FAVE 5 with Les Shirley

By / Life / March 22nd, 2022 / 1

Punk rock is in good hands with Les Shirley

The Montreal based power trio made up of Raphaëlle Chouinard (vocals; guitar), Sarah Dion (bass), and Lisandre Bourdages (drums) sound exactly like what a “dirty punk rock” band from Montreal would sound like if they were also into Celine Dion. In other words, they’re very much their own band, with no musical allegiances beyond their own. You can hear it all on their 2021 debut Forever Is Now, a blast of furious hard rock riffing colliding with irresistible rhythms and indelible melodies.

We spoke with bassist Sarah Dion about some of the trio’s favourite places to play in their hometown, as well as a couple in Toronto and New York.

L’Esco, Montreal

L’esco is such an emblematic place here in Montreal, I’ve played and seen so many shows there since I started playing music. It looks great, sounds great and is perfectly located. There’s always a good vibe, the kind of place where you show up alone and will end up closing the bar with a bunch of friends. Also the stage becomes a dancefloor after the shows.

The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto

There’s a hole in the wall where you can order a burger from A&W without leaving The Horseshoe, so yeah big plus. It’s also very easy to load the gear in and out; ha ha, it’s sounds stupid, but loads can easily become a huge pain in the ass when you do them night after night. I also opened for one of my favorite bands there, (Australian garage and surf rockers) Skegss, and got to chill with them.

Terminal 5, New York

It was just so crazy to play at an amazing venue like Terminal 5 in New York, plus we were opening for Fidlar. I remember it sounded amazing on stage and the crowd was puuuumped. We filmed the set that night and it’s an amazing memory that I like going back to.

Francofolies main stage, Montreal

Les Francofolies is a big festival for francophone music here in Montreal and I got to play the big stage on a big night. I’m pretty sure I cried while doing a drum solo in front of the 30,000 people crowd. I saw sooo many of my favorite bands play this stage so it was kind of a milestone for me.

Bell Centre, Montreal 

I got to play this big ass stadium back in November 2020 opening for my favorite band from when I was 13 years old. My friends told me that I was smiling the whole time, which is very unusual for me while I’m shredding haha. I saw Céline Dion, Elton John, U2, Arcade Fire (and the list goes on) on the Bell Centre stage so it was definitely a turning point in my career to actually be there and experience the same thing as these legends.

Les Shirley are playing on Saturday, March 26, 2022 at The Monarch with Man Crush and Weak Hands in Toronto, ON, advance tickets are $11.50 and available from Showclix 

They’ll also be playing on Sunday, March 27, 2022 at The Queens Nightclub in Barrie, ON; tickets are $13 and available at the door.


Tom Murray is a journalist and jobbing musician in northern Alberta. He lives with his wife, two dogs, and several amiable ghosts in a turn of the 20th century house built by a prominent politician. Andrew has written for newspapers, horror and food magazines, business periodicals, and ad campaigns, but he especially enjoys interviewing hair metal musicians.

Comments are closed.

North America’s Longest Running Food & Wine Magazine

Get Quench-ed!!!

Champion storytellers & proudly independent for over 50 years. Free Weekly newsletter & full digital access