Londoners sure do love Pouzzafest.

The punk rock music festival kicks off Friday in Montreal, but the pregame was electric at Call the Office Tuesday night.

Dropping in on their way to Pouzza, Wisconsin punkers Arms Aloft and Chicago’s Two Houses played high-energy sets to a crowd of about 40 people.

Burlington’s pop punk trio The Penske FIle headlined and locals Bad Words treated the crowd to a few new songs. All of them are headed to Pouzzafest in downtown Montreal this weekend.

Bad Words aren’t the only Londoners’ headed to Pouzza – they will be joined by Heart Attack Kids, The Filthy Radicals, Curt Murder and Wasted Potential.

Curt Murder at Pouzzafest 2017. Photo by Sara Mai Chitty.
Curt Murder at Frites Alors during Pouzza 2016. Photo by Sara Mai Chitty.

London darlings Wasted Potential are playing their first show at Pouzza since hinting things would slow down for them at their last show in Ottawa. If you like secrets, they’re also playing a house show locally on Thursday night with Pouzza-mates Hospital Job, but you’ll have to “ask a punk.”

A different atmosphere

“What makes Pouzza Fest so compelling is that Montreal itself is like being in a totally different country,” says Wapo’s Dennis Anderson. “It’s a mixture of the people, the culture, the food, the atmosphere, and all the amazing bands. I’ve been to my fair share of festivals over the last couple decades in different parts of North America and I can honestly say that Pouzza has its own unique vibe and holds up to the best of them.”

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Pouzzafest is a three-day multi-venue punk rock baseball extravaganza with over fifty bands and tons of other activities.

Co-founder Hugo Mudie of the Sainte Catherines saw a gap in Canada’s music scene for a festival that supports indie and punk music, like the Fest in Florida, and eight years later it’s still going strong.

With a core belief in supporting upcoming bands, women and independent businesses, this year’s lineup is comprised of tons of bands with women presenting folks, plus sponsors Beau’s, Le Trou de Diable and Stomp Records.

5 time Pouzza goer and Londoner Jess Baird on the patio at Foufones Electrique Pouzza 2017. Photo by Sara Mai Chitty.
Seven time Pouzza goer and Londoner Jess Baird on the patio at Foufones Electrique Pouzza 2017. Photo by Sara Mai Chitty.

This year Pouzza is also presenting a panel discussion on “Women in the Scene” Friday evening. Featuring Pouzza co-founder Hélène McCoy, War on Women’s Shawna Potter as well as seven other musicians and industry professionals. The panel will discuss the successes, struggles and future of women in the industry.

Catching up

The weekend promises non-stop entertainment and thought provoking conversation that any music lover wouldn’t want to miss. It’s also a place where old friends catch up, and to meet new friends says Heart Attack Kids’ Jared Ellul and Nathan Stock.

“One of my favourite memories of Pouzza was playing at Katacombes with Brutal Youth and Dirty Nil,” said Ellul. “That venue was definitely on our bucket list for sure and most of that night was pretty wild. Pouzza is a great place to run into friends in other bands and hang out. Pretty awesome all these people across the country all hanging out in one place.”

That’s part of the appeal for first-timers Andrew Stevens and Tyler O’Brien of Bad Words.

Bad Words live at Call the Office. Photo by Sara Mai Chitty.
Bad Words performing at Call the Office Tuesday, May 15. Photo by Sara Mai Chitty.

“It’s a great festival with a lot going on and this year has some bands we’re really into,” said O’Brien. “We’re gonna see a ton of friends there too, so it was a no-brainer to play it and make the trip down this year.”

Cody Deveaux of the Filthy Radicals explained, “Pouzza is one of our favorite places to be because it’s a whole weekend of punk rock, cheap beer and parties!”

He also added “PLUS POUZZA? Poutine + pizza!? Sign us up!”

It’s non-stop party and fun, and Londoners’ are looking forward to attending, but why go see your favourite locals in another city? Read below to get yourself stoked for this unique festival.

Fuse QnA with Pouzza-bound Londoners

So many bands to see at Pouzza, why should folks make sure you’re on their schedule?

Bad Words:

“We’ve got new stuff to play, our new Bass player Andrew’s been killing it so anyone who hasn’t seen us with him yet should check it out for sure.  Honestly I think the show we put on is better than ever, but we’ll forgive anyone who has to miss it…there ARE a lot of awesome bands to see.

We’ve got some new tricks up our sleeve but you’re gonna have to come to the show to see.  We just released a few new songs this year and we’ll be playing those along with some stuff from our first two EPs too.”

The Filthy Radicals:

“When we’re going to play a fest, it needs to be an experience that we would want to have whether we were playing the gig or not, that way we get the most out of the deal.  Pouzza has been good to us, and we love the way the layout sprawls through downtown Montreal.

