Deep voices and beaten-up instruments at Katacombs

bad uncle

Katacombs, a longstanding metal and punk haven, was the perfect setting for this show—a little dark, a little menacing, and a buttload of fun. The bar itself, the staff, the bands that played on this past 28th of June, all give of the vibe of not being afraid of patching problems with electrical tape and wearing yesterday’s t-shirt. The bands and the crowd especially all seemed to be cut from the same weird cloth, cloth probably found in a back alley smelling of smoke, sweat, and whiskey.

Opening up this night of folk-tango-punk madness was Chahut d’ruelle. A frenetic six-piece, Chahut’s music tends toward the lilting 1-2-3, 1-2-3 of waltzes, but they switch up their rhythms with skill and timing. Many of its members are multi-instrumentalists, trading guitar for banjo, accordion for harmonica. Dark, heavy, catchy, and ridiculously easy to move to, Chahut’s sound is fronted by the deep growl of vocalist Phil Ouellet singing and ranting in pure, proud Québécois. Overall, they have a style not unlike les Colocs or Bernard Adamus, but with way more dirt and trash. A fun set and a talented group, they warmed the place up just right and their last song had the crowd yelling for more.

Bad Uncle was next to take the stage. A band that’s had a free-love attitude toward its lineup, Bad Uncle members are a talented group of vagabonds, sewing wild musical oats in all incarnations all over the city. Self-described “rakes and drunkards”, the boys of Bad Uncle will force you to dance, yell, and maybe do one shot too many. Their music is a raw, driving mish-mash of styles that defies labels—though “grasscore polkabilly” and “operatic punk” come close. Over the wild thumping of the band, lead singer Santosh Lalonde, the baby-daddy of this hot mess, will growl and honk into the mic with a flexible monster voice that borders on surreal. Always a treat, you may just leave a Bad Uncle show bruised, battered, and covered in other people’s beer—and you’ll love it.

The night finished off with the imports Barons of Tang. Hailing from a land where today is actually yesterday (Australia—Melbourne, to be precise), this seven-piece deserves every bit of love and attention that they got that night. They fit in perfectly with the local boys, their musical tango-punk full of distortion, attitude, and blasts of brass and bass. Their songs don’t rely too heavily on vocals, though there’s lots of chanting and the occasional primal scream. Chaotically packed onto Katacomb’s small stage, the Barons reeled, yelled, and poured energy into the crowd, and the crowd lapped up every bit of it.

These three bands belong together, it seems, but make sure to catch any of them on their own! You won’t regret it. Bad Uncle will be playing at the Auberge de Jeunesse Petite Nation in Saint-André-Avellin on July 28th, while Chahut d’ruelle’s next show is at Bar le Temps Partiel in Québec city on September 8th.

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