BOW VALLEY – When life hits you hard, Citizen Rage has got your back.
Only a few days from dropping their debut album Harsh Reality, the Calgary-based crossover hardcore punk band is ready to roll into Banff on May 17 for a one night stand, blast the roof off, and, afterwards, they want the audience to come up and tell them their stories and get stuff off their chest – good and bad.
It’s a mental health supporting atmosphere Citizen Rage has built through its music and at its shows, touching base on what’s relevant and happening in current times.
Now only if everyone can “be [expletive] nice to each other.”
“When you look at us, we don’t look like we’re that kind of supportive people, you know? Old hardcore punks, ugly tattoos, and I’m going to paint my nails pink,” said Citizen Rage’s lead vocalist Mark Russell.
“But we understand that that pressure needs to be on our shoulders to help some people. ... We want to make sure that people who are having a rough time right now can feel safe to come up and talk to us, no judgment. We’re here to listen.”
Topics covered on the 10-track Harsh Reality, which drops May 17, include standing with the LGBTQ+ community, the current social environment with government and people in power, fake people and how to deal with them, and being there for friends when they need you most.
The latter being something that’s crossed over to the band's audience.
“We use positivity through rage and we kind of look at ourselves as an anthemic hardcore punk band,” said Russell. “We want people to chat and get excited with us, [and] sing stuff with us. This album is going to help that because we have more songs and more people doing back up with us we really try to get that anger out of you so hopefully you're next week is going to be a little bit better now that you got some stuff off your chest.”
Citizen Rage – Chase Hamilton (drums), Mikey Bastard (bass), Ross Ferguson (guitar) and Russell (vocals) – formed in 2014 and have released six EPs before pulling the trigger on an album.
Now that the product is here, Russell said with Harsh Reality, the band has dreams of being nominated for a Juno, among other Canadian music awards.
“When we actually sat down to put this album together, we had a direction," said Russell. “I was in the punk rock bands that were about farts, fighting and stupid premises and just coming up with stuff just because we were young and dumb. But now, we have a podium that we’re actually generating steam with and we’re actually connecting with other like-minded individuals.
“Citizen Rage is a very much you can tell what’s going on in our surrounding area and with our lives when we have released those [EPs], they all touch base on something that's relevant and happening in the current time.”
The Harsh Reality Tour is hitting the brakes and piling into the Pump and Tap, Wednesday (May 17) at 9 p.m.
The evening will also feature No More Moments, and local bands Regal Foul and Human Stain.
Admission is $10 at the door.
Kasey Suchowersky, co-promoter of the show, said the four band night is "going to be pretty crazy in there.”
“Every time I’ve had a show [at the Pump and Tap] in the past it was always a rager,” said Suchowersky. “There’s a much more personal vibe and atmosphere when you’re crowded and sweaty and you feed off the energy in a place like that when you have all those people together enjoying the same thing. It just makes for a better show.”
The May 17 show at the Pump and Tap is the first of three over the next 30 days for Suchowersky’s Beauty In Chaos Productions, which is celebrating its 10th year of promoting shows in the Bow Valley.
On June 4, heavy rock and roll trio Deadwolff of Toronto perform at The Drake in Canmore. Also performing that night are local bands Bawang!, Soggy Moccasins, and Human Stain.
On June 18, alt-rock/pop punk band Calling All Captains of Edmonton headline the Rose and Crown in Banff. The evening also features Before I Fall, All Was Lost, and local band Suspended Glaciers.
“I can say these shows will be way more fun and way more loud than anything you’ll hear on mainstream radio nowadays,” Suchowersky said.