The first day of Osheaga was a positively radiant day of sun, suds and tons of great acts culminating with an Arcade Fire rain dance that ended the evening. The short burst of rain left the crowd slightly soaked but very satisfied with Osehega’s return to full capacity after a brief halt due to the pandemic.
With a few surprises and a solid lineup Friday I think everyone was a little excited to start their weekend of music .
To start out my day I checked out the Local Naives at the valley stage. Their atmospheric rock sound was a good way to slowly get into the Vibe of the scene. And after a few beers and a few songs, I was totally into the festival experience.
It seemed like this year’s Osheaga, after a two years hiatus, felt very full.
The surprise treat of the evening was a very good performance by Arcade Fire. I didn’t think their last few shows were as energetic as I remembered them being in the past, but what they did right Friday night was know how to play for a local crowd.
They had a perfect group of songs, from Funeral and The Suburbs to Wake Up and Sprawl II. It felt like Montreal’s band was back, even after these last two dreadful albums.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
What can you say about the always intriguing performance of YYYs? They brought the crowd back to aggressive pop rock. The crowd loved Heads Will Roll and Maps.
Definitely recommend checking them out next time they are in town.
Charlie XCX: Her catchy pop 90s song I Don’t Care was a wild romp and the crowd went pretty crazy,
Johnathan Summit’s DJ set at the Island stage was excellent the beats got me transcendental.
This week we’ll check in with Nomadic Massive who launch their new album tonight, I try to make a segue-way from hip hop to punk rock, Pierre Kwender’s music is compared to soup, I excessively brag about my clearly very average ability to search for things on the internet and much more!
Nomadic Massive Album launch
Tonight you can head down to Groove Nation where Montreal Hip Hop mainstays Nomadic Massive will be hosting and event to release their latest album The Big Band Theory. Around since 2004, the multiethnic – multilingual supergroup has been touring and performing with the best of them for the past three years but tonight they’re back home to give the local scene a first listen to their newest tracks.
They’ve already released a few singles and if the rest of the album sounds like this we’re in for quite a ride. Check out the groovy, trumpet heavy Any Sound to see what I mean.
Nomadic Massive release their album at Groove Nation, 410 Rachel East, Thursday, June 2nd, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:00pm), $10.
This Saturday you can multitask by combining your dancing, your donating money to a good cause and your ‘trying to look cool by showing up at the same party where members of Arcade Fire are also partying‘ all into one evening. That’s because Win Butler, Herve K, Regine Chassagne and D.L. Jones have combined forces to host a dance party at the Théâtre Fairmount in order to raise funds for kanpe.org an organization dedicated to helping rebuild Haiti.
The show promises performances by Windows 98 (the not so cryptic DJ name of Mr. Butler), Lexis, Pierre Kwenders, Ra Ra Band, Kassedo and Surprise Guests.
Wanting to crack the code of who the “surprise guest” could be I set off on an epic journey through the deep web to uncover the mystery. Turns out the first thing you get when you search this event on facebook is a post by organizer D.L. Jones promising that “Kid Koala will be leading a conga line with his portable turntable.”
Surprise guests or not, the scheduled performers should be enough to peak your interest. Keep an eye out for Pierre Kwenders, the Congolese-Canadian singer-rapper who performs in four different languages and seamlessly blends styles from all over the world into one yummy bowl of musical soup. Mmmmmmmm soup.
Windows 98, Lexis, Pierre Kwenders, Ra Ra Band, Kassedo and Surprise Guests play Théâtre Fairmount, 5240 Avenue du Parc, Saturday, June 4th, 10:00pm (till 3:00am), $10 at the door or through the box office.
N.Y.C Punk Showcase
On a completely unrelated note, on Friday you can head over to Casa Del Popolo to check out the very accurately named N.Y.C Punk Showcase. A trio of New York’s finest punk bands (Mommy, Haram and Nandas) will be teaming up with two local acts (Gazm and Faze) to give you a whole lot of punk rock for only ten bucks!
