I decided to write an Unleash The Archers review after road tripping to Montreal with my 15-year-old to see them this weekend.
If you’re not wise, Unleash The Archers are a Canadian power metal act formed in British Columbia in 2007. In the summer of 2021, my then-12-year-old son came home from summer camp at The Story School obsessed with the band. Apparently, one of his counselors turned him on o them. So our kid went away to camp and came home a metalhead. His mom and I couldn’t have been more proud.
Here’s the thing, though: when your favorite band is a metal band from Canada, and the world is still slowly emerging from a global pandemic, there aren’t many opportunities to see said band live. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for tour dates, though. UTA played a couple of metal festivals in the states earlier this summer, but far from Boston. Then they announced rescheduled Canadian tour dates. Bingo.
Back in August, I saw tickets available for an Unleash The Archers gig in Montreal on a Saturday night in October. I pitched the plan to the kid’s mom and she was 100% behind it. So I snapped up a pair of tickets and we gave them to the kid for his 15th birthday back in September. He was absolutely, positively over the moon. Tickets in hand and passports sorted, we headed north on Saturday morning.
Unleash The Archers Review: A Road Trip to See My Kid’s Favorite Band
We stopped for lunch at the midway point: Barre, VT. The Meltdown has a menu full of decadent grilled cheese creations and a tap list chock-full of great local brews. I had a pint from Woodstock Inn Brewery. We coasted over the boarder, checked into our hotel, grabbed another quick bite down the block from the venue, then it was off to see Unleash The Archers.
The venue was Le Studio TD, a 650 capacity room on St. Catherine St. If you’re an old-school Boston rock head, think Axis on Lansdowne St. back in the day, but with better sound and sight lines. Intimate. And friendly. We struck up a conversation in the merch line with a couple of French Canadian metalheads, and when I told them we drove up from Boston for the show, one immediately handed me a congratulatory cold beer. From his pocket. Which sounds sketchy, but was super cool.
Opening acts Paladin from Atlanta, GA and Lutharo from Hamilton, ON offered fitting support: high energy, with immaculate riffs and solos. Then Unleash The Archers came out on stage and the room erupted. This show was years in the making, rescheduled twice because of the pandemic. The crowd was hungry for UTA, the band knew it, and they turned out an incredible performance.
Vocalist Brittney Slayes has a range metal singers would kill for. And it’s effortless. The only other vocalist I’ve ever seen with such an impressive range that delivers so naturally is Chris Cornell in his ’90s prime. She and “the boys” put on a power metal clinic. And in a small room full of their most loyal fans, the energy was palpable, positive, and authentic.
But the best part of the show? Watching my kid watching the show. Here he was, 15 years old, 300 miles from home, in another country, seeing his favorite band play a dream of a small-venue show. He’s not old enough yet to understand the scope of how amazing that is, but he’s old enough to know it was special. And I’m old enough to know it’s now a core memory that we’ll never, ever forget.