The Bluest Day of the year is over. We’re cruising into February without once having scary windchill. The days really are getting longer. All the things we wished were open and available this time last year, are here and poppin’. It’s the small things, Montreal; don’t forget to count them.

Did you say intestine?

MAI (Montreal, Arts interculturel) always has interesting offerings, and Rock Bottom is no exception. The multidisciplinary piece explores what happens to the body when we hit our own rock bottom. It’s billed as “a movement performance that forms an intestine with the gut feelings of Emile Pineault (choreographer, performer) and (author) Gabriel Cholette”.

Teaser rock bottom – Emile Pineault & Gabriel Cholette from emilepineault on Vimeo.

Rock Bottom @ MAI 3680 rue Jeanne-Mance, January 25-28, Showtime is 7:30 p.m.. Tickets availabe through the MAI website

Jazz exists all year round, you know…

Double bass player Ira Coleman interprets jazz compositions and traditional Mandinka (Senegalese, Gambian, and Sierra Leonean) themes supported by flute, piano, and balafon, exploring where they overlap.

It’s in connection with the MMFA exhibition Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music (which you should also see, and I’ll keep saying so through February 19).

Ticket prices vary, but if you’re under 34 or under, it’s 18 bucks, so do something classy on the cheap.

Jazz and Mandinka Music @ Bourgie Hall, 1339 Sherbrooke Street West, on Thursday, January 26, Show at 6pm. Tickets and info on the MMFA website

Pretty sure I saw him live in the 90s?!

Jon Spencer & the HITmakers are in town this weekend, and if you’re old enough to ask if I mean that Jon Spencer, then yes. Jon Spencer & the Blues Explosion broke up in 2016, but the beat goes on, and Jon Spencer & the HITmakers put out their first album in 2022. His Spotify bio calls him “an elder statesman of noise rock and punk blues”, and while that’s niche af, he might be right.

Jon Spencer & the HITmakers @ Bar Le Ritz PBD, 179 Jean-Talon Ouest, Friday, January 27, Doors at 7:30, Show at 8:30. Info & Tix

Dinner and a show!

Catch me putting on a summer dress and having foodgasms at Molotov Cuisine owner Fiona Genevieve (aka Chef Molotov)’s Jardin d’Hiver this Sunday. She’s a fab chick with wholesome, delicious food, and she’ll be bringing summer vibes right when we need them.

Darragh Mondoux will be Mistress of Ceremonies, Mina Minou will be shaking what God gave her, and there will be musical performances by Lea Keeley, and KOLA.

Oh, look! I met with Fiona and sampled some tastiest! Tickets are flying, so grab ’em while you can.

Chef Molotov’s Jardin d’Hiver takes place Saturday, January 29th at Turbo Haüs, 2040 Saint Denis St. Cocktails at 6:30pm, Tasting & Performances at 7pm. Tickets and more info via Eventbrite


Featured image of Rock Bottom © Gabriel Cholette, courtesy of MAI


If you know of an event that you feel should be covered, please contact arts@forgetthebox.net or music@forgetthebox.net

No promises but we’ll do our best

January 19, 2023

My darling,

We’re in the thick of this winter thing. Both burnout and the blues are tearing through workplaces and social circles. We’re all pale and grumpy. We know it will pass, but all too slowly. Without the artists and performers, we would have nothing but malls, and binge watching to get us through this hard time. Thanks to them, we have reasons to put on outfits and brave the weather. Thank God for the artists, the arts, the events. May Spring speed itself to us.

Have some laughs and call me in the morning

I knew we had comedy clubs, but as someone who usually only gets live laughs at JFL, I never realized how many stand up shows there are the rest of the year.

We all need laughs desperately right now, so pick a day, grab a friend, or straight up leave your loved ones for an evening and get the giggles the doctor ordered. (Note that while I’m listing the downtown location, there are also locations in Vaudreuil, Laval, and the South Shore.)

The Montreal Comedy Club is at 895 Rue De La Gauchetière Ouest. Multiple dates and showtimes. Check MtlComedyClub.com for details

Blues rock right in yer face

Midnight Miles is releasing their first single of 2023, so it’s time for a concert!

Ryan Bradley Setton (formerly of The Holds) describes the style as “in your face blues rock”. They’re promising a whimsical journey of a show, from tender to reckless, inspired by classic rock, blues, and RnB.

Special guests ~ Matt Enos and the River Men

You can listen to some of their tracks on MidnightMilesBand.com or this brief sample below before heading out:

Midnight Miles + Matt Enos and the River Men @ Petit Campus, 57 Prince Arthur Est, on Thursday, January 19, Doors at 8 p.m., Show at 9 p.m. Info on the Facebook Event Page, tickets available through ThePointOfSale.com

Why is there a “W” in playwright?!

As part of the Wildside Festival in partnership with Centaur Theatre and La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines, Wildfire is on now and playing through the 28th. Tragic, funny, surprising; I’ve seen it and written about it, and would be hard pressed to do it justice in a snippet. Read my review, or skip it entirely and just go see the show.

Wildfire runs January 16-28 at La Chapelle Theatre, 3700 Saint Dominique St. For info and tickets, please visit the Talisman Theatre website

Who wants to party till breakfast?

It seems the all night party trials last summer went well, because Club Soda got itself a special liquor license to keep the drinks pouring and music pumping through Saturday night until 8 a m. Sunday. DJs, effects, light shows, party people, it’ll all be there.

It’s a team effort with MAPP_MTL and SHIFT RADIO, Homegrown Harvest, Transmission MTL and MUTEK promising not just a party, but “a new chapter for Montreal nightlife. A space to dance, converse, and set the foundation for a sustainable nightlife.”

AEX @ Club Soda, 1225 St Laurent Blvd., Saturday, January 21, 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., Sunday, January 22. Info on the Facebook Event Page and tickets available through LePointDeVente.com

If you know of an event that you feel should be covered, please contact arts@forgetthebox.net or music@forgetthebox.net

No promises but we’ll do our best

It’s been a year, y’all. We shook off the collective nightmare of lockdown, put on our dancing shoes, and partied. Bars, theatre, concerts, comedy, art, all the stuff that keeps the lights on in our city and our souls returned from the forced hiatus.

It didn’t take long for us to get used to it, and every now and again I stop myself while doing some mundane thing like walking through the Eaton Centre and remember how much I craved the basics.

As some of you may know, I have a lot of well thought out complaints about the ways of the world (catch me on FTB Weekends with Jason C. McLean), but provincial elections and healthcare crisis aside, the gratitude was especially delicious this 2022.

January

It’s a mind bender to recall that we came into 2022 under curfew, and in lockdown, but at the time it was hard to think of much else. Instead of show announcements, we kept our ears to the ground for cancellations, wondering how far ahead they were planning.

It was miserable. Igloofest was canceled. Online shows offered some reprieve, but meh. If we were in a tumbleweed climate, they would be rolling through this month.

The whole thing was gloomy.

February

February is often called the most depressing month, and in the COVID time it was at least doubly so. We were still under partial lockdown, but hope was on the horizon!

Nuit Blanche was finally coming back and Osheaga announced its lineup, signaling that normalcy was within reach. Some performers would change before the show, but all we heard is that there would be shows.

In fact, some local shows started to pop up and bars were scheduled to reopen February 28. Is dancing allowed? Is singing allowed? No one’s sure, but we’re stoked to get out there and find out.

March

The show is finally going on, which is really saying something considering the curtain on CATS was originally supposed to go up in March of 2020.. Just For Laughs announced its lineup and things to look forward to were starting to pop up everywhere.

This is when Montreal Museum of Fine Arts was doing what it could with limited capacity: starting at the end of February, you could get in if you booked your time slot (in 15 minute increments) online, masking and distancing are mandatory, giving the security staff the new task of keeping people from moving through the rooms too quickly or getting too close to one another. Only the major exhibit was open, and I learned that I don’t like Riopelle, but being back feels momentous.

Concerts have begun, but safety measures are in place there too, making the whole thing seem weird. My bf goes to see Sepultura at a fully masked metal show, and it sounds dystopian to me.

April

The MMFA is actually factually all the way open, though you still need to book a time slot. I beeline for The Decorative Arts & Design Pavilion, which is open for the first time in ages, having been “closed due to reorganization” or some such even before the pandy. I am in my happy place.

The MMFA’s Decorative Arts and Design Pavilion (photo by Dawn McSweeney)

As part of an experiment on our party rules, the SAT serves up drinks and tunes for 24 hours straight which gives me some hope that maybe the “new normal” will allow for some reconfiguration of things we’ve taken for granted as status quo for too long (writing this at the end of December, that hope has long since crashed and burned, but it was lovely while it lasted).

I’m comforted knowing that while everything feels like it’s on the brink, Montrealers can unite against some showy corporate silliness as we all discuss the city’s new giant ring.

May

Spring is springing, and the good times are indeed rolling. I finally get out to my first post-COVID show. I’ve seen Symphony X before, and they put on a good show despite not being on my regular rotation. This is about getting out, and bring with people and not wearing a mask in a crowd.

We meet up with friends for drinks and food. No vax passes. No masks. We come and go from the show so much, it’s about the band the same way high school dances are about dancing. I’m jazzed.

I also leave town for the first time in years, and head to Halifax for the first time ever. We hit some familiar territory, and hug people we’ve missed.

Back in Montreal, masks were still in place at Mainline Theater where performers wore them throughout Carrie: The Musical rehearsals. As someone who’s still masked at work, let me say that phone calls are hard enough, kudos for pulling off a musical.

There were no masks on stage for Contact Theatre’s Next to Normal at Monument Nationale and Cirque du Soleil came back strong with Kooza.

June

At this point our regularly scheduled Montreal programming seems to be rolling right along, and Fringe is next! James Gartler checks out Tango to the Pointe along with Al Lafrance’s Is This Yours? and Josephine, a burlesque cabaret dream play, saying of Josephine that “it stands easily as one of the best shows to ever play at the Montreal Fringe Festival”.

I peep What About Albert? and enjoy the heck out of it.

Photo by Joseph Ste-Marie, courtesy of The Malicious Basement Theatre Company

July

I smiled through this whole month. There are events at every turn, and Montreal summer is thriving. At the beginning of the month, our Editor Extraordinaire says to me “hey, someone approached us with a creative thing that made me think of you”, which is how I met my creative soulmate, and that will come up later.

ComicCon is back, and the fits are fierce. Flipping through the cosplay pics, I get a little sentimental thinking about how long it’s been since we’ve all been able to let our freak flags fly in all their carefully crafted glory. Man, we’re beautiful.

James Gartler went to Malcolm McDowell’s talk and he learned that the only time in his 60 year career he was ever stiffed on gig was by a producer in Montreal, so we have that dubious distinction.

JFL is back for its 40th edition, and I’m desperate to laugh with strangers. From late July into early August, all my friends have to listen to me fangirling about who I’m interviewing. I loudly tell everyone I know that I can’t make their things ‘cuz I have media passes to comedy shows, and article deadlines. Everyone calmly assures me that I wasn’t invited to their things, and pats me on my head for being so cute and excitable.

Seriously though, when you look at it all in one place our FTB Team had JFL on lock. Samantha Gold spoke to Canadian comedy royalty Rick Mercer, comic, Hollywood and Bollywood actor Vir Das and even Randy Feltface, an actual puppet. Jason C. McLean spoke with Letterkenny star Mark Forward and caught Irish comic Tommy Tiernan’s new show. James Gartler took in Trixie Mattel’s free outdoor drag show and SNL and stand-up star John Mulaney’s latest one-man show.

I spoke to a bunch of folks I never thought I would such as Alonzo Bodden and Pete Holmes. Despite Big Jay Oakerson closing out our phone interview by saying I should come up and say hi at the show, I freeze and never say hi. I see him outside with Brendan Sagalow on another day, after a different show, and I stare like a weirdo, but keep my distance.

July/August

As Montrealers we’re confident in our summers, but painfully aware of their fleeting nature. By the end of July squeezing in all the summer activities becomes a full time job, and this year it’s coming to a head as Osheaga & JFL share a weekend.

Osheaga 2022 photo by Chris Zacchia

As one FTB team was all over JFL, another team covers Osheaga with Joe McLean and Jerry Gabriel‘s previews and coverage from Jerry Gabriel of the rock-oriented Day One and the mix of everything Days Two and Three, plus Chris Zacchia’s festival photos.

Meanwhile, my Maritimers BIL & SIL come to town for their first Osheaga, and they haven’t been here in years. We live it up, and I fall in love with MTL yet again as I experience it through tourist eyes. They had a blast at the show.

August

Oh, I remember August because before we’d even sent the Scotians home, my bf tested positive for COVID. Damn it. We lock ourselves in, and I catch it in short order.

Considering I’ve been working at an office this whole time and taking public transit throughout, it seems fair. We both feel like bags of poop, but we’re super glad it wasn’t worse.

Meanwhile, Samantha Gold was checking out Repercussion Theatre’s All Shall Be Well and the POP Montreal lineup is released giving us more to look forward to.

September

In September I interviewed a fictional character when I sat down with Andrew Jamieson as Conor Blaine, (the aforementioned creative thing and the aforementioned creative soulmate). It was like playing with someone else’s imaginary friend, and it tickled me.

Drinks with fictional character Conor Blaine (photo by Dawn McSweeney)

Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival returns for it’s 14th edition, and I didn’t know this existed until it was over, so as I write this I’m marking my calendar for next year.

At MMFA, Nicolas Party’s pastels surprised me as the colours spilled off the pages and onto the walls. The Decorative Arts & Design Pavilion is closed again as pieces from there are used as part of another exhibit.

POP Montreal started at the very end of the month which takes up right into…

October

POP Montreal taught me a lot about how to better cover a multimedia, multi location arts festival. There was so much to do and see, but for me the highlight was catching Sophia Bel, who I’d never heard of, and now I tell other people about.

Samantha Gold interviewed Rocky Horror Show director Amy Blackmore and the time warp was live for the first time in years. Me First & The Gimmie Gimmies come to town, and it’s a fun time.

November

In art news, MMFA puts on a fantastic Jean Michel Basquiat exhibit called Seeing Loud: Basquiat & Music. It features works by the artist, but is specifically designed to showcase the importance of music in both his career and life. The music plays throughout.

Big famous pieces aside, there are framed journal pages, concert posters, and a super cool map where you can track his path via concerts in NYC. This bad boy runs through February 19, 2023.

In other museum news, the Decorative Arts & Design Pavilion is back to being closed for reorganization or whatever. I sigh dramatically.

Anti-Flag brought old school punk to town, and image+nation celebrates 35 years.

December

The beginning of December already feels like a year ago. The Candyass Cabaret brought sexy back, the Stygian Caravan brought creatives together, and speaking of together, Glass Tiger still is.

Andrew Jamieson’s Sleazy Christmas introduced me to comedian Morgan O’Shea who I thought was just some friend of a friend, and next thing you know, he’s going up on stage, and I’m laughing till it hurts. Turns out he’s profesh. I’ll be intentionally seeking out his comedy in the future.

As is always the case, this year isn’t over yet, and we’re already looking to the next.

Osheaga 2023 headliners have been announced, and I already have Lizzo tickets for May.

Entertainment this week? Personally? So much chilling.

All the best to you, yours, and the dreams you’re chasing. Blessed be & haribol.

Featured Image of Sophia Bel @ POP Montreal by Dawn McSweeney

Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney are joined by Special Guest Samantha Gold to discuss the top stories of 2022: Quebec Election, Elon Musk and Twitter, Quebec Healthcare & the return of shows.

Follow Samantha Gold @samiamart on Facebook & @samiamartistmtl on Instagram

Follow Dawn McSweeney @mcmoxy on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Jason C. McLean @jasoncmclean on Twitter and Instagram

Osheaga will return to Parc Jean-Drapeau next summer, running August 4ht, 5th and 6th. Organizers announced the three headliners today:

The big name on Friday will be Australian alternative-dance group Rüfüs Du Sol:

Then, Saturday night will culminate with a performance by multiple Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Billie Eilish:

And the festival will wrap up on Sunday with scoailly conscious hip hop star and Osheaga veteran Kendrick Lamar:

The rest of the lineup, featuring established and up-and-coming local, national and international acts, will be announced in the future (probably early next year). For now, tickets go on sale this Friday, December 16th at 10am.

Featured Image from Osheaga 2022 by Chris Zacchia

Please visit Osheaga.com for tickets and more

Anyone else doing their Christmas shopping like one for them, two for me? It makes it much more fun.

Clears throat, shuffles papers this week: mingle with artists, dance all night,catch some tunes, and if you’re gonna shop, shop local.

Dance, Plants and Real-Time Collaboration @ MAI

MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) is presenting two pieces by artist Sasha Kleinplatz.

We Move Together or Not at All has “five soloists each perform an improvised solo dedicated to the plants in a greenhouse”. It’s dance, installation, and performance art in one.

Miracle’ing/Close to Me/Close to You is an improvised performance piece with twelve artists from across Canada collaborating in real time. While this is dance, it’s also far more than that: the performers will also have control over the music, sounds, lights and projector.

We Move Together or Not at All & Miracle’ing/Close to Me/Close to You by Sasha Kleinplatz both run at the MAI, 3680 Jeanne Mance, each with multiple showtimes until December 11. For showtimes, info and tickets, please visit the MAI website

Pass me my poodle skirt!

This Friday Westie Swing is hosting a West Coast Swing class and social. Bring a partner, find a partner, learn a thing. The tunes are catchy, and the moves are slick. First timers welcome, so don’t be shy!

Westie Swing Night hosted by Westie Montreal @ Studio Tango Montreal, 7755 boul St. Laurent, #200-A&B on Friday, December 9 from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets available through WestieMontreal.com

I play favorites

Oki, so I caught Sophia Bel by fluke at POP Montreal this year, and she was my favorite act. Sure she’s got a great voice, but she also knows how to command a stage, and punk up Neil Young songs, I bet this show’ll be good too (prob has some Christmas in it..?).

Sophia Bel as Part of Christmas in the Park at Parc Emilie-Gamelin, 1500 Rue Berri, Montréal, Friday, December 9, 8pm. Details through QuartierDesSpectacles.com

“Philosophy is a walk on the slippery rocks…”

The Stygian Caravan is offering up an author-led creative exploration with “Writing! Art! Music! Philosophical discussion!” Creative chat, and connect with creative humans. It’s a two parter, so jump in on one or both (it moves…’cuz caravan)

The Stygian Caravan starts at Encore Books, 5670 Sherbrooke Street West, Sunday, December 11 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., moving to Notre Boeuf de Grace, 5732 Sherbrooke Street West. Info on Stygian and the Facebook Event Page

Gifts for you! And I suppose other people too…

For this winter edition of Puces POP, it’s 2 times the weekends and double the artisans! The goodies are local, handmade, and wide ranging. While you’re checking gifts off the list don’t forget to spoil yourself too, Boo.

The Holiday Puces POP at Église Saint Denis, 5075 rue Rivard (in front of Laurier Metro) December 9 through 11 and December 16 through 18. Info on the Facebook Event Page

Featured Image of Sophia Bel performing at POP Montreal 2022 by Dawn McSweeney

If you know of an event that you feel should be covered, please contact arts@forgetthebox.net or music@forgetthebox.net

No promises but we’ll do our best

As always, shows in Montreal are more consistent than the weather. Whether it calls for parkas or ponchos, we’ve got some reasons for you to head out this week! Read on for the funny, the abstract, a writers’ brunch, and our editor making music.

Get your recommended dose of laughter with bonus Canadian Content!

From Manitoba’s Poplar River First Nation, Paul Rabliauskas is at The Comedy Nest this weekend. I caught his set at JFL’s For the Culture show this year, and thoroughly enjoyed it. His jokes are funny, and his smile is contagious.

Paul Rabliauskas performs at Comedy Nest, 2313 Saint-Catherine St W 3rd Floor, December 2 and 3 at 8 and 10pm. Tickets available through Eventbrite

Ask your parents who they are…maybe grandparents. Oy.

Formed in 1983, Glass Tiger were rocking Much Music before the whippersnappers were born. Everything old is super new again though, so this sounds like the realest retro you can get your hands on.

This post was published late, the show was on Thursday night

Book people love brunch and a spot of tea…

If you took part in National Novel Writing Month, Kudos! You deserve a celebration brunch!

Come out and share a tea, a snack, and your fave segment of the writing from this month with other NaNoWriMo’ers. Sharing your writing isn’t required, but maybe bring a little in case you change your mind.

media

NaNoWriMo Windup Brunch takes place at Thesaurus Therrarium 383 rue de l’Église, Saturday, December 3 from 1-3pm. Info available on the Facebook Event Page

Hey! I know more than one of these people, tbh

Come out for an intimate acoustic concert featuring local singer songwriters. Local talents (including our own Editor Extraordinaire). No cover, fabulous dive bar vibes and drink specials too! Get the party started.

The lineup, from start to finish, is Jason C. McLean, Tanu Oberoi, John Galambos and Mars Trinity and then maybe another guest or two.

Welcome To London’s Fog happens at Bar Le Bièvre, 5018 Decarie, Friday, December 2 from 8 to 10:30pm. Info on the Facebook Event Page

Featured Image of Paul Rabliauskas courtesy of Just for Laughs

If you know of an event that you feel should be covered, please contact arts@forgetthebox.net or music@forgetthebox.net

No promises but we’ll do our best

Multidisciplinary is the word of the week. From a music focused museum show to a concert in the dark, Montreal is offering up some layered treats (which conveniently matches my outfit).

Basquiat’s Back with Music

Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music is a multidisciplinary exhibition focused on the role music played in the life and work of Jean Michel Basquiat. Organized in collaboration with the Musée de la musique – Philharmonie de Paris, when they call it large scale, they mean it: there are rooms of Basquiats, from concert posters and meticulously written journal pages, to giant paintings and pieces of tagged walls brought inside.

You’ll want to see it again before you’re even done. Bonus: the people watching is particularly good, and if you want an excuse to wear your fiercest fit, this is it.

The playlist is on Spotify, so get into the mood:

Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music runs at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1380 Sherbrooke Ouest, until February 19, 2023. Info and tickets on the MMFA website

Ben Caplan & Terra Spencer’s New Collab for Old News

Award winning talents Ben Caplan and Terra Spencer have teamed up for the first time creating the album Old News (released last month).

Terra’s a storytelling songwriter, and while Ben is known for his folk music roots, this marks his first foray into music production. Tha album has duets and solo performances, and I bet the show will too.

Here’s a sample:

Ben Caplan & Terra Spencer perform at Ursa, 5589 Ave du Parc, Saturday, November 26, 8pm (doors 6pm). Tickets available through ThePointOfSale.com

Concerts in the Dark: Because When Did You Last Really Pay Attention?

No screens or distractions, and with “an immersive listening device”, Les Yeux Fermer: Concerts Dans le Noir / Eyes Closed: Concerts in the Dark is creating a sensory experience for the distracted age.

Musical pieces have been created with “spatialized sound”, and the architecture of the SAT in mind. I imagine it’ll be super trippy.

On the lineup: Nova Materia, Lyonnaise Flore and Nantes-based Simo Cell, boss of the TEMƎT Music label.

Before you go, here’s Nova Materia – with the lights on:

Les Yeux Fermés runs November 25th and 26th at 8pm at S.A.T., 1201 Boul. Saint-Laurent. Tickets available through my.weezevent.com

Featured Image from Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music by Dawn McSweeney @mcmoxy on Twitter

If you know of an event that you feel should be covered, please contact arts@forgetthebox.net or music@forgetthebox.net

No promises but we’ll do our best

The snow is back, and so is Shows This Week! That’s coincidence and not causality, please don’t @ us about the weather (unless you’ve got great pics of something cool).

Montreal’s never let a little weather get in the way of our perpetual festival season, and this week’s no different!

We’ve got a film fest, an international conference (with concerts!) a skatepark party, and a Saturday night punk show.

image+nation35 Starts Tonight

Dedicated to diverse lived experiences with perspectives that respond and contribute to wider conversations around cultural, sexual, and gender identit(ies), image+nation Canada’s first LGBT2SQ+ film festival and pioneering platform of queer stories is marking an impressive milestone, celebrating its 35th anniversary edition this month.

November 17 through 27, image+nation35 will be showcasing both in-cinema (Cinéma Impérial, Cinéma Moderne, De Sève Cinema, PHI Centre) and virtual screenings, bringing audiences the best in contemporary queer cinema. This year’s festival offers over 40 narrative and documentary features, 13 short film programs from 28 countries, and two sections highlighting LGBT2SQ+ cinema specifically from Ukraine and Iran.

The festival is also proud to bring Voix autochtones / Indigiqueer to the people, and perennials including Queerment Québec, and Made au Canada.

The Canada Media Fund returns as Festival Presenting Partner, and will act as presenting collaborator of the inaugural I+N@PHI x FMC/CMF SERIES.

image+nation35 runs November 17-27. Tickets and full schedule available through image-nation.org

M for Montreal’s M Pour Marathon

This is the 17th edition of M For Montreal, and unless you’re an indie artist or industry type, you’ve probably never heard of it. It’s a showcase and international conference that puts musicians and proverbial suits from both the local and international scene in the same place at the same time. It’s a big deal, and it’s sweet to imagine how stoked the performers are for this opportunity.  

While networking and showcases are still reserved for music industry pros, conferences will be open to the public, as well as the new concert component, M Pour Marathon

You can buy tickets per concert, but if you’re looking to do it up, get yourself a “Mélomane” pass for $100 which gets you into all the M Pour Marathon concerts, the conferences, workshops, and showcases (according to availability; priority will be given to Pro Pass holders).

Part of M Pour Marathon (but with a different vibe) is the Show Frette. Billed as the last outdoor party of the year, it’s totally free!

With support from the borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal, the party has a pretty cool location: the Van Horne Skatepark, under Viaduc Van Horne (5855 St. Laurent, to be technical).

Here’s who’s bringing what to the party:

Quebecois artist Virginie B is bringing a funky danceable beat paired with her dreamy, sultry voice.

From Little Saskatchewan First Nation, located in the heart of the Interlake of Manitoba, Leonard Sumner is bringing his unique mix of country, folk and hip hop.

Montrealer Lydia Képinski released her sophomore album Depuis this year, and was longlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. She’s bringing pop goodness that’ll get stuck in your head.

Jesse Mac Cormack also put out his second album this year, and while there are a few songs you can dance to, the lyrics are filled with longing and hindsight. He’s bringing those open heart vibes, and you might wanna kiss someone.

Barry Paquin Roberge is a band, not a dude, and they’re bringing disco back. You’ll be jelly of the flashy outfits, and your toes will be tapping. For all intents and purposes, they’re bringing the party game you rolled your eyes at and then loved.

Kiwi Jr. have a wonderful Spotify write-up, including the line: “Turning nocturnal with necks mock turtle, Kiwi Jr. takes neon flight off the digital cliff — like the Monkees starring in Blade Runner”, which is exactly what I was going to say, but they got there first. 

Of course Montrealers don’t party without a nosh (and a drink), so there will be food, booze, and a warming tent.

Fugazzi Pizza, ramen from Tsukuyomi, AliceÔChoux for your sweet tooth, Quebec spirits from Fou Gin, beer from Shawinigan’s Trou du Diable and a variety of ready-to-drink products from Oshlag.

The 17th edition of M for Montreal runs November 17-19, tickets and info available through MPourMontreal.com

Old School Punk @ MTELUS

Presented by ’77 & 123 PUNK, Anti-Flag‘s punking up the place along with Canadian punkers and Granby natives Vulgaires Machins. Combined, the bands have over 50 years on the scene, so you’ll know the sound even if you can’t quite name a song. If you need a place to mosh, lace ’em up and get your tickets

Anti-Flag & Vulgaires Machines play MTELUS, 59 Ste-Catherine Est, Saturday, November 19, 7pm. Tickets available through MTELUS

Featured Image from Amazones d’Hier, Lesbiennes d’Aujourd’hui. 40 ans plus tard (2022) by Dominique Bourque, Julie Vaillancourt, Johanne Coulombe, courtesy of image+nation

If you know of an event that you feel should be covered, please contact arts@forgetthebox.net or music@forgetthebox.net

No promises but we’ll do our best

In my POP Montreal preview, I went deep with the all-you-can-eat buffet imagery: such variety, copious quantities. In hindsight, the metaphor holds: I worked up an appetite, planned some faves, and went home feeling sleepy with gravy on my shirt. Or, something like that.

The short story is that I discovered a couple of acts I wasn’t likely to come across elsewhere, and now I intend to follow them as they grow to the heights they rightly deserve. I only saw one show that I’d planned on seeing, and had to leave early because it went later than expected on a school night, and made a bad call when I decided that the Bran Van 3000 show was too obvious a choice, and opted for a whole genre I’d never heard of in the name of experimentation. Suffice to say I should’ve seen Bran Van.

While I feel like I failed at covering the artistic spectrum that is Pop Montreal, I did learn a lot about how to do it better next time.

Take the time off

I’ve been holding a few PTO days close, and next year I plan to take the days off. There were so many daytime events, I shot myself in the foot by limiting my options and sacrificing too much sleep.

Plan, But Stay Flexible

I had grand plans, and thought I would get to more places than I did. It seems Montreal is back to its standard showtimes, which is to say later than anticipated.

Additionally, being a truly indie festival, tear down between bands was done by the performers themselves and only a couple of extra helpers, meaning the shows went long too. All that to say, it’s tricky to attend shows timed closely together, so be like water and let the flow take you.

It’s So Much More Than Music

While it’s billed as an International Music Festival, there’s so much more than that. There are talks, films, performance art, visual art, even artisanal goodies to buy. Next year I plan on going to more than just concerts.

Get The Hardcopy

I only got my hands on the hardcopy program late Sunday afternoon. I didn’t realize it was a thing, and I’d been leaning on the website. While the net is perfect for navigating to venues, the program has a great calendar to visualize what’s going on any given day, and a map that shows the venues in relation to one another for all your multi-event needs.

And the hardcopy led me to the app! I’d found a POP Montreal app, but it was from a previous season, and didn’t seem updated. Seems I missed the memo, because there’s a full page QR code in the program that I wish I’d seen sooner.

Study the Playlist

POP planned ahead with a wonderfully curated playlist that I’d been listening to for a bit, just trying to catch flavors and vibes and see what stuck. I should’ve reversed this process, and started with the calendar: it would have been wiser to cut out the bands I knew I couldn’t see due to scheduling, and used the playlist to decide between bands that had conflicting time slots. That would’ve also saved some heartache, as I got hyped for a few artists on the playlist before realizing I couldn’t make their shows.

If all this sounds like a lot of nerdy work, I assure you that it’s my favorite form of overthinking, but you don’t have to be so weird about it. The POP Montreal playlist is still right here so the exploration continues. And, as promised in the headline, here are some of the photos I took:

The events page for Pop Montreal 2022 reads like the menu of a pre-pandemic buffet. With over 200 shows, many of which are showcasing up and coming artists, it’s a veritable smorgasbord, and I’m eager to dive in. Before I’ve gotten halfway through the calendar, I break out a pen and paper, making lists, organizing blocks of time like Tetris pieces.

I’ve got a shiny press pass, so I’m free but not unfettered: Wednesday is a weird day to start a festival, and I’ve got a desk job. There’s some comfort in knowing that even if I had the days off, I wouldn’t actually be able to see everything, and isn’t that the secret tragedy hidden at the bottom of every all-you-can-eat outing?

The Pop people made a fab Spotify playlist so we can sample everything and plan accordingly. Here are a few of my takeaways:

We’ve got the Born Ruffians (I think I’ve heard that name? They have a strong Spotify following, at just over half a million). The tunes are spacey and dreamy.

The Linda Lindas broke out during the pandemic when a video of the teens punking out in a library with their original song Racist Sexist Boy. It gave me full L7 / ’90s Hole vibes, and I promised myself I’d see them live. It’s an all ages show, and fun moms are bringing their wee punks. I’ll be there.

I’m struggling to describe Thanya Iyer’s surreal tunes, but thankfully her Spotify bio is perfect: “Thanya Iyer’s experimental movements radiate an effervescence of twinkling rock filled nights, clubs of electronic intensity, and church-like hyms”. I couldn’t have said it better myself; I tried. You can catch her for free, Thursday at noon at Jardins Gamelin.

With Wayne Snow’s loungey dance tunes, it’s no surprise he’s already got a strong following. Shuffling through his repertoire gave me disco glitter makeout vibes, which is perfect as both dancing and kissing are wonderful sweater weather activities.

Sisi Superstar will be bringing candy pink pop vibes when she opens for Canada’s Drag Race winner Priyanka, who will of course be serving up a show to dance to.

JayWood’s coming to us from Winnipeg, and bringing his unique, self taught talents. His tunes are groovy with some rock, beautiful acoustic bits — it’s the fusion you didn’t know you needed. His Spotify bio uses words like “psych funk” and “electronic groove”, but you should probably give it a quick listen and then go see him live.

My dudes, I could go on and on, but honestly, this all starts tonight, so less reading, more listening. Get them tix, and get your POP on!

POP Montreal 2022 runs September 28-October 2. Full schedule and tickets at popmontreal.com

Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss Premier Legault shooting down a $10 Billion climate fund hours before Montreal is hit with a major downpour, the Quebec Election Debate, QS Rail and Bus proposal and concerts this weekend.

Follow Dawn McSweeney @mcmoxy on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Jason C. McLean @jasoncmclean on Twitter and Instagram

This week, we’re chock full of festivals, three of them running simultaneously and one of them running two shows at the same time in different locations. This is going to be a busy weekend, so let’s get started:

MEG is Back at Parc Jean Drapeau & the SAT

MEG Montréal is celebrating its 23rd edition with two four-day parties in two locations: the Piknic Électronik site at Parc Jean Drapeau and the Société des arts technologiques (SAT) on the lower Main. They’re bringing in legends like Fatboy Slim, Hugo TSR, Misstress Barbara and Dillon Francis and also have a panel to discussn “Hip-hop culture in all its states, between France and Quebec.”

MEG’s plan has always been to set “the stage for up-and-coming electro hip-hop artists, with a mission of bringing curious, open-minded night owls together for an unforgettable experience.” This year’s “back to school” edition promises to be no different.

Have a look at a video of MEG 2019:

MEG Festival runs September 2-5 with shows running simultaneously at Parc Jean Drapeau (Piknic Électronik site) and at SAT (Société des arts technologiques), 1201 Boul. Saint-Laurent. For tickets and schedule, please visit MEGMontreal.com

Estival du nouveau cinéma Gets the Ball Rolling

Nope, that’s not a typo and nope, we’re not early. 51st Festival du nouveau cinéma still takes place from October 5 to 16, however this weekend, for the second time, they’re getting the ball rolling early with Estival du nouveau cinéma, a mini-fest made up of four nights of screenings at the Esplanade Tranquille in Quartier des spectacles.

