There always seems to be something comforting in oddness and sketchiness. Sketchiness is what you are led to perceive when seeing, smelling or touching something for the first time. Those who are not willing to wait till they see the portrait to form their opinion will take the sketch, make a paper ball out of it, and then throw it away. Though when you uncover what you considered sketchy at first glance, you’re often reassured. That is how I felt when I stepped inside of the Crobar. It was like walking in someone’s living room.
It was the perfect venue for Crobar’s Sketchfest 2015, the first installment of an event I am unable to describe in a sentence.
Full Jackstrap Jacket was asked to be the first act. There were no vocals but good drum and guitar solos. It was simply pure rock, but since one of the guitarist was part of Waves, the last band to show of their skills that evening, I’m not sure if I can judge them as a band. They all had a shot at solos, so will say that they were all individually talented and they managed to pull a rabbit out of their hat by performing with each other. In fact, people who witnessed their performance were looking for the name of the bassist who wore ski glasses and a hood. The fact that he vanished after the set and that the guys wrote down their moniker on a black board down the stairs, beside the entrance, an hour before the start of the event, prove that this indeed was a sketchy occasion.
Next were MOOCH. MOOCH are Marcangelo Zolla at the drums along with his sister Miranda on bass and singer/guitarist Ben Cornel. Ben’s voice honoured the band they emulated through covers and similar riffs, Nirvana. Cornell swung his hair around in front of his face like a rockstar while singing with a deep voice that was reminiscent of the ’90s. A tribute to the fact that they really got people going was that by the last songs, a small group of people started a mosh pit. It was just as fun to watch as it was for the ones playing a human size version of bumper cars. Just like those bring back memories, MOOCH definitely was a blast from the past.
At last was Waves, whose drummer and Sketchfest’s organizer Raphaël Desjardins describes as a rather unoriginal band name. While Waves may need a creative mind in the likes of Don Draper to reach out to people out and have a better brand, their music has no problem pleasing different kinds of music lovers. From Cage the Elephant’s Come A Little Closer to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to their own songs are a work of art. In particular, Another Broken Day is a melody made up of a constant rush of energy in the chorus by singer Nathan Muller, who sounds like Matt Shultz, and the repetitive notes of his keyboard.
They followed up their composition with another, Double Rainbow, an ode to the now famous viral video. The band really was on his A-game, playing songs after songs that got people going such as Diane, Jogging and Flanger. In all seriousness (if there is any) I was told that these were all demo titles. Dani California was the last piece, a reaction to a drunken fellow asking for an encore. By then, each of the band members had given out their shout-out, from ¨we like you Diane¨ to ¨shoot-out to the guy covering our show for Montreal Rampage¨(that’s me if you didn’t get it). Muller held his beer high enough so that everyone could see that his ability to sing while being intoxicated. As if he was leading a pep rally, he sang his heart off as people were merely able to keep up with the lyrics.
Sketchfest was without a doubt a success. Crobar is what young artists who try to breakthrough imagine when they think of a place to start. It is a venue where you can truly feel important, a spot where one becomes a rock star. In the end, it comes down to where you’re given an opportunity and Crobar gives bands a chance to shine.
Before making my way out, I ran up the stairs to see what was going on with Desjardins. I saw the face of someone who realized that he had something great. I have a strong belief that Sketchfest will have an even better outing next year, be there to support it.
Lastly, our thoughts are for Rob who sadly passed away on Saturday. Rob was the owner of the Crobar. Described as “an important figure for the Montreal music scene”, Rob was a big reason why so many unknown bands got to perform on the big stage.
Sketchfest at Crobar took place on July 17