​Cruel Hand Centre Communautaire Portugais les Amis Unis, Gatineau QC, September 4

​Cruel Hand Centre Communautaire Portugais les Amis Unis, Gatineau QC, September 4
Photo: Calum Slingerland
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"We got strip-searched at the border. We're Cruel Hand. Let's go," was the first utterance of this Portland, Maine band's set. Sure, the six- to seven-hour drive may have turned into 12, but Cruel Hand had arrived and they were going to have a good time.
 
And a good time certainly was had. It was refreshing to see a band so unconcerned with tough guy posturing that vocalist Chris Linkovich would run on the spot — complete with high knee raises — and just dance around; it was less like moshing and more like someone simply vibing to the music. Perhaps smartly, the band largely stuck to older material such as their eponymous "Cruel Hand," "Under the Ice" and "Hounds," which came complete with requisite barking.
 
Toward the end of the set, Linkovich imparted some wisdom to the rabid crowd, suggesting they all live a positive life, whether that means reading a book, going for a run or something else entirely. Blaring through "Life In Shambles," it was obvious that they'd found something positive to do with theirs.
 
Heart Fest Day 1, Gatineau QC, 2015 09 04