Pouzza Fest

Pouzza Fest: Direct HIt, The Old Wives, Fire In The Radio

Nick Woods, Dix, The Whole Band

By on May 5th, 2017 at



On May 19th, dirty punks will make their annual pilgrimage to downtown Montreal for the 7th annual Pouzza Fest. Three days of fatty foods, cheap beers, friends, adventures and music spread across numerous venues – the festival is not to be missed.

Last week we caught up with The Real McKenzies and Worst Days Down to discuss the upcoming festivities and we continue our coverage for the festival by chatting with three more bands playing this year.

Read on below to hear what Direct Hit, The Old Wives and Fire In The Radio have to say about Pouzza Fest.

And don’t forget to pick up tickets to the festival here.

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Ray Rocket/ KJ Jansen

Live In Calgary (4/22/16)

Dickens Pub




This was a special evening for fans of classic pop punk music. Not only was local legend KJ Jansen (Chixdiggit) gracing the stage, but Teenage Bottlerocket’s Ray Carlisle was making one of his first live appearances under his solo moniker, Ray Rocket. Add in Ryan Dix from Alberta’s second best pop punk group, Old Wives, and it was an undeniably stacked lineup. The coolest part of the entire experience is that it was an acoustic show, which provided ample opportunity for crowd interaction and smiling sing alongs.

 While the prairies of Western Canada are often overlooked by touring bands, all three of these artists have played countless shows in the province, which is always helpful when building excitement for a show. That being said, there were a few people in the crowd who were surprised when Carlisle stepped on stage because they didn’t realize who Ray Rocket was. 

While the venue was still filling up as Ryan Dix took the stage, he played a great set for those who were present. The short set consisted largely of Old Wives songs, such as Here We Go Again and It’s All Over, both of which worked well with the acoustic treatment. He included a cover of Joel Plaskett Emergency’s True Patriot Love, which kind of fell flat as most people appeared unfamiliar with the indie tune. It was a short and fun set, which worked well to kick the night off.

The floor filled up when KJ Jansen took the stage with his guitar. With a solo release reportedly in the works (judging from his recent solo tour mates, most likely coming out on Joey Cape’s One Week Records), I was eager to see him play solo for the first time. Chixdiggit are a punk institution in Alberta, the goofy southern counterpart to Edmonton’s more hardcore SNFU. For many of us in the 90s, these bands were our closest connection to the exploding LA punk scene and gained a certain legendary status because of this. For those who have seen Chixdiggit live, Jansen’s goofy sense of humour is intact when he plays solo as well. In fact, with the distraction free environment provided, his sharp wit was more evident than ever. He declared that he wasn’t using a set list and relied upon crowd requests, although there were a couple songs that he vetoed. At times the crowd was singing along loud enough to drown the man with the mic out, which is always a goosebump inducing moment. He cracked up laughing while trying to sing I Wanna Hump You after dedicating it to Old Wives’ Shaun Millard, who was celebrating his birthday. Jansen plowed through numerous fan favourites from throughout the band’s career (I Remember You, Chupacabras, Miso Ramen, Sikome Beach…) with plenty of banter interspersed between and sometimes during songs. It was a surreal experience, which was magnified when he led the crowd in singing my favourite song, I Feel Like Gerry Cheevers (Stitch Marks on My Heart)

One of the best parts of an acoustic show is the very small delay between sets. Shortly after Jansen left the stage, Ray Rocket made his Canadian debut. While the majority of the audience hadn’t likely picked up his recently released album, the fact that he rerecorded Teenage Bottlerocket favourites from throughout their discography made the songs familiar coming in. In addition to covering the majority of his solo release, Carlisle added in some other songs, such as the Top Gun salute Maverick and Minecraft referencing kiddie favourite They Call Me Steve. His Ramones medley was wonderful and showed anyone who might be oblivious where his musical roots lay. 

While he was visibly less comfortable with the between song banter than Jansen, the set was well received and a fun time. He told a story about his girlfriend and poked fun at her taste in music (Nickelback…) and was noticeably happy about her presence in his life. The only downside to the entire night was a group of four drunken bros who stood right at Carlisle’s feet the whole time and yelled obnoxiously. This was most evident when he closed the show with a tribute to his brother Brandon before singing a mournful First Time. While he was trying to talk about his brother’s death and explain how continuing to play music had helped him cope, these morons kept yelling and being idiots. Some people have zero concept of etiquette. Despite their best intentions, the set was a great introduction to the more restrained solo side of Teenage Bottlerocket’s Ray Carlisle and a perfect end to a great show.

While there is an abundance of corny Punk Goes Acoustic styled music projects out there, this was a well played execution of the concept. All three artists translated their melodic pop punk songs into the singer songwriter format, which allowed the crowd to sing along in a new way. Instead of crowd surfing and pogo-ing, everyone stood near the stage and sang as loud as they could to songs that they knew and loved. There are large festivals and wild punk rock club shows that are common in the scene, but every once in a while a unique show comes along that makes you realize how lucky you are to have been a witness. 

Album: Free Gob Tribute Compilation

GobStay Asleep Productions has released  How Far Nostalgia Takes You, a  free tribute album for fans of Canadian pop punk act Gob

The DIY release features a variety of Canadian punk acts covering songs from Gob’s past couple of decades. Some of bands included on the release are The Old Wives, The Weekend Kids, Booze Cruise and Dead to Rights

The compilation can be streamed and downloaded for free here. 

The Old Wives - Backed In A Corner

The Old Wives

Backed In A Corner

When's Lunch Records

Rating: 3/5




Edmonton, Alberta’s pop-punk quartet Old Wives openly admit that they’re stuck in the 90’s.  Had they been around fifteen years back they would have been a shoe-in to land on the iconic Lookout Records.  But alas it’s 2012 and most outside of the punk community have given up and moved on.  That’s where labels like the dedicated When’s Lunch Records come into play – ensuring that no one forgets the aging fan base like myself that continues to eat up solid reminders like Backed In A Corner.

The seven-song EP clocks in at just less than thirty minutes, making time for most songs to dig in their hooks and present their case.  Audibly smooth but with a playful pitchy grain, the vocal lead’s nasally vocals fall somewhere between Green Day and The Queers.  Opener “Backed In A Corner” evidences that there’s a lot going on with every band member, from backing calls to spontaneous guitar closers, everyone pulls their weight while feeling completely committed.  Buying into the long running tradition of trading on and off vocals, “Heroes” features a section of tone changes not unlike that of Junior Battles.  The snotty pop-punk attitude continues with “Bored Dumb,” an attitude filled number that should resonate with fans of The Challenged.  And in terms of sing along choruses, the juvenile little number “High School Nightmare” has you covered.

Backed In A Corner is filled with good old harmless pop-punk fun.  Old Wives has been kicking around for a few years now and hasn’t exactly garnered a ton of attention – but based on this solid offering, that’s likely more due to their Canadian affiliation than a lack of ability (unless you’re name is Junior Battles, it’s tough to get noticed North of the 49th).  So check them out – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Old Wives Release Digital EP

Old WivesEdmonton, Alberta’s The Old Wives are set to release a four track digital EP entitled Sucks To Grow Up on When’s Lunch Records on December 12th.

The EP features two new hits, with a song from each vocalist; along with two bonus acoustic tracks.

You can stream  and purchase the EP here.