Walking into my favourite Montreal venue, The Corona Theatre, I was immediately excited just by the enthusiasm exuding from the first opener Tyrone’s Jacket. To be fair, they may have performed to an unfilled theatre but that did not stop them from rocking out, and eventually ending up topless.
On the Mezzanine, I get a full view of The Unlikely Candidates. They get off to a rocky start because most people are startled that the main singer is hobbling around on a single crutch. Nevertheless, the music plays on and he staggers across the stage with persistence and passion (so much so that that he almost fell over at some points). Yet, yelling “Im a Pirate Montreal!” definitely got us into it.
As the second opener exits the stage, the long wait for Dirty Heads to come on begins. By this point, I’ve been hiding on the mezzanine aiming to get a full perspective of the band throughout. However, I quickly realize that that this is not the type of concert that allows you to sit back and observe. The energy from downstairs is already hard to ignore. Despite my being alone, I decide to head to the main floor in order to enjoy the full Dirty Heads experience. Not to my surprise, as Dirty J (co-vocal), Duddy B (co-vocal/guitar), Jon (percussion), Shawn (keys/vocals), David(bass) and Matt (drums) step on, the whole crowd starts bumpin’.
Just for fun, Tyrone’s Jacket comes out for the second song Medusa. We all woo and clap while the band members give them thank you embraces.
Next, the hit song from the Sound of Change album slides in, My Sweet Summer. Now, the crowd is jumping and Dirty J’s vocals are giving us a glimpse of that sweet reggae rasp- holding on to each note before the crowd jumps in at the chorus. Montreal gets a quick shout out to for being a sold out show and the band moves on to the anticipated hit Vacation from their newest album Swim Team.
Okay, now I can’t help but get closer.
A classic tune comes next, from the first album, Cabin by the Sea, appealing to all the OG* fans and newer ones alike. Again, Dirty J’s voice resonates throughout the hook, holding notes and making the Dance All Night tune authentic.
Standing mid-crowd now, I’m feeling the bass beneath my feet. The band can’t help but play with the audience and invite them participate in the Dirty Heads vibe. Though things start to slow down, with So Glad You Made It and God Damn Liar, we are still completely engaged. Singing, dancing and rapping (poorly) song after song.
I wont forget to mention The Unlikely Candidates‘ appearance during the ‘collab’ single Celebrate. Dirty J also forgetting some words and whispering “Oh, Sh*t” before pulling a full recovery. And finally, Duddy B stealing the show momentarily by strumming it down on the lead guitar during Check the Level.
Of course, the Dirty Heads won’t leave without an encore. After admitting to me, in an earlier interview [check out interview here] that a couple nights before, in Portland, was their first time playing West Coast, they play it again for the Montreal audience. It was a perfect addition to the show because it feels like it summarizes the upbeat and feel good vibe that the Dirty Heads are all about. Oxygen was also part of the encore- a song that didn’t stand out as being missed during the set but concluding the show with a quintessential head banger.
Just kidding, the show’s not done yet. Jon and Matt step away from their elaborate percussion sets, Shawn comes front and centre, and the band members take in the crowd one last time; throwing water, sweat, drumsticks and… shirts [?] into the crowd. We go wild. Dirty Heads leave the stage to a prolonged cheer and leave us wanting more. What a great end!
Side-note: The only disappointing part of the show is omitting Stand Tall, a song that has personal relevance to me as being my first Dirty Heads song that I knew all the words to. I thank Colombia and Sony Pictures’ 2007 cartoon film “Surf’s Up” for that.
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