Pouzza Fest [Day 1] - Live in Montreal (Cover Artwork)

Pouzza Fest [Day 1]

Live in Montreal (2023)

live show

On the morning of May 19, my walls shook with the sound of whale sounds. I jumped out of bed ready to face the onslaught of marine life before I realized that it was just my alarm and it was time to get everything together for the journey to Montreal for Pouzza Fest. I threw my toothbrush in my suitcase and went to catch the train. This was the beginning of my first festival weekend as well as my first time in Montreal and I had no idea what was in store for me.

After checking in and dropping off my stuff at the place I was staying, I headed right for Le Central - the food court that served as Pouzza HQ - to pick up my pass. I found an absolutely delicious pizza place, chowed down, and was ready to head out for the night.

I called up the directions I had saved on my phone to get to Turbo Haüs and set off. Before the festival, I had heard so many good things about the venue and I couldn’t wait to check it out for myself. Turbo Haüs surpassed my expectations. The venue can fit a good amount of people in while retaining an intimate feel and the sound was excellent. They also have a disco ball hanging from the ceiling and nothing is better than that.

I walked in near the beginning of Call Me Rita’s set. For this performance, the Columbus, Ohio-based band was made up of two of the five members of the band: Vanessa Jean Speckman on lead vocals and Micah Schnabel on acoustic guitar. Vanessa’s spoken word vocal delivery drove the lyrics home as she delivered line after line of powerful, intense poetry dealing with mental health and bodily autonomy. Micah played with a shredding intensity that complemented the lyrics perfectly and brought you further into the song than you already were. I was not familiar with the band prior to their performance but they blew me away in a matter of minutes.

After Call Me Rita packed up their gear, people started streaming in to catch Postage who were up next. The band launched into a set full of new and old songs, telling the crowd that “All the songs that end with ‘ia’ are the new ones”. They were full of energy and slowed down only to introduce the next song. “Asphyxia” had one such memorable introduction with Mike Moak saying, “This is a song about being choked while getting fucked!” Needless to say, the crowd went wild. Toronto’s Mistake Not! were on after Postage. They were an absolute blast to see. They were cracking jokes between songs and had an infectious energy that you couldn’t help but be moved by. The songs were fast, melodic, and full of life. I could’ve watched them all night.

Speaking of another band I could’ve watched all night, Heavy Petter played after Mistake Not! The Barrie-based trio, made up of Casey Cuff, Core Bee, and Jon Boyer, stepped on stage and proceeded to teach a masterclass in how to kick ass. They played song after song without tiring or slowing down. When they played “Final Post” (off their 2022 split with the Holdouts) the entire crowd erupted into “Fuck this I’m out”, joining the band with vigorous energy. This was my second time seeing Heavy Petter live and just like the first time I saw them, they completely blew me out of the water.

Following Heavy Petter, I had planned to go over to Cafe Cleopatra to see some cool ska bands but it is very confusing walking around a city you’ve never been to at night. Once I regained my bearings, I headed back to where I was staying, treated my blisters, and fell into bed already dreaming of the day to come.