Starting off as a solo project entitled “Michael’s Laundry”, Michael Gagnon (vocals and rhythm guitar) joined forces with Steve Dupuis (vocals and bass), Dominic Meilleur (lead guitar), and Denis Potapov (drums) to create what has now become Dirty Laundry, a rock/EDM band launching their first ever EP entitled “Tonight” on April 2nd, 2019.
On March 7th, 2019, I had the amazing opportunity to attend a Dirty Laundry band practice and get an early sneak peek at their upcoming EP. The practice was located at Cité 2000 (2000 Notre-Dame Est), an open storage unit/rehearsal space area. Though somewhat small, the room gave off a very homey feeling. Clearly decorated by the band members, the room was covered in various band/artist, concert, and movie/TV posters. There were various speakers lining the walls (though only 2 were used in the performance), and a super comfy couch for guests and spectators to hang out on. The overall ambiance was super casual and intimate due to the smaller space and closeness to the band. Being in this location gave me an opportunity to get a close-up view of the band performing which is something you do not normally get in a giant concert hall. Due to being so close to the musicians and the speakers, the sound quality was exceptionally good, and very loud.
With this performance being more on the band practice side than fancy concert, the vibe of the musicians was super laid back yet professional. They performed in a semi-circle where the boys could get a clear view of each other and feed off one another’s energy. Throughout the performance, the Dirty Laundry boys would interact with each other and play off one another. Having watched them do a brief warm-up before starting their practice, you can tell that the boys have mastered their perspective instruments. Watching them whip out random riffs and beats or making up random ‘songs’ on the spot was quite entertaining. It is clear that these boys are all great friends who have a very strong bond with one another and who have a clear understanding of the way each one of them thinks. Throughout their set, the band used a variety of melodies and textures. Their songs play around with a mixture of low notes and high notes that in the end, created a widely diverse set. Using pre-recorded beats, the EDM side to the band adds a unique and modernized touch to classic rock music.
One of the songs played was the EP’s title track, “Tonight” (music video premiering March 27th, 2019). With lyrics written by Steve and music by Michael, “Tonight” is a song about acceptance and coming together to celebrate. Some of the song’s lyrics include “We’ll get along, you’re not alone, we’ll get along, we’re all the same tonight” and “We don’t care tonight, it doesn’t matter who you are, we don’t care tonight”. Both singers, Steve and Michael, sang in this upbeat kind of pop punk vibe type song. This is a tune that the boys clearly have a lot of fun playing. With overlapping lyrics in the chorus, both singer’s voices harmonized really well and fit perfectly together. This upbeat single is one that will for be a house party favorite.
A second song played was “One Day”. This song actually comes with a beautiful backstory. The band’s lead guitarist, Dominic, ended up in the hospital for a drug overdose and was put on suicide watch due to level of drugs found in this system. Steve went to go visit Dominic, and in the car ride home, wrote lyrics to a song about being there for each other and how he is always someone his friends could go to whenever they need help. Dominic, on his side of the car, unaware of Steve putting together lyrics in his head, started coming up with a guitar melody, and later, with the help of other guitarist Michael, wrote the musical score for this song. “Because you can count on me, one day you’ll see clearly” and “So come on take my hand, because this is not the end, and I can save you man, just let me understand” are some of the lyrics that stood out the most in this beautiful yet edgy song. Though the song has faster musical interludes, the band slows down the guitars and drums in the verses to allow the listeners to hear the beautiful words sung by Steve. When I first heard this song, it was at the label the band is signed with, On a Roll Records, new office launch party back in December 2018. It was a beautiful acoustic set featuring 2 guitars and Steve singing. I remember hearing it and being able to emotionally relate to the meaning of the song. During Dirty Laundry’s mini performance was my first time hearing the original song with electric guitars and drums. Though more upbeat and loud, the emotions felt when hearing the song did not change. Later that night, hearing the story behind the meaningful words of “One Day” proved to me the close relationship the Dirty Laundry boys share.
A third song performed that night was “Rebirth”. With lyrics, once again, written by Steve, and music by Michael and Dominic, this song talks about removing oneself from a toxic situation and becoming a stronger person because of it. “You’ve watched me falling, you’ve watched me fall and turn around, you can have my blessing, it’s time that I spread my wings out” and “I was born to win this race” are some of my favorite lyrics in the song. With a darker feel than the other songs heard that night, “Rebirth” was a nice refreshing mix to add into the boys set. Starting off with a fast pace guitar intro, the song stays strong and fast in the verses, but then slows down for a powerful chorus. The lead guitar melody is something that greatly stood out to me throughout the song. “Rebirth” is a song in which you would think is a fun upbeat, loud, and crazy song at first glance, but by the listening to the lyrics, you can see that there is a darker, deeper hidden meaning behind the crazy guitars and drums. This is something that made this song different than some of the others performed that night.
Warm, sweet, powerful, and strong, with a hint of a French accent, are words I would use to describe vocalist Steve Dupuis’s voice. With English being his second language, Steve’s French accent adds a homey Quebecois feeling to the band’s sound. Though deep, Steve’s voice can hit a wide variety of notes ranging from low to high. Whether it is a quiet verse or a loud chorus, Steve’s vocal range will leave you surprised from song to song. The ability to smoothly transition from low notes to high notes in crucial in a successful singer’s career and they are qualities that can be found in Dirty Laundry’s vocalists voice. Thanks to the fact that I was sitting right next to the speaker’s, I was really able to enjoy and listen to the beautiful lyrics pouring out of them.
With powerful lyrics such as Dirty Laundry’s, a powerful voice is needed to go with. When singing an emotional song, being able to make the audience feel something is essential. A perk to having your lyric writer also be your lead singer means that the emotions in the song will be well portrayed. Though a challenge to portray such emotion while rocking out on the bass, Steve does an amazing job at making his audience feel the emotions behind the songs. Even though the audience consisted of just me and a friend and the vibe was more casual and intimate, Steve, and all the band members, gave their 100% just as if they were performing for a sold-out crowd.
Overall, it was a phenomenal performance. Most definitely a band I would recommend going to watch. Though not very well known just yet, Dirty Laundry is an upcoming Montreal rock band that will definitely one day make it big. I am looking forward to going to watch them again at their official EP launch event on March 31st, 2019.
Written by Just Cass Here