9 Canadian bands you need to see at Pouzza Fest
by Deborah Remus
May 14, 2014
Founded in 2011 by ex-Sainte Catherines member Hugo Mudie, Pouzza Fest invades downtown Montreal during the Victoria Day long weekend, scattering over 200 bands through various venues, much in the same spirit as the long-running Fest in Gainesville, Florida. It also draws attention to the province of Quebec, supporting its music scene and showcasing the artery-clogging foodstuff that is poutine on a pizza crust. (You can read our interview with Mudie about the weekend here.)
This year Pouzza has roped in more big American names like the Menzingers and the Hold Steady. It’s one of your rare chances to see groups like Dillinger Four and the Lillingtons. And of course established Canadian groups like Chixdiggit! and The Flatliners will show face.
But more than just the big names, tons of smaller Canadian bands will be playing Pouzza too, some of them driving 30 hours just for the chance to be there. After listening to every group, we think these ones are worth your time. The full line-up can be found on the official website.
As One Man
This La Baie, QC group formed in October 2011 and only has three songs on its Bandcamp, but their Fake Problems with a little Against Me! sound has us hooked. Apparently the band started recording a new EP last month at Bedrock and it’s currently slated for release sometime this summer.
Formed from the ashes of Winnipeg punk band High Five Drive, Clipwing is similar, though slower and less technical. Last summer the band released a split LP with Icons Down! through the Newform Label and it contains four tracks that sound a bit like No Trigger, especially in terms of the vocals.
This Ottawa-based band has been around since 1999, but is still a little too under the radar. Last year they dropped a new EP called Our Time and have previously released some material through It’s Alive, the California based label that has also worked with The Dopamines and The Copyrights.
This summer, Winnipeg punks Elder Abuse are gearing up to release Born to Lose, its debut full-length for State of Mind Recordings. Specializing in two-minute punk tunes the group also features ex-Daggermouth drummer Dan Don and was tracked over at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver with Stu McKillop.
The Gentlemen Thieves
This Mississauga, ON pop-punk band just released its debut full-length Uncertainties last month, a record full of catchy, guitar-driven jams that will bring you back to the days when Sum 41 and Treble Charger dominated the MuchMusic Countdown. Perhaps not surprisingly, the record was also produced by ex-Sum 41 guitarist Dave “Brownsound” Baksh.
This screamo four piece from Montreal started playing shows in 2012 and released an EP last summer that sounds like it would be super fun to hear live. Clean guitars and harsh vocals dominate on “Ethereal,” an opening track which does a great job of actually convincing you to keep listening.
Winnipeg alternative/punk duo Mobina Galore formed in 2010, but it’s only recently the band finished recording its debut full-length record Cities Away with John Paul Peters (Propagandhi, Comeback Kid) at Private Ear. It’s slated for official release sometime in the fall, but premasters are available now and worth a listen to.
Featuring ex-members from Tightrope, this Montreal band formed last year and released a 7″ called Belongings in September 2013 before taking off to Europe for some shows. Overall it’s clear the band loves Paint It Black since the end result is five short and heavy punk tracks with awesomely gruff vocals.
While Pouzza Fest is largely dominated by bands, there’re a few acoustic singer/songwriters on board too, and Montreal’s own Noé Talbot is one of them. He just released a new six-song record in March called Beurre Noir and his songs could appeal to fans of Dave Hause—as long as they’re cool with French lyrics.