Category: Doing it Live

Initiate Year Two

Vacations. They’re great for getting away from it all.

Except when you’re getting away from your musical gear. And turning everything up to eleven. Then vacations are great for sucking the life out of you.

But it’s all done and P34 is back to work. Vacations out of the way, we kicked things off with a meeting at our favorite pre-jam hangout, Birreria Italico where we talked about how things have gone, and how they should be going. See, it’s officially been a year since we put Project34 together. We started counting the year when Izzy walked into our rehearsal space, picked up the mic, nailed every song on the audition set list, dropped the mic and dared us to find anyone better.

So, we started with our One Year Review. What were our goals, what did we achieve?

  • Phase 1. Get Izzy up to speed. Well, that didn’t take long.
  • Phase 2. Get a name, then get on a stage, anywhere, anyhow. We were lucky to have a local bar that hosts jam nights – The Pioneer – with a really generous stage and sound system. So, we played there twice playing mini 3-4 song sets. Just enough for everyone to get a taste of what Project34 was like – including ourselves!
  • Phase 3. Get on stage with a full set. We got off to a roaring start by teaming up with friends Too Many Unknowns and Coast Of Virtues and playing at an insane St Patrick’s Day party at CroBar
  • Phase 4. Repeat Phase 3 continuously and develop more contacts, make new friends and research places to play while we build a full set list. Well, we’ve done that and you’ve seen us play regularly, you’ll see the results of our developing, friending and building in the new year.

Besides reviewing our goals, we reviewed what worked on stage and what didn’t. We also reviewed which songs we loved, needed to add and needed to drop. Did we say DROP?

Yes, drop. The thing is, we’re always looking for ways to surprise the audience so that means we don’t reach into the same song bag as everyone else. Sometimes songs that were once edgy, rarely-heard gems suddenly become well-worn classics. It happens. A year is an eternity in the music business. We don’t even let our songs get NEAR the point of “classic”. In fact, when we hear other bands are covering the same songs as P34, we all shoot a dirty look at the band member that suggested it in the first place and start talking about dropping it.

We use other techniques to choose songs to pick up or drop. For example, we read advice columns from musician community pages like Cover Band Central explaining the criteria for choosing cover songs. We use that as a guide: if any of our covers meet any of this well-meant advice, we know we’ve done something wrong and torpedo it.

And that’s what we decided at our meeting. We’re going to do more of that. End Year One – Initiate Year Two: we’ll keep up the surprises, we’ll develop our style, our look and our media. And of course we’ll keep looking for songs you don’t expect, the songs other bands fear. Will we play songs our audience knows? Of course, because our audience is frakkin cool. But we’re also going to start playing songs we know you’re going to love BEFORE you hear it anywhere else. Watch closely.

We’ll be showing off two of our new covers at our next gig at Mademoiselle, Friday, 2017-09-08. It’s a surprise for our live audience, but YOU get to know in advance: we’ve added Figure It Out by Royal Blood and Prison Sex by Tool. We’re stoked about these two, even though we had to push some of our “older” favorites aside to make room. Don’t worry, they’ll be back. Maybe.

Unless they show up on some list of songs recommended by some well-meaning musician community page. Then we’ll charitably donate them to a more needy band.

This is How We Roll


A fierce night at The Pioneer. We shared the stage with our brothers-in-arms Too Many Unknowns as well as another cover band we’d never played with before, The Dirty Nuggets.

What a night. We hit it off right away with The Dirty Nuggets – their performance and song-choices are really strong and they’re all just great guys. We got along so well that we were unfazed when we found out that we covered the same song – Weezer’s iconic anthem about geek-vengeance, “Hash Pipe”. We saw that The Dirty Nuggets fast-paced and energetic version rocked – what were we going to do? We had a busy set, and we considered dropping it to keep from stepping on each other. Then our guitarist Chris came up with a brilliant idea: what if we covered the song anyway but got the guys from The Dirty Nuggets to come and help us out with the backing vocals?

