By David Perri
It wasn’t supposed to be like this for TRIGGER EFFECT. Of all the many appetites for destruction Montreal’s loudest and fiercest rock band was capable of, death - with its subsequent gravitas of grief and anguish - was never supposed to enter the tinnitus-filled equation. Trigger Effect was about living life and living it large, taking the fragile, finite and impermanent time we’ve been given and watching it explode into countless stratospheres of pure rock fury. If you left a Trigger Effect show not drenched in sweat and not contemplating why and how music could make you feel so absolutely alive and electrified in the widest-eyes of ways, then you were probably at the back of the venue ridiculously not paying attention, too lost in the fogs of your own version of the mundane to actually take in Trigger Effect’s disharmonious decimation.
On November 20, 2013, Trigger Effect vocalist Nick Babeu died of accidental causes. Babeu’s death comes as a shock not only because he was taken far, far before his time, but because of the larger than life charisma he exuded. Babeu was the kind of frontman bands would kill on adrenaline for: he was compelling but relatable, menacing while performing but supremely friendly and approachable off-stage. Babeu’s irreverent sense of humour (“We want to tour Japan, but more so we can fight robots”) was omnipresent, as was his love of life - it’s best if his antics involving microwaves aren’t printed here.
But Babeu was more than just a jovial guy in a goodtime band. The members of Trigger Effect were amongst Quebec and Canada’s hardest working musicians, and the group’s self-funded, D.I.Y. tours of North America and Europe were simultaneously impressive and insane, given Trigger Effect’s wholly underground status. When one factors in the annual Fear And Loathing festival at Montreal’s legendary Foufounes Electriques that Babeu organized and promoted, along with the Turbo Haus concert venue the band founded to welcome its fellow D.I.Y. touring bands to Montreal, Trigger Effect’s impact ran deep and its roots ran deeper. With its amps perpetually on 11 and its don’t-give-a-fuck candour, Trigger Effect was, over its ten year existence, our country’s most dangerous band. The debut, Dare To Ride The Heliocraft, is the kind of rarified record that comes once in a group’s lifespan, the LP a collision-on-collision that stands alongside the glorified giants that are the best of THE HELLACOPTERS, MOTÖRHEAD and ENTOMBED catalogues. The success and impact attained by GALLOWS or CANCER BATS? That’s just a minutiae compared to what Trigger Effect was on its way to achieving.
There’s now a vast, impenetrable void left in the Montreal music scene in the aftermath of Babeu’s death. The thought of the many venues on St-Laurent Boulevard and St-Catherine Street East no longer being held in the palm of Babeu’s hand is at once irreconcilable and heart-breaking, and our sincere condolences go out to Babeu’s wife, his family and his bandmates/best friends Mike Niro, Patrick Bennett, Jordan Brown and Sergio da Silva. Here’s hoping that Babeu is somewhere on the other side in that classic MISFITS shirt that was a staple of the ’07 tours, living the kind of philosophical debauchery only he knew how to revel in and project, verily, to those who were compelled to follow the art he was a part of.
We were lucky to have known you, Nick.