In honour of attending Heavy Montreal this weekend I thought it would be appropriate to write about one of my fondest hardcore/metal show moments I have seen in Ottawa.
On a snowy day in December 2006 my little brother Philip broke his leg. I had bought him tickets for his Jan. 16 birthday to go see one of our favourite bands, Cancer Bats. The show was on the 25th of January but I wasn’t sure if my parents would let him go with a cast and crutches. Luckily, their punk rock ethos and a little convincing won them over in the end.
Opening the show was the female-fronted metalcore band from Kingston, I Hate Sally. I had seen them before and really liked their sound, and even more so loved their fiery singer’s passion and stage presence. Dee Prescott is probably less than five feet tall and covered in tattoos, and when she took to the stage that night she was in crutches and a cast! She opened the show by saying something a long the lines of “I broke my ankle a few nights ago but there was no way I was missing playing Ottawa and opening for Cancer Bats. Let’s do this!” With mic in one hand, a crutch tucked under her armpit and waving and slamming the other all over the place we were in awe. Dee wielded the lumber that was supposed to support her like a medieval weapon at the front of the stage. The set was fast-paced and intense, I still to this day haven’t seen anyone else flail a crutch while singing.
When they finished the set, Dee walked over to see my brother. I assume she noticed him bobbing his head while on crutches himself. The little ball of fire shook my 14-year-old brother’s hand and started to chat with him about their injuries. They talked for a solid 10 or 15 minutes and a lifelong fan was born. Check out some of their videos and live footage below to really get a grasp for their energy and sound.
Cancer Bats were next so I hid my brother by the side of the stage near the bar (the bar used to be much closer to the stage at Mavericks) to protect him from the imminent chaos. Philip, who loved to mosh, had to sit this one out. I am sure their set was amazing and that I sang to all the songs, but what stayed with us that night was the opening act shredding the place up on one foot.