What’s better than a rooftop patio complete with live music on a bright Saturday afternoon? Absolutely nothing.

Audio Blood hosted a stellar NXNE event to showcase some of their artists, including Old Man Canyon, Slow Down Molasses, Army Girls, Royal Tusk, Fast Romantics and secret guests Teenage Kicks. The beautiful day and open bar were bonuses that helped everyone’s already sunny demeanors along that little bit extra. Outdoor shows are not always the most easily controlled, in terms of achieving good sound, but every band that played sounded awesome. The mixes were just right. We managed to catch most of the event, and here’s a rundown of the artists we were fortunate enough to watch play.

Army Girls is a two-piece band from Toronto featuring Carmen Elle (vocals/guitar) and Andy Smith (drums). Elle brought some dry humour to their outstanding set of garage band-style originals, but the highlight of their set were her sweet, sweet vocals. Petite but powerful, she blasted out some real beauties. Her pure sounding voice contrasted with the sounds she achieved from her electric guitar, but it worked in a complimentary way that I found really pleasing. Smith carried the beat and just helped the set groove along. It was perfect for a sunny Saturday afternoon.

On a side note, Elle is also a member of the band Diana who just made the long list for the Polaris Prize.

After Army Girls, Royal Tusk hit the stage. This Alberta band are in the midst of a Canadian tour to support their first six song EP, Mountain, on Hidden Pony Records. With five members, they brought things up a notch in terms of volume. Led by singer/guitarist Daniel Carriere and bassist Sandy MacKinnon, Royal Tusk play rock music with hints of Americana and soul. Their sound is rounded out by keys, drums and percussion. Their songs feature cool riffs, strong vocals, and a nice, full sound.

Secret guests Teenage Kicks played an energetic set that reaffirmed why they’ve been gaining such momentum since brothers Peter and Jeff van Helvoort formed the band a short while ago. They’re the whole package. Great tunes, talented and tight band, catchy riffs and good-looking to boot. When listening to their album Spoils of Youth, you’ll hear honest, cliché-free music; their most true expression of what rock music means to them.

teenage kicks audio blood rooftop party nxne

The album didn’t come easy. They recorded it in West Hollywood and found the original recording to be unusable. They lost band members, suffered bad timing and worse luck and yet persisted. Peter’s work as a producer made it possible for them to re-record the album with Jeff. They say hard work and persistence pay off and Spoils of Youth version 2 is certainly an example of this. Teenage Kicks are currently playing shows throughout southern Ontario.

Fast Romantics closed out the party with their blend of pop-rock that had everyone dancing, grooving and singing along. Formed in 2008 by singer/songwriter Matthew Angus, bassist Jeffrey Lewis and drummer Alan Reain, they were later joined by Aussie ex-pats Shane O’Keeffe (guitar) and Lauren Heron (keys). Their most recent release, Afterlife Blues (2013), came in part from a realization by Angus that he’d been through a lot of breakups and never written about them. The songs started flowing and working for a second time with producer Howard Redekopp allowed for the band to record this second album in a faster and more comfortable way.

Angus wanted to write straightforward lyrics and back them up with music that’s loud, yet playful and sometimes even euphoric. The band built a reputation by playing high energy shows, attracting a following that allowed them to tour and play many large festivals including Virgin Fest, SXSW, NXNE and CMJ. They also won Spin Magazine’s “Free the Noise” competition and were flown to New York City. Their music has been featured in many TV shows and films, including Shameless, Breaking In, Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars. “Funeral Song” has also been getting a lot of attention.

Audio Blood really nailed it with this event. They chose artists who complimented each other beautifully and hosted a hell of a patio party with the help of their partner Pistonhead Brewery. Well played, Audio Blood, well played.

Photos by Chris Zacchia, see the full album on our Facebook page

Paper Lions

Dinosaur bones
Dinosaur Bones

The music started early for me on the second day of POP Montreal. Day one was still hanging around when I left my house in the form of a hangover and some pretty intense sleep deprivation. But coffee procured and the will to party intact, I made it to Forget the Box and Audio Blood’s afternoon soiree at Divan Orange.


The first band onstage when I staggered in from the sunny afternoon was a one-man act called Revelstoke. A scruffy young guy with a perfectly-waxed moustache, Revelstoke is relaxed enough on the stage to experiment with sound and to banter with the crowd. He works with looping machines to layer together lines from his guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and assorted percussive bits and bobs. I personally have a soft spot for loopers, and so was smiling almost as soon as I stepped inside.

As the set wore on, I was not disappointed. He harmonizes with himself, scrapes a bow across his guitar strings, and the lyrics to his songs are poetic without being over-the-top—sweet and simple. He also, despite being from the Tdot, made an effort to sing a few lines in French and the result was charming. I’m happy to’ve made this discovery; Revelstoke was a folksy treat for my hungover ears.



Cai.ro performed for us that afternoon as well, but as a two piece instead of their usual six. The two onstage nonetheless rocked some tight harmonies and a surprisingly dense sound for being just two guitars. I’m not sure what they sound like as a six piece, but I think it’s safe to say that if you’re a fan of Fleet Foxes you’ll find something to enjoy in Cai.ro’s stylings.

Sandman viper command-012
Sandman Viper Command

The afternoon began to fade into early evening and progressively harder bands began to take the stage at Divan. The four-piece Sandman Viper Command dished out some of their driving garage-rock. It had me tapping my toes even as it pummelled my poor headachey brain. Had they been playing at a later time, to a possibly more drink-filled crowd, Sandman definitely would have had a full dancefloor, but in the chill early evening, most of us just bopped our heads appreciatively.

amos the transparent
Amos the Transparent

The cabaret continued with Amos the Transparent’s ‘90s-style rock, full of good grooves and interesting changeups, and then Dinosaur Bones with their throbbing, somewhat spacey style, built on effective rhythm switches and soulful singing.

Paper Lions finished off the night. This four-piece boasts an upbeat, almost Vampire Weekend-like vibe, with songs that are easy to bop to. All four members sing, the music has some engaging stops and starts, and can sometimes sound almost like ‘60s pop-rock. They also have a great energy onstage as they played a mix of their old and new songs. They just released their second album (ep?) which you can check out called At Long Creek.

Paper Lions
Paper Lions

With Paper Lion’s rock came the realization that the second night of Pop was officially underway, and there was a long night of shows ahead. Trading coffee for beer, and after thanking the performers that made this show possible, we hit the streets for round two of this five-round fight!

Photos by Chris Zacchia

For more photos from the show check out ForgetTheBox on FB.

Audio Blood POP Montreal Afternoon Soiree

Audio Blood POP Montreal Afternoon Soiree

Forget The Box is proud to be teaming up with Audio Blood to present Audio Blood’s Afternoon Soiree at this year’s POP Montreal festival! The party will be on September 20th during the day at Divan Orange and it’s FREE*!

We’ve got 6 awesome bands playing all afternoon including:

So bring your dancing shoes!
The show is absolutely free! To get in simply RSVP by tweeting #ABLOVESPOP
(limited space available)
And if you want to get your hands on some awesome band merch, leave a comment below telling us why YOU love POP Montreal and share this article!
Check out some of the awesome bands: