Show Review: Off With Their Heads at Foufounes, Montreal 2/24/10

words and photos by Chris Aitkens | Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

I’m probably the laziest critic in the world. While most critics can produce a review the week after an event, it took me close to a month to review a show that took place on February 24, 2010 at Les Foufounes Electriques in Montreal. Originally, the Queers were supposed to headline, but decided to cancel a month before when Joe Queer opened up a restaurant. I was a bit disappointed to hear the news because I spent months listening to Beyond the Valley of the Assfuckers, but I was still enthusiastic to attend, as during that time I developed an ear for Off With Their Heads, the new headliners. Verbicide’s publisher set me up to interview Off With Their Heads and I accepted without a second thought. He then told the band that I would buy them a large amount of poutine for the interview (alright, I get it; I live in Quebec, very funny!).

I like Foufounes Electriques (Foufs for short). The last time I was at Foufs I was dressed in drag for Fear & Loathing in Montreal 8, but this time I was dressed normally and the venue wasn’t as crowded. Foufs has two main floors: the first is a bar, complete with tables, game tables, and bizarre portraits of Bill Murray. The second floor is a performance area with two other bars. The drinks are cheap, so while I waited for the upstairs doors to open I had four beers while listening to people at the bar cheer loudly every time Canada scored a goal against Russia. Eventually, the door to the stage area was wide open, so I snuck upstairs to the merch tables. There, I met Robbie Swartwood, the bassist of Off With Their Heads. He told me that there was a delay because their trailer hitch broke and that the rest of the band was getting it fixed at a garage. I offered Robbie some poutine I snuck in under my jacket and he took it gratefully, in exchange for an OWTH shirt and a vinyl of Hospitals, which I accepted gratefully.

The show finally started around 9:00 pm. The opening act was Montreal’s own Winslow, who started off the night with a musical bang. Personally, Winslow is my favorite band from Montreal, and I was more than happy to be the only one dancing at the front. They seemed excited to play Foufs, but took the stage like they belonged there. Their sound was powerful and they still gave a strong performance, despite the lack of movement in the audience. After their set, they distributed teasers for their upcoming debut album, which I’ve been anticipating for a year and a half.

Between acts I interviewed Off With Their Heads. Halfway through the interview I could hear the second band starting, so I thanked the band for putting up with my dumb questions and ran out to see The Unbelievers from Toronto. Unlike Winslow and OWTH, I didn’t get a chance to listen to any of the Unbelievers’ songs prior to the event, but now I wish I had. The band has four members, two men and two women. The gender split made the music interesting (and the lead singer is really hot). I tried my best to support them.

Then Off With Their Heads took the stage. Some sang along to Ryan Young’s raw vocals and some jumped around, but I was disappointed to see that the room was filled with people standing and crossing their arms. Off With Their Heads might have made a good impression on Montreal, but I doubt Montreal made a good impression on Off With Their Heads. I was hoping the audience would be a bit wilder. Foufs went a bit overboard with the smoke machine, so taking pictures proved to be difficult. The audience surprised OWTH when they called for an encore. They ended the show with “Fuck This, I’m Out,” and I was ecstatic to sing along with them one last time.

The show ended at 11:30 pm, which is acceptable for a Wednesday night. I look forward to Off With Their Heads returning to my city (and hopefully the Queers won’t cancel the next time they plan on coming to Montreal!).