Push&Shove is building a safe space at loud shows

Demi Begin and Bianca David are are putting their first shows with Push&Shove at TRH-Bar this weekend.

Two Montreal promoters are starting their new company Push&Shove in a big way this weekend, taking over TRH-Bar during POP Montreal. Co-founders Demi Bégin and Bianca David aim to create a space where everyone feels welcome to enjoy the heavy stuff.

“When we decided to start the company, we were trying to figure out a way we could stand out. It didn’t seem like there was a need for another promoter in Montreal,” laughs Demi.

“I had been going to a lot of punk shows in town, and it always seems like it was just a bunch of guys, and then a couple girls. Sometimes I would feel a little out of place. So we wanted to bringing this sort of gender balance and gender equality in our shows.”

The two are in the business of booking loud shows, and, as the name suggests aren't intimidated by how physical some crowds can get. They just want to make sure that everyone feels welcome, and that some attention is given to gender diversity onstage and in the crowd.

Demi started working for POP Montreal in 2012, learning how bands get booked while working as POP creative director Dan Seligman's assistant. She quickly missed the music biz after starting a new day job this winter.

“I had this idea of producing my own show for a while, but I was always kind of scared to do that,” says Demi, who met Bianca in Concordia's journalism department. “We had a meeting one day and we said ‘let’s just do this.’”

“I would come up with lineups in my head, so when Demi said we should actually do this, I thought yes, let’s go for it,” adds Bianca.

This weekend will see punk, rock, and hardcore at the Push&Shove shows, including locals Hiroshima ShadowsShitsuCorridor, and Harsh Reality. They're also bringing in Maine punk trio Jim Dandy.

“POP is a really great way to get visibility [...] it didn’t seem that big a deal doing three shows. It was like, that’s great, more bands! It’ll be one big party,” says Demi.

Their aim is to connect Montreal bands from different scenes, while trying to break through the kind of male domination that’s typically seen in punk and metal.

“I really think that the punk culture is supposed to be progressive, but if it’s a room full of guys moshing and you’re the only girl, it can get a little intimidating. I just want everyone to feel included in the space, no matter what the show is,” Demi says.

“I’m sure there are a lot of girls that listen to the same music that I do," says Bianca. “We just want everyone to feel like they belong there.”

Push&Shove is putting on shows on September 17, 19 and 20 at TRH-Bar as part of POP Montreal. Full lineup here.

Raise those metal horns: Mutoid Man signs to Sargent House

Cave In guitarist/singer Stephen Brodsky and Converge drummer Ben Koller have found a home for Mutoid Man's sludgy, metal grooves. The Brooklyn shredders announced today that they've signed to Sargent House (formerly HellaRed Fang, currently includes Tera MelosRussian CirclesFang Island). Find the label's full roster here.

They have an album in the works for next year, but for now here's their crushing EP Helium Head, released last fall on Magic Bullet Records.

In Binary

As the market for video game soundtracks become an increasingly lucrative option for musicians, Maine prog-metal sextet Last Chance to Reason take an opposite approach with their second LP Level 2.

It's a concept album, telling the story of a self-aware computer fighting its way through an apocalyptic virtual reality. As an expansion to this theme, the band made a video game  as companion to the record. Skulls and strange creatures fly at your blaster-gun armed character against a scrolling background, making it the most metal bonus content this reviewer has ever seen. It's a pretty smart tactic when paying for digital music alone is an increasingly tough sell.

Sporatic synth leads are often doubled by hot, distorted guitar over grooving rhythm riffs. Most of this record is heavy shredding, making the softer parts stand out in beautiful contrast. Towards the end of the record, "The Linear" lets some clean guitar sounds through, setting the stage for the climactic album closers "The Prototype" and "Apotheosis."

This record does make a great soundtrack for blowing up pixelated bad guys, but it easily stands alone as a coherent piece of artistic metal. Each track morphs into the next, making it one piece meant to be heard from front to back. They conjure up images of prog giants Cynic with careful use of vocoded singing mixed with redlining lows, although lead singer Mike Lessard pulls off effects-free singing at the album's softest moments too.

"Technology did not bring them peace" is the message of this high-tech tragedy, buried within the tech-death riffs and blistering drum fills. With crisp production and ample artistic vision, Last Chance to Reason deliver something fresh and dynamic, all too rare within the genre.

The Linear[audio http://killerbabytomatoes.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/last_chance_to_reason_-_level_2_-_08_-_the_linear.mp3]