So, we played the song, but not before goading The Dirty Nuggets on-stage with us while played our gritty, chunky rendition of the song. There they were – on stage with us, crowded around our mics, all of us singing our hearts out. We had a blast.

This show also introduced our new “P34 Superfan shot”. This is where we invite the rowdiest audience member up on stage to do a tequila shot with us. Our very first honoree turned out to be “Kevin” – an enthusiastic supporter who said he was amped because he had never seen a band cover Tool before. That’s right, Kevin. Because Project34 plays the songs other bands are too meek to cover, that’s why.

Then – Project34! Cheers! Shot.

After this show, the band decided to forego any gigs for August. We had some vacation time due and when we weren’t vacating (?) we wanted to polish our newer songs and add a few more to our set list. So that’s what we did. When we weren’t taking time off, we were developing new songs – among them, Tool’s “Prison Sex” and Royal Blood’s “Figure It Out”.

We’ve been working hard. We refuse to settle down and be predictable. In fact, we refuse to be classic. We plan on showing off our new songs at our next gig at Mademoiselle Resto-Bar on September 8th, 2017.

These rehearsals have been hard. But when we found Izzy taking a well-deserved break someone decided to capture the moment on camera (of course we had to plant a bottle of Tequila in the shot).

Project34 at Le Pionnier July 15, 2017

We’ve had a lot of fun gigging in downtown Montreal, but we’ve now set our sights on the ‘burbs. After all, this is where we were when we cut our teeth in high school: head-banging and throwing horns to loud, rebellious rock while everyone else was learning the latest boy-band dance moves.

So, we’re going to go back and re-create those glorious moments when the neighbours gave us dirty looks every time we cranked up our Marshalls and Ampegs in the garage, and thrashed on our kits in the basement.

We’re going to play le Pionnier – the infamous “Pioneer” – in Pointe-Claire. In preparation we’ve talked, debated, argued, done tequila shots then argued some more just to seek out new cover songs that meeker bands fear. Then we’ve practiced and developed them to death to take ownership of them, because we are Project34.

We promise you: We. Will. Riot.

Click on the poster or follow this link for event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/131222157467936/

The Saint Patrick’s Rage

We had a great time playing on Saint Patrick’s Night at Club CroBar downtown Montreal. Despite the cold, slushy leftovers of Snowpocalypse 2017 there were lineups at clubs everywhere and we were looking forward to a busy night playing a 45-minute set between those of our friends Coast of Virtues and Too Many Unknowns.

The P34 Social Club came out and did a great job of keeping the audience fired up and were part of the show. Those lunatics cheered and shouted and got an entire bar to join in. We tore through our strongest material and when we reached the last song of the set, no one in the club wanted to stop – so we just went straight into our encore: Rage Against The Machine’s, “Killing In The Name Of”.

And seriously we didn’t stop, we just kept playing. We didn’t bother to play coy and ask anyone if they wanted an extra song. We didn’t pretend to leave and bashfully come back on stage. We just plowed straight into “Killing” because no one wanted to stop. It wasn’t exactly our most disciplined version of the song; we were all having a blast and we just played it as an aggressive party song starring a room full of people shouting the chorus-chant at the top of their lungs.

And now you do what they told ya, now you’re under control
And now you do what they told ya, now you’re under control
And now you do what they told ya, now you’re under control

To quote Isabelle: “That was lit”.

But the party still wouldn’t end. We had to keep playing. And since we had already used up our planned encore, we sheepishly had to ask the room what people wanted to hear us play again and it was RHCP’s hard funk-rocker, “Suck My Kiss”.

That was a Saint Patrick’s Night to remember, easily our most fun one. We all had big grins on our faces. So, we have to thank the many people close to us who came out to support us and get things started, and more thanks to the new friends we made that night. Wait, wait… don’t play us off yet, we just have so many people to thank… thanks to CroBar for their support and invitation to return, and our appreciation to the talented and generous Too Many Unknowns for inviting us out… and the people giving us Tequila shots on stage… wait, just a few more…. Fernando for his beautiful Les Paul… and Saint Patrick, did we mention him…?