A great crowd showed up at Gabba Hey! Sunday afternoon to bid farewell to Pregnancy Scares.
The all-ages matinee show was packed with a great mix of music fans from varying age groups, some looking like they were from junior high and others looking much closer to retirement than graduation. Whoever they were, they’d all gathered to send off one of Ottawa’s loudest, wildest and most in-your-face-intense bands that recently ended their five years stint — Pregnancy Scares.
With the lights turned off and the smoke machine in full effect, the funeral began. This was not your average celebration of life as the deceased was on stage leading the charge at 100 km/h. That is the Pregnancy Scares way — blaring vocals over fast & crunching music with the crazy eyes of Craig Peru telling the rest of the story. The pit erupted at the sound of the first chord and only slowed when Peru was lifted above them and carried by the mourners around the room. It was really special to hear them perform “Don’t Try” as it was the first song they ever wrote together. A few songs in, guitarist Davey Quesnelle was passed the mic so he could speak his mind. “I really want to thank these guys for being in a band with me for five years… Time go out on top!”
The zenith was reached during during the final song of that last performance.
Energy from the crowd clashed with the band’s and culminated into a chaos of people getting on stage while Pregnancy Scares blasted away. It was taken to a whole other level when a man on the side of the stage wearing safety goggles and a bandana over his mouth started an electric grinder inside a steel Ottawa Senators trash can. He showered the stage and musicians with sparks and Davey, loving every minute of it, went as as close as he possibly could. The crowd completely engulfed the stage as all were shrouded in smoke and some grabbed drum sticks to pound away with Dave Fournier. As the wall of distorted sounds slowed and members started leaving the stage, Dave exploded from behind the veil of smoke and sent his drum set flying everywhere. Goodbye Pregnancy Scares, you sure capped off the five-year run with one hell of a performance.
Montreal three-piece Subsistench began their set mentioning that they we “So hung over.” I guess this is one of the consequences of afternoon shows. The bass player was dealing with it pretty well as she slammed back coconut water. Things did not get off to the best start when the guitarist broke a string during their first song. Luckily other bands still in the crowd jumped to the rescue and brought him their guitar to play. Oh, Ottawa you are so kind. One thing that cannot go unmentioned about Subsistench is their drummer. He took to the stage wearing a mask that looked like Skeletor from He-Man, chains from over his shoulder crossing like an X on his chest and cut-off jean shorts… he is also a pretty dynamic drummer. Subsistench really peaked my attention with the tracks “Conform” and “Plastic Lies.” They concluded their set with the bass player saying, “We are Subsistench, we hate you.” Considering that they were all smiles the whole time it seemed kind of out-of-place.
I am pretty sure Sick Nurse were playing their first show ever — so, a birth amidst all this talk of death. The band began to play and there was no sight of lead singer Darryl Andrew Reid. He then emerged through the crowd wearing a Reagan mask and began to wrestle with a fan and slammed down to the ground. This would not be the last time Reid would find himself on the floor during the set. Sick Nurse may very well be the angriest band in town and I am sure they like it that way. Reid marched around on stage and threw himself flat, often pounding the floor while unleashing what appeared to be decades of pent-up rage. It was loud, fast and very raw. The set was mostly original material, but it did feature a couple of covers, including Bishop Green’s “Vacant State.”
Getting the afternoon started was one of my new favourite local bands, Sailor Jupiter. I was always more of a Sailor Mars kind of guy, but this all-girl three-piece garage band quickly changed my allegiance. From the very first song I was in. The band had no fear of changing pace as their first song was a little slow and they followed it up with “Can’t Surf” which much faster and rockier. They may list themselves as garage, but I see them as more of a grunge revival sound. The bass intro for “Dead to Me” was really sweet and just kept adding to how excited I was to finally see this band. They were one of the best opening acts I have seen in a long time and are certainly a band to watch. Rumour has it they are working on recording some music as you read!