Conan and Dopethrone at Foufounes

British riff titans Conan opened their “Doom Over Canada” tour in Montreal on October 27 at Foufounes Electriques. The unique 10-stop jaunt will see the band grace Canada east to west with their blend of slow yet hard-hitting sludgey sonics - presumably ending in Vancouver on Nov. 6 (the location is to be confirmed, but it’s a logical point to end the tour).

Calgary’s Wilt and scene favourites, Dopethrone, opened the Montreal date. Dopethrone is a staple of the Montreal scene and they knocked their set out of the park as expected. Frontman Vincent Houde was really feeling his crazier stage persona, as he opened his eyes wide and scanned the crowd, eventually locking eyes with random audience members for uncomfortable amounts of time. This was of course when he wasn’t busy maniacally twitching and sliding his finger sideways across his neck while delivering lines to hit Dopethrone numbers.

Their set wasn’t all death stares however. Houde took a break between songs to ask fans to collectively wish his mother happy birthday, who he said was in the crowd that night. After a few more heavy-hitters, drummer Shawn Ellingham left his kit to tell the crowd that a dear friend of his, nicknamed “Princess Leia,” had passed that morning after battling cancer. The heartfelt confession was met with a warming applause from the audience. A real sense of togetherness was present amongst attendees from this point, as the phenomenal set-closer “Killdozer” turned the venue into complete pandemonium.

Conan went on to take the stage, exploding into their meandering mixture of heavy riffs and vocals that sound like some demon trying to communicate with you from beyond the grave. While the band’s stage presence was somewhat stiff, their music was altogether solid and well-arranged. Following slower, sludgier sections, the band would often break into something more fast and wild, riding catchier riffs and asking audience members to hop along with.

I also have to commend these Brits for taking on a Canada-specific tour. When I read the “Doom Over Canada” tour name I figured they were just going to hit the Canadian stops in one shot then dip to the denser dates down south where the money’s at. But no, they’re literally hopping across the pond just to play Canada east to west. I can only assume visa issues or something along those lines are the result, since it’s an interesting choice to play so many Canadian dates close to the border and not dip down to the States to at least play New York City, New Jersey, Philly, etc. Regardless of the backstory, props to Conan for being one of the few bands bold enough to tour Canada in one shot! They’re even playing Saskatoon!

Conan’s new full-length Evidence of Immortality is out now via Napalm Records.