Thursday night marked the end of an Ottawa punk rock institution, 558 Scum house (558 Gladstone) hosted its last show after two years of house concerts.
The shows take place in the basement of the little townhome. The space can not be much more than 20 square feet and the highest portion of the ceiling is about 6′ 2”. It is small, crammed, dirty, humid, loud and exactly what you want for a hardcore show.,
Amidst the patrons, who were mostly sipping on Old English and PBR all night, John Creeden took the floor to open the night. Jon is a punk rocker with an acoustic guitar and a booming voice. He was tasked with kicking off the night and playing songs between every set. He opened in the basement and played in the kitchen while bands set up. Jon played a bunch of awesome originals, many of which had Brutal Youth’s singer and drummer singing a long, as well as many long time fans. On top of that, it was so adorable to watch his girlfriend mouth along every single lyric. When he covered Dead Weight’s song “The Captain,” some kitchen crowd surfing happened.
Walk the Plank was next up. The band from Washington, DC had never played in Canada before. The guitarist was one heck of a tall guy, as his neck was at the ceiling and he had to play slouched over the whole time. The band had great energy and you could tell they were super stocked to be there. My favourite song from their set was “Hush Hush.”
No band traveled further to play 558 Scum’s last night than France’s Pink Flamingos. The three piece delivered straight forward, no fluff punk rock form across the pond. This show was a big deal for them as it was the first time they ever played outside of Europe, and it was there only North American show outside of Quebec. They closed with two wicked tracks, ”Behead the King” and ”Daddy Issues,” of their new EP The Clown Wars. Great band and great guys who were very humbled by the experience. Vachement bon!
Brutal Youth, who are from Newfoundland but now call Toronto home, were up next. They played fast, hard and in your face. Felt like they were channeling old-school 80’s hardcore bands as they tore through their set with insane energy. Fans crowded the mic, in the packed basement to sing with them. They played ”Hunting Wabbits,” off their new record, as well as lthe awesome ”Newfoundland time.” Lead singer, Patrick Neary, often smashed himself in the face and in the head with his mic. Sometimes taking it to the next level by jumping and smashing his face on the lower ceiling. The crowd loved it all, moshing and crowd surfing in the very tight space. They played the wicked unifying song “Xpss&Winex,” which is about how straightedge and non straightedge people should all get along. It is one of my favourite hardcore songs going right now.
Time was running on and the night was going great until After the Fall were about to take the stage. At 10:20 pm two police cruisers showed up, so the band did not start. Luckily the cops only gave a warning and then took off. Having their set cut a little short, the 12 year veterans from Albany, NY launched right into it. They played some great ragers like, ”Senseless,” ”Cathedral” and ”Eradication.” Most of the members from the other bands could be seen rocking along in. I love seeing the others bands front and center. Stuff really got crazy when After the Fall invited , Neary, to sing Minor Threat’s epic ”Small Man Big Mouth.” They then closed with ”Power Trip,” which was dedicated to the cops and ”Its a Choice.”
The crowd started to clear out thinking it was the last song to ever be played at 558 Scum, but those who stuck around past the 11 pm curfew were rewarded. Out of the blue came Royal Red Brigade, from Regina. They stopped by on their way to Montreal and rocked through a mini five song set. Loved the track ”A-Love Radio.” They were an awesome surprise addition, and thankfully when I left around 11:20-11:30 the cops had not been back yet.
All in all it was an epic send off for the house that has helped launch some careers and hosted some excellent shows. This was another portion of My Brain Hurts Volume 1, and as always Finish What You Started just knows how to find the right bands to throw a party. RIP 558 Scum!