Filthy Radicals will be punking it up in La Belle Province this weekend for Pouzzafest. Photo courtesy of Filthy Radicals.
Filthy Radicals will be punking it up in La Belle Province this weekend for Pouzzafest. Photo courtesy of Filthy Radicals.

We will be playing at least three tracks off of our upcoming Baby Boomer EP at Foufs on Saturday.  We try to indulge our core fans with their favorite songs, but we’ve got a pretty heavy sounding ska punk set solidified at the moment.”

Wasted Potential (Dennis Anderson):

“I couldn’t agree more there’s a ton of amazing bands that are playing this year’s Pouzzafest. I would have to say we’re not the best at doing the whole shameless self-promotion bit but if you remotely like our band at all I would urge you to come see us this year.

Wasted Potential at Foufones Electrique. Photo by Jess Baird.
Wasted Potential at Foufones Electrique. Photo by Jess Baird.

Sometimes life gets in the way of living and we’ve been slowing down so much that this is our second show of 2018 and we don’t have any plans of doing another as far as I can tell. I’m not saying that we’re done but we can probably call this a hiatus. As far as what to expect we will deliver the goods as always high energy set packed full of new and old songs. Who knows we might throw in a cover?”

Heart Attack Kids:

“We will be playing quite a few new songs this year. We’ve been working hard on writing since last year so we’re stoked that people of Pouzza will be able to get the sneak peak.”

Curt Murder:

For those who are into my music, I will be playing some new tracks and a cover from my band Red Arms. Of course there will be the melancholy standards within my set that still seem to resonate and connect with people who may have shared experiences with them.”

Where will you be found when not on stage?

Bad Words:

“We’re gonna be eating tons of food, checking out our Friends in Wasted Potential, Pseudo, Heart Attack Kids, Filthy Radicals, Boids and tons more.  Really excited to see Face to Face and Chixdiggit on the bill this year too.”

The Filthy Radicals:

“We’re going to be checking out a lot of our friends sets, as we’re lucky enough to know at least 10 other bands playing this year personally! Other than that, you can catch us mowing down Pouzza slices and singing Against Me! acapella on the streets between venues.”

Wasted Potential:

“If it’s anything like previous years you’re most likely to catch me or any of our guys at the main Hotel hanging out with buds, drinking beers in an alley with buds, eating pizza in a restaurant with buds, or eating pizza drinking beer and listening to music in a ba. Oh yeah it’s also pretty cool to hang out at the outdoor stage.”

Heart Attack Kids:

“We will be checking out other bands for sure. This is the first year we are able to stay for the whole weekend so we are very excited to see bands such as Cancer Bats, Antiflag etc.”

Curt Murder:

“The coolest thing about this year’s Pouzzafest is it’s also a pre-wedding honeymoon [for me and my fiance]. Super stoked about these things combined!

When in Montreal for Pouzza, it’s a killer party and the best time so there will be a lot of that. But the slot I’m scheduled for is at a place full of solo artists I’ve played with before, released music with, toured with, or highly respect. I’m very excited about that. Three sets that are a must for me outside of that would be The Creeps, Frankie Stubbs, and Face To Face.”

What’s your favourite Pouzza memory?

The Filthy Radicals:

“Favorite Pouzza memory was pulling up to TRH bar two years ago just in time for our set. As soon as we parked out front, members of other bands were shouting “GO GO GO GO GO!” and they grabbed as much gear out of our car as they could and we went straight on stage and set up and rocked it!”

Wasted Potential:

“My favorite Pouzza memory would have to be from a couple years ago when The Creeps played Katacombes. What made it so special is no matter where you looked in the crowd it was friends and acquaintances from all over the world gathered in one place singing along at the top of their lungs. It was so crowded and sweaty yet everybody look like they were having the time of their lives not to mention the creeps put on an amazing set.”

Curt Murder:

“Hard to pick just one. The first set I played there was during Pouzza 5 with our AFI cover band “Danny and the Havoks.” As soon as we started and for the whole set the crowd just exploded! That’s a close second to my solo set for Pouzza 6. A Whiskey-fueled show to a packed house, choking people up. Truly awesome memory.”

Everyone is looking forward to seeing friends, playing music and listening to music. It truly is a special weekend for tons of people to let loose, and enjoy good tunes. It’s not too late to grab a ticket, and impromptu, spontaneous trips to Montreal are never a bad idea!

Get your tickets and more information here:

Where: Montreal, QC

When: May 18-20

Can’t go to Pouzza?
Catch these Pouzza-playing bands in London this week:
Wednesday, May 16
Such Gold, Kali Masi, Pseudo
Call the Office
Doors 7 $10
Thursday, May 17
Hospital Job, Attic Salt, Yeah Bud!, Wasted Potential, Probably
Call the Office
7pm $10
See event for details
Saturday May 19
Face to Face, Spoilers, The Stragglers
7pm $26.50 + fees
London Music Hall


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