I’ve now said punk three times in two sentences (make that 4-in-3, 5 if you count the title) in an attempt to drive home the very straightforward theme of this show. To further illustrate, here’s a song that’s less than a minute and a half long by this week’s “coolest band you’ve never heard of” Montreal’s own Gasm.
Mommy, Haram,Nandas, Gazm and Faze play Casa Del Popolo, 4873 Boulevard St-Laurent, Friday, June 3rd, 10:00pm (Doors at 9:00pm), $10. Tickets at the door or through lifttckt.
Cherry Chérie + Samuele
If you’re into rockabilly then on Saturday you can swing (pun somewhat intended) by Divan Orange where Cherry Chérie will be playing as part of an Indiemontreal / Fringefest showcase. The event will most certainly have a 50’s dance vibe so no sitting in the corner staring at your shoes!
Joining them on stage will be singer/songwriter Samuele whose blusey rock style will also transport you back in time a little and fit in nicely with the style of the evening.
Cherry Chérie and Samuele play Le Divan Orange, 4234 Boulevard St-Laurent, Saturday, June 4th, 9:30pm (Doors at 8:30pm), $10 at the Door or through Indiemontreal box office.
Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!
This past Wednesday I sauntered on over to St-Urbain street to pick up my POP Montreal press pass. If you’ve never been ‘popping’, I can understand how one might be wary about the expenses surrounding such an endeavor. But I’d encourage anyone in Montreal in September at least to drop by Pop headquarters.
I began my POP 2015 experience by wandering around the free activities HQ has to offer including art shows, panels, and of course, music. As I shoved a hot dog and beer into my face like the classy lady that I am, I was entertained by Montreal Band Nancy Pants. They’re a perfect hybrid of pop and punk sensibilities, or “dirty pop” as my friend Google tells me they like to be called.
Whatever labels they give themselves, the band was giving it their all and clearly very excited to be there. I would recommend giving their single Happy a listen, and I look forward to seeing them again at some point in the future. Sadly that was my extent of music on the first day, because well when you’re in your thirties and have to get up at 5:30 a.m. for work, sleep becomes more appealing than a party.
I continued my Pop adventure on Thursday night by doing one of my favourite activities; seeing a movie. While one wouldn’t naturally associate a music festival with film, Film Pop (movies with a clear musical influence) has been a part of the festival for a long time (since the beginning? Now I’m ashamed at my clear lack of knowledge about Pop history). The film I saw was about this small Montreal band, you may have heard of them – Arcade Fire.
The Reflektor Tapes is footage that was taken of the band during the course of their latest album, 2013’s Reflector. The film cuts back and forth as the band conceives, records and tours the album. I went into the experience hoping to get some sort of insight into what a monumental task it must be for band with that level of fame to work and tour an album.
If you were hoping for the same, I believe the expression I’m looking for is “you’re shit out of luck.” The Reflektor Tapes is far more an art film then documentary. Not that I didn’t enjoy the screening. The film is beautiful to look at, and its high energy leaves one feeling oddly inspired even though you don’t quite understand what you just watched. It perfectly complimented what followed the screening.
Fueled by the energy of the screening and dance party that followed, I wandered down St-Laurent. After the high-art vibe of Arcade Fire at The Rialto, I was in the mood for something a little trashier, and settled on my favorite hole in the wall, St-Laurent bar Barfly. While I was kind of hoping for some punk band I could mosh along to, instead I was treated to the low-key French folk singer Clemence Freschard.
At first listen her songs are silly and simplistic. Chees and Crackers. Freschard crooned to the shamefully small crowd at Barfly. But then, as the song progressed, you become totally enchanted with her style and she hooks you in. Freschard was in fact a perfect way to close off a night of Pop, and I hummed her addictive choruses all the way home.
Summer may be fading into fall, but turn that frown upside down my fellow Montrealers. We live in a city where there’s so much more to the season than back to school and Instagram pics of pumpkin spice lattes. September means it’s time to POP!
For its 14th edition, Pop Montreal is offering five days’ worth of panels, art fairs, music and movies. Here in no particular order are some of the things that I’m most excited for during Pop 2015:
The Reflektor Tapes
Offers a scrapbook-like documentary about the making and touring of Arcade Fire’s 2013 album Reflektor (Sep.17th at Rialto Theatre, 8pm). Fingers crossed Arcade Fire makes it to the screening!
The Noisy Locomotive
A Montreal string-band that seems like they’d be a perfect fit for Folk Fest or a drunken night at Grumpy’s. And while they’ve likely played both, I’ve never seen them at either so now POP’s my chance to check ‘em out. (Sep.18th at L’assommoir, 8pm)
Everybody’s favourite craft fair is back! This year 140 different artisans will be selling their clothes, accessories, graphic novels and so much more. (Sep.17th-20th 160 Saint-Viateur)
This rock band from Calgary has a feel of a modern day Joy Division. Their Self-titled EP was shortlisted last year for the Polaris Music Prize. (Sep.18th at Fairmount Theatre, 9:30)
Babes in Toyland
A riot grrl band of the first order, these ladies from Minneapolis went on to inspire bands like Sleater-Kinney and Jack-Off Jill. (Sep.19th at Rialto Theatre, 8pm)
Pop Montreal runs from September 16th– 20th. For more information about events, shows and tickets, make sure to check out the Pop Website
Grand Lodge No. 24, the church-turned-recording-studio recently purchased by Emery Street Records, officially opened and the owners threw one hell of a fucking party. On Friday, November 14, producers, musicians, artists, members of the press, publicists and other members of the local music industry — as well as various randoms there for a good time — were invited to Farnham, Quebec to check out this latest acquisition by the independent, DIY Montreal label.
Arcade Fire, the former owners of the century-old church, caused a buzz in the international music community when they announced via Twitter that the building was for sale in January of 2013, the main reason being that the roof was in an advanced state of disrepair. Emery Street Records president, general manager and executive producer Francis Lemay saw an opportunity to take an already legendary studio and expand its reputation as well as bolster the mystique surrounding Emery Street Records and solidify their position as important promoters of the Quebec music industry. He had the old carpet roof replaced by a metal one as well as repairs done to the masonry, doors and windows. The building — which houses the studio where the majority of Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible and parts of The Suburbs were recorded — was ready to take bookings from the public in May 2014.
Emery Street finally got around to marking the opening of Grand Lodge No. 24 by throwing a wild party for friends and other members of the local music community, a grand and complex undertaking at the level and with the success that they managed to pull off. It had absolutely everything a good party should have and some spectacular extras as well.
Other live entertainment included some really top-notch burlesque performances by Lavender May (curator), Ruby Rhapsody, Madria, La Reine Rouge and La Reine Noire and the weird and wonderful Lady Josephine. Seb Black and Eddie Paul both played sets interspersed between the burlesque performances. (Eddie Paul recently released a new video for his single “Shut Up and Dance”, check it out here if you haven’t already!)
To top it all off, the new owners had purchased a school bus to ferry guests between downtown Montreal and Farnham, ensuring that no one would have to drive back to the city intoxicated. Hell, they even provided coat check at no cost. That’s how you get shit done.
All in all, considering everything that could go wrong when you’re a homegrown DIY label throwing a party of this magnitude, everything came together spectacularly with nary a bump in the road. Of course, a fire truck showed up at some point, presumably called upon by the presence of smoke from the barrel fire and the incessant ringing of the fire alarm when someone decided to started playing with the dry ice machine in the basement (I’m looking at you, Zacchia).
One last detail that was not overlooked: the hiring of some event photographers to capture it all, check out their work below!
Photos by Alex Sergerie, Edgar Delacroix, Michel Thibault and Jonathan B.P. courtesy of Emery Street Records.
Montreal-based Colin Stetson is a bass saxophone player, who has been a touring member of Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre, and Bon Iver. He has released several solo albums as well. While the albums are definitely worth listening to, seeing his music live is an experience that cannot be matched.
I had heard a lot about his live show before POP, so I was anxious to see it in person. I had high hopes, and he exceeded my expectations. On stage with nothing but himself and his saxophones, Stetson engulfed the audience at the Rialto with seemingly impossible sounds and melodies.
It’s clear that Stetson puts a lot of thought into the music he makes, every move carefully calculated in order to produce the exact sound he is trying to convey. And he does not make it look easy. Part of the experience that could not possibly be portrayed on the album is seeing him on stage, red-faced, pouring himself into his music.
You can see how much he puts into his work, and it makes the experience that much more worthwhile. Essentially, if you get the chance to see him, go. Even if you’ve never heard his music, you will be blown away.
For the first time in my fifteen-year journey through the education system, I love Mondays. This has nothing to do with any sort of newfound desire to be productive, and everything to do with the fact that, for the first time ever, I don’t have class on Monday. So when my roommate woke me up at noon last Monday and told me I needed to “start being a functioning human”, I put my pillow over my head and continued to not function. That is, until he followed with “There’s a secret Arcade Fire show tonight.”
The show was announced Monday morning. Posters around town, as well as online, stated that “The Reflektors” (the pseudonym the band used, also the first single from their upcoming album) would be playing at Salsathèque at 9 p.m. Everyone had to be either in costume or formal wear and only 100 people were getting in.
Word traveled fast, and by the time I finally scraped a costume together and got myself to the venue, there were already over fifty people waiting. The show wouldn’t start for another six hours, but there we all were, dressed up and ready to wait.
I’ll admit, four hours in, my spirits were pretty low. They had started picking people from the back of the line with the best costumes to go in and everyone around me was worried that our waiting time would be for naught. 9 p.m. passed and we were about five people away from entry.
They had started selling bracelets for Tuesday night, so I figured all hope was lost. But I was lucky. Like very-last-person-allowed-in lucky. The hour leading up to that moment was, I can honestly say, one of the most stressful things I’ve experienced in the three years that I’ve been in Montreal. When I finally got my wristband, I felt relieved, excited, and a little sad for the people behind me who waited just as long, only to be turned away.
Those sad feelings quickly passed when I got upstairs (sorry, guys!). I had missed the first two songs, but everyone was so excited and energetic that it was easy to just jump right in. The band played all new material, and it was all very upbeat and danceable.
This will be my third time seeing the band and they never fail to put on a superb live show. The set was short, but between waiting all day, and jumping around in a room bursting with costumed strangers, I was pretty exhausted by the end of it.
While I do still feel a little bad for those who didn’t get in, I can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment that only comes from exclusivity. I’m one of the select people who got to experience the show, and all it cost me was $9 and my lazy Monday.
Arcade Fire has been teasing fans with the new single off their forthcoming album Reflektor, setting 9/9 @ 9 pm as the launch of the first new track but the interwebs have gotten a hold of the new song and leaked it early. The song is titled “Reflektor“ and features David Bowie singing alongside the Montreal group. While it is unconfirmed that Bowie is actually on the album, he was in studio with the band and producer James Murphy during recording.
This is also the suspected artwork for the album. I like that the song track list reads like a sing-songy poem.
Arcade Fire also played a secret show on Wednesday night for few dozen lucky fans at Salsatheque.
As per ThemainMTL:
“Arcade Fireplayed a short set of all new material. The show was unexpectedly dance-oriented, due to the upbeat rhythms of conga drums and electronic flourishes alongside their most poppy sounds. Although the song lyrics shared the same themes as past releases, they traded their somber orchestral sound for something more contemporary.”
Let us know what you think of the song in the comments below and don’t forget to share!