Dust off your bowling shirts and Dickies, blunt those bangs and polish the horn-rimmed specs, because:
ANACHRONIK is in town once more, hitting us next week (May 2-3) at a number of Montreal venues. Rockabilly, psychobilly, psychedelic rock, Garage, punk, ska– this one’s for the diehards. You can get your tickets and browse the venues direct from the source.
Thus far, there’s been little push by Anachronik to market to normies, but now in its second year, Montreal’s own prefix-billy punk-fest looks to be doing just fine. 2013’s Anachronik brought us the sonic assault of Brains, Hellbound Hepcats and the latest chapter in the storied, 35-year career of local classic-rock cover kings Blushing Brides, amongst many other talents from Montreal’s local subculture scene. Can 2014 top that?
Anachronik is so named for the “anachronism born from the clash of the old and the new,” according to founder Frédérick Roy-Hall. Roy-Hall’s personal presence and preferences loom large over the look, feel and sound of the festival, lending the whole affair an aesthetic uniqueness that other, more focus-group-driven events lack. Bubbling out of essentially nowhere as locus for the recent rockabilly revival, Anachronik’s feel is more of a themed club night than what most would call a ‘festival’ vibe. James Dean and films noir project on walls as hairstyle victims howl about hot-rods. Girls look like Bettie Page and guys look like Johnny Bravo, all rolled in tattoo ink and Pomade.
To that end, Anachronik is a love-or-hate experience, uncompromising in its love of two things: A) rock and B) retro. They don’t apologize except with their fists.
The clash of old and new, Francophone and Anglo, in a gloriously fraught, black-clad punk riot — of all cities, Anachronik is something only Montreal could’ve come up with. Set to take the stage: top Montreal rockabilly purveyors Creepshows, Gutter Demons, and Brains (again), as well as Pitchfork-buzzed indie-rock abraders We Are Wolves and psych-punk-rock alchemists Light Bulb Alley (whom we’ve covered before). An overall excellent lineup of local talent, which Roy-Hall hopes to take international in coming years.
In the end, Anachronik knows its audience and doesn’t have to shake them down too hard — rockabilly and retro punk are a faithful and unwavering crowd. An outsider could be forgiven for thinking it’s all a little contrived, but that, in essence, is the whole appeal. The fantasy of acid-fried Americana, flickering in the projector light. It’s a Russ Meyer movie starring you, Bettie Page, and a ’57 Chevy. Put it in gear.