La Manie Reigne a Montreal
Obliveon at the Spectrum in Montreal, June 15, 1996
with Mundane and Q.R.N.

by: Alain M. Gaudrault
I'd driven for 7 hours in bad weekend escape traffic to see this show, so you know I was coming in with high expectations. I was finally about to see a band that I'd wanted to see live for years, in a nice mid-sized club, no less. The first thing that pleasantly surprised me was the turnout. The place may not have been packed to the rafters, but it was certainly quite populated. I was happy to see such support for a local act, particularly since the Grand Prix was the big thing in Montreal that weekend, what with a Quebecois vying for top prize.

The show started with Q.R.N. (Quite Ridiculous Nonsense, or so I was told), another Montreal-area act. They not only looked stupid with their sequined apparel and bad haircuts, but they sounded dreadful, sort of a cross between Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers with industrial leanings. Done badly. They sucked, and in their incompetence made us all appreciate the two following acts just a little bit more. Toronto's Mundane took the stage and put out a solid set of songs from their debut album, _Seed_, as well as some of their newer unrecorded material. They were well-received, despite problems with the sound, in particular the guitar which was far too low in the mix. Bad sound seemed to predominate at this event, unfortunately. It helped that I already knew a lot of the songs they played.

Obliveon was then unleashed. Nice big spotlit banners, impressive light show, the works; but could they deliver the goods? The answer is a resounding yes. Their musicianship is top notch, both live, and on record. In most part, they stayed true to their recordings, successfully improvising on solos, occasionally. The only fault I could detect was newcomer Bruno Bernier (vocals) screwing up the occasional lyric, even on songs he's recorded! I was happy to hear his faithful renditions of the old material, although I would still have preferred to hear Stephane Picard (bassist, former lead vocalist) take the lead vocal on the songs he's recorded. Perhaps once the band has more material under their belt with Bernier on vocals can they consider having Picard sing the odd oldie. The set featured a number of tracks off their latest release, _Cybervoid_ (see Chaotic Chat Sessions and Record Revelations in last issue) as well as their previous, _Nemesis_, with the odd token material from their first, _From This Day Forward_, thrown in to stew the steaming pit below. Unfortunately, the large men lining the stage weren't too keen on anybody diving, which was unfortunate, given the pit size.

All of this was more than I could ask for, but just when you thought you'd seen it all, Snake, former vocalist of Voivod, comes out on stage and joins the band in a scorching rendition of "Voivod" off Voivod's first album, _War and Pain_. The crowd went nuts, including yours truly. I'm told by Obliveon's Martin Gagne that Snake has been playing guitar for the last year or so, has been jamming with some guys, and that the music has punk flavourings. The show ended with the band playing the closing instrumental track off _Cybervoid_ after the requisite encore. All was then good in the universe. With luck _Cybervoid_ [buy it] will pick up momentum [buy it] and permit Obliveon to tour a bit more extensively [buy two copies].

(article submitted 17/7/1996)


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