It’s almost impossible to go to ’77 Montreal and not get a little nostalgic. The very name of the festival harkens back to the fabled year of 1977 where punk rock was officially “born”. Obviously part of the point of this festival is to celebrate the past, present and future of all things punk rock.

But things can get blurry with that mission statement. Because after all, what is punk rock? Swinging by the Cinema ’77 we learned about the band Television who were active several years before 1977 and had a sound that doesn’t have much to do with the modern definition of punk. But, for lack of a better definition, Television is punk rock.

Thankfully, punk rock is more of a mindset than it is a fixed form of music.

L7 hit the height of their popularity in the 90’s with what was basically a grunge hit “Pretend We’re Dead”. But, a second of seeing them on stage tells you that they fit the bill for punk show. Without missing a step after their hiatus they even brought out new material like “Dispatch From Mar-a-Lago” to show that they’re still just as interested in being brash provocateurs as they were in the 90’s.

Ska has always been punk rock’s kissing cousin. The two scenes had huge amounts of overlap, particularly here in Montreal. The Planet Smashers could tell you all about it (they talk about getting rushed by skinheads back in the day on our podcast interview with them) as one of Montreal’s legendary ska bands. I marveled as fans who might not have even been born in 1999 belted along the lyrics to “Life of the Party” and knew to get down low without prompting for the 10 count in “Surfin’ in Tofino” (the old school method of dividing up the pit and having both sides crash into each other was retired a while ago). ↓ Read the rest of this entry…