Montreal, QC – May 17-20 – first hand account by Pete Crane of Shiv-r
Holy shit Kinetik!!!
Since the first Kinetik was announced five years ago, it has had a pants-wettening line-up and every year we have been tempted to travel to Montreal, Canada to party it up and see the awesomeness. From the first Kinetik featuring one of my personal faves Headscan, and other awesome bands that you don’t get to see on the European festival circuit (and certainly the bands who have a snowball’s chance in hell of being brought to Australia), to 2011’s monster line-up including Frontline Assembly, mind.in.a.box, and Suicide Commando, it’s always a line-up to die for and this year was no different, so it was amazing to finally get to come to Kinetik, let alone being invited to actually perform.
Wendy and I made the flight from Sydney on the preceding Monday. The 19 hour Air Canada flight to Montreal via Vancouver was as brutal as you might expect but we eventually made it in and checked into the Hyatt in Montreal. We arrived in the late afternoon so we walked around the inner city for a couple of hours (we love just walking around foreign cities when we’re there for the first time, it’s my favorite part about travelling and seeing new shit, just walking).
On Tuesday our band mate Lee arrived. Despite writing half the music for Shiv-r, he has never actually been able to play live with us because he lives in Bangkok these days and they don’t have planes there or something. We also met up with another Australian friend of ours, Beck, and got our first taste of poutine (a famous Montreal specialty consisting of fries, gravy, and cheese, but god is it good!) and some shopping. Tuesday night we went drinking at the bar next to Metropolis, FouFon Electrique (or, “The Electric Butt-Butt”). $2.50 beers had me slaughtered in no time and then the rowdiness started. Apparently I was running around telling people (including my friends), “I don’t know if you heard, but I’m playing at the Metropolis on Friday night.” Well, bitches gotta recognise…
Wednesday, Lee and I went music store shopping (picked up some bits we needed for the show like extra drumsticks) and then went to the official pre-party at Passport. Our mission was to have a quiet one and take it easy but somehow 3am rolled around in no time after our awesome posse of friends from London, the guys from Nachtmahr and Grendel, and even some more Australians turned up and a ridiculous amount of Jaeger and “pornstar” shots were poured (I still have no idea what is in a “pornstar”).
Thursday the fest started and I was to play keyboards in Nachtmahr’s set. We met up with Thomas and Massimo from Nachtmahr in the hotel lobby at 1pm and got shuttled to the venue for sound check. Got to see the inside of the venue for the first time and holy shit I was not disappointed. That is easily the biggest stage I’ve ever been on (and it is a famous venue, I know the likes of Deadmau5, Stromae, and even Lady Gaga played there). The Nachtmahr tunes got the system pumping and I could tell this would be a killer show. I was using my Macbook Pro and KP3 for my parts, with a controller keyboard and ultimate apex stand provided by the festival, and alles was in ordnung. Once sound check was done, the complete Shiv-r + Nachtmahr crew (that’s Thomas, Massimo, Wendy, Lee, and myself) went to a killer Chinese restaurant called Beijing. Thomas had been here last time he played Kinetik and couldn’t wait to go back. Being the biggest foodie I’ve ever met, I will always trust Thomas when it comes to food (and wine). We got enough duck to feed an army and rolled out of there nice and happy. We headed back to the venue and got ready for the show. Much rock ensued. Much rock and even a little bit of controversy. Good times…
Friday came around and it was time for our own show. The protests in Montreal over the student fee increases were really starting to ramp up at this point and our friends had witnessed police trucks getting torched and people letting off flares over the last couple of days. There were dozens of police cars and busses on the streets by the venue and an omnipresent helicopter hovered in the sky at night. The night we played they had just passed a law that had forbidden groups of people from forming in the street without pre-approved permission to do so, so the atmosphere was getting more tense. But overall the feeling was that the protests were well organised and not riot-like, and it was incredible to see so many people persistently standing their ground for what they believe. Our sound check went well and we stayed at the venue to get ready instead of leaving to get food. A Shiv-r show involves a lot more makeup than a Nachtmahr show so we didn’t really have time to do anything else. Our showtime came up and we were feeling very hungry and very, very sober. But jesus fuck that crowd was awesome! We decided to launch straight into our set with “Incision” (no time for moody fucking intros or boring atmospheric tracks!) and the crowd filled up fast and stayed through to the end of our 50 minute set. I managed to smack myself in the mouth with the mic and gave myself a lovely purple bruise that’s still there, tripped over a few times (but made it look like sweet dance moves) and even the Macbook Pro fell off its stand and onto the riser (though our backing tracks and visuals didn’t even glitch for a second, thank fuck for solid state drives huh!). Argh… this was so much damn fun. Such a legit stage, such a cool crowd. We met a ton of awesome fans at the merch booth and now that our set was done it was time to actually party. Oh yes, there was also Hypr. Being invited to be part of a Scooter cover band was something I couldn’t possibly pass up and that was also some seriously silly fun.
When we awoke on Saturday we went to a kick ass creperie with Nachtmahr and our friends from London and AU. We dragged ourselves away because we all wanted to get back to the venue in time to see End.User. Hocico’s set also delivered the fucking goods as expected. I’ve seen them quite a few times now and can honestly say I think they’re the best live industrial band right now. Much respect. The crowd seemed to be a bit more subdued by this point and weren’t quite showing the energy at the start of Hocico’s set, but by the time they punched out “Tiempos de Furia” and “Bite Me” the crowd was in a riot and the Mexican Bastards gave it all back to them. The hotel after parties this night were absolute bloody murder.
The Gothsicles featuring Shiv-r
Sunday brought… THE GOTHSICLES!!! This band is the fucking BUSINESS! We were partying with Mike and Brian all weekend so far and I couldn’t wait to see their set. And honestly I think they are some of the best performers I’ve seen and their set was pure PARTY. They even asked me to come up and sing the Konami Code on their last song, I hope that’s not the last time we share a stage together! Hey Mike, HKKGHHHHKHK!
Well that’s about it. Monday the girls went out and got tattoos while Lee and I went to the Moog store and played with modulars and the Minitaur. So much phat.
Thank you so much to the entire Kinetik crew for the entire experience! There wasn’t one technical hitch that I experienced and the whole thing was entirely LEGIT. Hope to do this again soon. This is our kind of place and we loved every second of it. Post-Kinetik depression begins now!!!
– Pete Crane
photos : C. Lang Photography
view more photos on C. Lang Photography’s Flickr