions up North we just don't have the caliber of Musicians that we had back then. We still had some great releases in the 2000s, bands like Ghosts of Modern Man, Passenger Action, The Fullblast, The Reason, Alexisonfire, Cunter, Seas and more. However still, most American's I imagine (for the most part, and this isn't meant to be a stab) probably only know Alexisonfire from the lot.
So I ask, if I may that you take a look up north at the amazing musicians we have left from these great bands that dominated our scene. Cunter, Seas, Moneen and Comeback Kid being the best of the lot in my opinion. The die-hards obviously know Comeback Kid and that's great. However I strongly encourage fans of bands like Say Anything to explore Moneen, fans of Bane to explore Cunter, fans of the Get Up Kids to explore Seas and promoters to look to the North for some talent to help the dying breeds spread their love across the border with our southern brothers.
Bands like Cunter
The dying breeds with the leftovers of those who are trying to keep the dream alive. Canada's scene is dying, it's on life support. Support your northern brothers and feel the love. Or I swear, no more bacon, Tim Hortons or drinking for 18 year olds. This is a Standoff, Moneen, Cunter, Seas, Passenger Action, Black Mastiff.. just some of the amazing bands I have on my favorites these days. So show your support if you get a chance to see them.