It kicks off tonight with L’Infonie Inachevée, the landmark 1973 Quebec documentary by Roger Frappier, then tomorrow Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Paolo Sorrentino revisits his youth in late 80s Naples in The Hand of God. On Saturday, Montreal and global icon Leonard Cohen is front and centre in the new documentary Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song. The mini-fest concludes Sunday with a presentation of Dune (the recent Denis Villeneuve version, not the David Lynch one from decades ago).

Estival du nouveau cinéma runs September 1-4 with 8pm showtimes at the Esplanade Tranquille in Quartier des spectacles. FREE. Info at NouveauCinema.ca

FME in Abitibi

Okay, admittedly, this one isn’t exactly a Montreal show this week, or even a Montreal region show this week, but it is in Quebec, Rouyn-Noranda in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region specifically. And it is quite the show.

Festival de Musique Émergente en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (FME) features over 90 acts from all genres on nine stages over four days. Hubert Lenoir, Animal Collective, Lisa Leblanc, Rich Aucoin and many many more performers will be there.

FME’s 20th Anniversary runs September 1-4. For the lineup and more info, please visit fmeat.org

Featured Image from The Hand of God, courtesy of Festival du nouveau cinéma

If you know of an event that you feel should be covered, please contact arts@forgetthebox.net or music@forgetthebox.net

No promises but we’ll do our best

As we approach the end of summer and beginning of fall, we’re heading into the part of year where regular shows start mixing with the remaining events of Montreal’s festival season. Since this year, so far, regular shows seem to be returning in full force, we’re bringing back Shows This Week (as opposed to Montreal Arts & Music This Week, which includes releases not tied to an event).

So without any more hesitation, let’s get started:

Andrew Searles’ LA Chocolat! @ Café Cléopatra

Andrew Searles has been a comedian for 20 years (professionally, that is) and a Montrealer for longer. For the past six years, though, his base of operations has been sunny LA.

He still returns to his hometown, though it’s usually part of a tour, and his shows here generally sell out. His latest show LA Chocolat! seems to be following that trend, with the 8pm Friday night show at Café Cléopatra already full.

There are still three shows (as of publishing time) that you can buy tickets for and Searles will also be recording an album on the Saturday shows. Here’s some standup from before Searles left for LA:

LA Chocolat! by Andrew Searles runs August 26th and 27th, 8pm and 10:30pm, at Café Cléopatra, 1230 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, 2nd Floor. Tickets available through Eventbrite

Festival FAR in Montreal’s Alleyways

Festival FAR, which beings its sixth edition this Monday, is a multidisciplinary arts festival that takes place exclusively in alleyways. This means mostly smaller, intimate shows, but also a few events with stages in larger alleys.

This year’s event begins in Parc-Ex and culminates in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie with stops in Ahuntsic, Côte-des-Neiges, Downtown (the Ville-Marie Borough), the Sud-Ouest (Pointe-Saint-Charles specifically) and Ville St-Laurent.

Festival FAR 2022 runs August 29 – September 11 in various Montreal neighbourhoods. For schedule and info, please visit festivalfar.com

Marché des Possibles Every Weekend Until September 25th

Last week we announced that POP Montreal is returning with a full lineup. Today, we’d like to announce that the POP and Plateau Mont-Royal Borough co-production Marché des Possibles is also back, well, back again this weekend.

The weekend event has been running since May, featuring a variety of local performers playing L’Entrepôt 77, a makeshift outdoor performance space in the park under the overpass at the very top edge of Mile-End.

This weekend’s lineup features Thanya Iyer launching the Rest EP with Cedric Noel and Ambroise, Ukulélé Club de Montréal, Blood and Dust, amarior, Girl Circles and Lyndsie Alguire.

Marché des Possibles runs at L’Entrepôt 77, 77 Bernard Est, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until September 25. Lineups available through their Facebook page


Featured Image from last weekend’s Marché des Possibles via MDP on Facebook

If you know of an event that you feel should be covered, please contact arts@forgetthebox.net or music@forgetthebox.net

No promises but we’ll do our best

POP Montreal is back!

Well, come to think of it, they were already back in 2020 with a virtual version and last year with a smaller socially-distanced version, but this fall, they’re offering over 200 concerts in close to 20 venues in the Plateau and Mile-End. You could say that they’re back to full-force, but don’t say they’re back to normal.

According to festival Creative Director Daniel Seligman in a press release:

“The notion of ‘going back to normal’ isn’t really POP Montreal’s jam. We will forever be moving forward, doing our best to care of our community and create spaces that allow for all kinds of voices to come together. One of the lessons we’ve learned over the ‘panini’ is that being in relation with each other is the essential ingredient of culture. So let’s come together and experience the most delicious musical sandwich the city can offer.”

This year’s sandwich, or lineup, includes headliners like Allison Russell, Tortoise, The Linda Lindas and POP veteran Martha Wainwright as well as way more than two handfuls of up-and-coming and already established acts representing a variety of musical genres. from the eclectic punk pop of Sophia Bel to Indigenous futurists Ombiigizi, to maverick Toronto rapper Witch Prophet, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy checking out.

POP Montreal runs from September 28-October 2, 2022. For the complete schedule and tickets, please visit POPMontreal.com

The lineup is listed in the poster below:

Osheaga returned to full-force last weekend and FTB was there. Here is a gallery of photos from all three days by Chris Zacchia: