Montreal is no stranger to music festivals, widely known as the place to be in June and July for all things jazz and Francophone and early August for Osheaga’s indie-rock, yet more niche in its May music festivals: all manner of electronic music at Mutek and Elektra, the refined sounds of the chamber music festival, and the pop-punk, Pabst-soaked, poutine-fueled extravaganza that is Pouzza Fest…
Pouzza Fest turns the weekend of May 17-19 into a full-on takeover of 10 of downtown Montreal’s great venues, including Metropolis and Club Soda, packing in over 150 bands from dusk to late. It’s true that one person’s punk is another person’s pop, but with so many bands with a range of styles – what would a fest like this be in Montreal without ska, for instance – fans can pick and choose what they like. And though Pouzza Fest’s packed roster may seem intimidating, show-hopping is definitely part of the experience – die-hard fans are sure to have a festival pass, but other options, like a one-day pass, are available too.
The festival may be way bigger than it began three years ago when Hugo Mudie, lead vocalist of The Sainte Catherines, founded it, but it still maintains a solid community vibe, not only welcoming legends of punk and up-and-coming bands, but making sure there’s food aplenty for all, from hot dogs to poutine – bands even accompany a Saturday Lunch and Sunday Breakfast at Foufounes and BBQ dinners at Katacombes. But back to the music: among the many headliners of the fest are Me First & the Gimmie Gimmies, New Found Glory, A Wilhelm Scream, The Planet Smashers, Saves the Day, Good Riddance, Braid, Lemuria, Crime in Stereo, the Decay, Teenage Bottlerocket, Big D & the Kids Table, MXPX, Grade, The Slackers, The Creepshow, The Motorleague, and Boston-based trash band Psycho.
It’s also easy enough to get a taste of the festival for free at the weekend’s outdoor shows in the Quartier des Spectacles at the corner of Clark and Ste-Catherine. The music here is on the lighter, more “accessible” side of punk: on Saturday hear Mike Park, Dan Potthast and Miracles, followed by catchy pop punk of Masked Intruder, Montreal’s Alie Sin, Brooklyn’s acoustic punk-folk Sad & French, Quebec folk-rock Swiss Knife, guitar strumming and singing Brian McGee, and The Flatliners’ Chris Creswell wrapping up the day. The music starts up again on the outdoor stage on Sunday with Mike Park and Dan Potthast followed by a super secret show at noon, The Matchup, Dying River, Jen Unbe & Dark Horse, Toronto’s rollicking My Man, and NYC’s Vic Ruggiero of ska-rocksteady band The Slackers.
Pouzza Fest May 17-19, 2013