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The Church of Nuit Métal

As I get ready to slip into the comfortable camouflage of my day job, I can’t help but think back on the cathartic church of Nuit Métal. I can’t say I was ever a true fan of death metal. Maybe I was a bit traumatized my the zeal of my metal-head cousins when I was a kid. Something secretly fascinated me about metal though (call it a morbid curiosity) but I was too timid to explore it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but metal culture is often a type of refuge for outcasts, or self-exiles from the mainstream. Jazz served a similar function for me, but I have yet to see a « circle pit » at a jazz club. (I’m not sure the world is ready for “grindcore bebop”)
Another aspect that took a while to appreciate is the technical facility of metal musicians, especially the drummers. I was mesmerized by Origin’s kit man last night. The more fans I spoke to last night the more I realized that many metal artists are in fact jazz or classically trained. (I was wondering what those guys in music school were doing with their double kick pedals.)
It’s easy to be intimidated by the crowd at a metal show until you get to know their sensitive sides. At first glance though, it’s an aggressive mix of black clad bearded Nordic death metal fans and fully shorn thrashers. The mosh pits are not for acolytes though, we lost our friend Francis that night. He was clad conspicuously in a pink FME T-shirt and shorts. He was last seen heading into the maw between « the walls of death » at the Dying Fetus set. We found his shredded shirt later that morning. The image is burned into my mind like the little girls red raincoat from Schindler’s List.
As I age, I’m finding my musical tastes incorporate a lot more loud music. Perhaps it’s a late discovery of the secret escape it provides from the constant inanities and waves of stupidity that wash over many aspects of city living. Or maybe it’s just that metal makes a more apt soundtrack to the futility of Syrian intervention, the dread of more Fukushima radiation, and of course the tainted Cronuts.



« The Game of Death »

Ok, ok, maybe its not the Game of Death (as per Indian Handicrafts homage to Bruce Lee)but FME is definitely an endurance sport. It requires discipline, a demanding diet, and of course, stamina. Now, some would say this is blatant hyperbole, but if so, then why does my body hurt so much? I’ve gone 3 rounds and I’m bruised and battered but ready for one last push.
Yesterday crescendoed nicely, from surprise punk shows in the afternoon, to the packed Mononc’ Serge set, to Hip-Hop night with Dead Obies and K6A and finally Indian Handicrafts. I had really wanted to make it through Electro Night but I would have crumpled like Apollo Creed to Ivan Drago’s left hook.


Speaking of putting up the good fight; I think one of the main emotional components to FME that’s become anchored in my heart, is the fierce independence and pride of the artists (and fans). I don’t necessarily mean this in a political sense (though it’s an obvious undercurrent). In this place, at this festival, it’s not Francophone pop, electro, hip-hop, punk, rock and roll or metal. It’s just good fucking music that holds it’s own with anything out there. No Quebecois artist here has anything to prove. And it’s always fun to hear how international and English artists are often taken aback by the fan’s energy and the quality of local bands. This sentiment runs strong among all demographics here.


Got a toddler, but have a burning need to see Dayglo Abortions? No problem, thats what FME branded ear protectors are for. Ok, maybe there weren’t toddlers at the cabaret at 0300, but music fans do get their start here very young and there is no room for « helicopter parenting » in these parts. There’s no deep concern for « bad lyrics » here, parents here seem to give their kids credit for having brains of their own and the ability to sort out the context of the music. After all, ask yourself honestly, who’s a better role model: Miley Cyrus or the Dayglo Abortions? The answer should be obvious.