Julian Taylor Band

Julian Taylor wrote and toured for years with Staggered Crossing, and yet found that despite working hard and constantly touring, there was just not enough profit in that side of the business. [I will resist the urge to go on a tirade about how almost no one wants to pay for original music anymore, and so musicians trying to pave their way using their own voice often end up living on welfare or worse… playing in cover bands so you can afford rent (jokes, well not really…)].

After the band broke up in 2007, Taylor spent time playing top-40 hits. He began writing and performing under his own name while continuing to play cover songs, eventually forming the Julian Taylor Band. Persistence and hard work definitely do pay off, though his immense talent certainly helps! Julian Taylor Band has released seven albums to date. Taylor has also had ten top-40 hits and has shared the stage with some big names including Blue Rodeo, Jeff Healey, Nickelback, Collective Soul and many others. He was also invited to perform at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and in Vancouver. Not too shabby!


The band played at the Shangri La Hotel on Wednesday night for the second of their CMW performances, following a show at the Hideout on Tuesday. They began with a set of strictly original tunes, introducing covers as the night progressed, playing four sets to not only CMW attendees but also the hotel guests. His music is sexy. There’s no better way to put it. You can dance to it, you can sing to it, and you can do lots of other things to it too, wink wink!

His voice reminds me of Stevie Wonder, both in the tone and delivery, though his style ranges from soul to R&B, from funk to rock, and touches other genres like pop in between. The band also emits great energy and it’s absolutely impossible to not groove along when they’re playing. Check out what I mean here with ‘This is Zero to Eleven,’ the second single of their 2013 EP.

The band recently released a full length album called Tech Noir which is available on iTunes as well.

Photos by Stephanie Beatson.

julian taylor band

Greetings from Toronto! Canadian Music Week, moved to May this year (no doubt due to weather…), is upon us! Here are a few recommendations for bands that are part of the festivities this week.

The festival begins Tuesday night, and though it’s not as busy as the rest of the week, it does feature Low Hanging Lights, an electric folk/rock band with definite punk influence. They capitalize on raw, “live show” sounding music, so you know they’re going to sound just as good — if not better — live. They play at Baltic Avenue at 11 p.m.

On Wednesday, Julian Taylor Band is playing a free show in The Lobby Lounge at the Shangri La Hotel at 8 p.m. Julian Taylor is an accomplished artist and frankly, I’m surprised he isn’t more well known. He has released seven albums, has ten top-40 hits and has played over 2000 live shows in the last decade. He and his band put on electrifying live shows that kick it on all levels. He can sing, man can he sing, and is backed by a group of stellar musicians. He also writes hooky songs with great riffs, and did I mention he’s a total babe?

Meredith Shaw is playing at midnight on Wednesday at C’est What. Her song “Hardest Goodbye” was chosen as CBC’s song of the week in March and she’s had a couple tunes from her latest release (also Hardest Goodbye) featured on CBC Radio 2 over the last several months. She’s creating some serious buzz, so come check out what she’s all about.

There are several interesting acts featured on Thursday. Megafauna, a group from Austin, Texas, are playing at 9 p.m. at the Bovine Sex Club. They’re here promoting their recent release, Maximalist, an album that aims to unabashedly bring their supercharged music to the greatest heights. They’re hella hooky songs also boast rhythmic shifts, syncopation and fuse musical styles into something unique that could fall somewhere under the category of rock. They’re innovative and in a sea of hundreds of bands and acts this week, we need that.

Flash Lightnin’ is also playing Thursday, at The Dakota Tavern at 11 p.m. Their brand of gritty rock is just awesome. Recently back from touring with ZZ Top, they just released their album For the Sinners, so grab a beer and check them out. Seriously. They know how to rock.

Le Trouble are playing twice this week, once on Thursday at 11 p.m. at The Hideout, and again on Friday at Handlebar at midnight. Their music is a blast of punk energy with power-pop melodies and danceability. The pianist in me grins delightfully that they have keyboards. They’ll also be playing in Montreal at Osheaga (August 1-3).

Also on Friday, Robyn Dell’Unto and Donovan Woods are both playing at The Vault at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m., respectively. Dell’Unto has released two records of sweet and touching pop songs, and is backed by some truly amazing musicians. Juno nominee Donovan Woods is a character. His songs are not only catchy, but also clever and often hilarious. He has this awkwardness on stage that is irresistibly charming. If you enjoy acoustic music and singer-songwriters, you won’t want to miss this night.

Papillon, out of Montreal, plays three times this week; at midnight on Thursday at Cherry Cola’s, at 2 a.m. Friday at the Dakota Tavern and at 10 p.m. on Saturday at the Bovine Sex Club. They’re a fun, energetic rock band and I’m glad they’re bringing some Montreal flare this week.

Also on Saturday, Oh Susanna and the Dinner Belles are playing at 11 p.m. and midnight as part of the Sonic Unyon showcase at Cherry Cola’s. Oh Susanna is a narrative songwriter whose expressive voice carries you into a dreamworld created within her songs. She has been touring regularly since releasing her sixth album Soon the Birds in 2011, and most recently headed to the Yukon with Justin Rutledge and Kim Beggs. She has a lovely voice and is an enchanting performer. The Dinner Belles are an endearing group of acoustic musicians with a southern sound and beautiful harmonies. With roots, country and folk influences, it’s no surprise that the band typically rehearse, write and even perform in a barn filled with antiques and other unusual items. I dare you not to tap your toes along with their music.

Yes, indeed! There is much to keep busy with this week. Look out for show reviews coming soon.

Roaming for art all night is great. But how will you stay energized?

nuit-2A blizzard of delicious detours are on offer to keep you boozed up and well fed from 7 pm to 7 am. From free beer and ice cream samples to chocolate fountains, tartars and pirate rums, we’ve paired culinary events with reliable restos to keep you covered all along your Nuit Blanche route.

In no order whatsoever (because Nuit Blanche is all about spontaneity), here are 29 eatable, drinkable temptations to drop into your itinerary:

1) Heading out from the Plateau just before 7 p.m.? Perfect timing. Grab a quick espresso at Flocon first before they close.

2) Try smoked meat or Belgian waffles in the thick of the chaos at Place des Arts. Too boring? What about Haïtian pork, empanadas or maple delights? Same location.

3) Skate the night away: the gloriously-located Éspace La Fontaine is offering mulled wine and an impromptu menu overlooking the skating rink at Parc Lafontaine.

4) While you’re nearby, stop at historic La Banquise for a kamikaze poutine (merguez, hot peppers & Tabasco).

5) Just down the street at La Quincaillerie you can play games while you drink notable house cocktails such as Boulon (vodka/chambord/cranberry/pineapple)

6) Oh, Musée des Beaux-Arts, you’re getting more down to earth each year! This year our beloved MBAM is offering beer tasting alongside a chocolate fountain.What could be a better combo?

7) Make fanzines & get free hot drinks at Geordie’s Espace 4001. 4001 Berri.

8) Grab free sorbet à la pig roast at Les Givrés—all while playing free games!


9) Obtain a free coffee from McDonalds at Guy & Ste-Catherine after checking out the nifty FOFA Gallery show at Concordia

10) Gnaw on killer sandwiches from Zoe’s Food Truck at Parc Olympique

11) Still at the Parc, try La fameuse poutine (winner of the Drummondville Poutine Fest) at Lucky’s food truck, or nibble on other street eats from the six other food trucks stationed

12) What Would Alexandre Despaties Do? Who knows. But you can learn what he likes to eat and keep the Olympic spirit alive with Saveurs Olympiques, a cross-pollination of chefs and athletes at Vertige. Warning: expensive tapas.

13) Slurp up some squid ink spaghetti at the always-solid Venti before dub-stepping the night away at PHI Centre

14) Try free beers and commemorate an old Montréal business (the now-defunct Dow Brewery) at ETS

15) Arrrrrr! Six pirate rums are on offer at Cabaret du Roy. Try all of ‘em for the reasonable price of $30 (pace yourself)

map16) Grab free food samples from Rue St-Denis merchants until 12 a.m. between Marie-Anne and Mt-Royal (oh, free ice sculptures too: no licking the transparent animals).

17) Steal some value: curry & BYO-wine. Take a 9 p.m. Plateau break at La Belle Thailandaise.

18) Fill your stomach with all night poutine at La Fameux (24 hours, one of my favourites). My tip:  pair it with their copious Greek salad (best kept secret in town). 4500 St-Denis.

19) Pause for a trio of tartares at Hachoir

20) Go for a brain freeze with a quick ice cream at Crémerie Meu Meu. 4458 St-Denis.

21) What? You’re STILL on St-Denis near Mont-Royal? Re-energize your subconscious mind at Bily Kun with real absinthe. Pair it with a plate of cornichons and olives. Backup choice: Kun’s amazing Slivovice plum brandy

22) Eat oysters with tangerine jelly and dulse (joyous) at illustrious Au Cinquème Péché. Pair it with wine using this handy illustration.

23) Amuse your bouche at Le Sensorium’s performance work on phosphorous.

Gardy Fury - Restaurant Le Chasseur -  ©Frédérique Ménard-Aubin via Flickr
Gardy Fury – Restaurant Le Chasseur – ©Frédérique Ménard-Aubin via Flickr

24) Kick back with friends over a friendly pitcher at Auprès de ma blonde. 3845 St-Denis.

25) Drink microbrews while answering tough questions at Quiz night at Randolph Pub Ludique.

26) Taste the south-west! A personal fave: the Centre Culturel Georges Vanier is featuring Itsi Bitsi cupcakes, Burgungy Lion & Drinkerie booze and more alongside music, games and light installations.

27) Drink and learn from serious gamers at La Recreation as part of the Montréal Joue festival

28) Indulge your sweet-tooth with cupcakes & macaroons in the plastic Provigo dome at Place des arts.

29) Consume hot drinks, sweets and yoga for a voluntary contribution at Vert Prana yoga studio

Found your own tasty stop? Let us know: @forgetthebox

While Montreal may not come close to rivaling the level of fanaticism many European and Latin American cities display toward their soccer teams, there are definitely many devoted enthusiasts of the beautiful game among us. For the first time in North America, an effort is being made to bring them all together. Pitch Fest, Montreal’s newest festival, aims to connect hardcore and casual fans alike through film, visual arts, and music all in celebration of the game of soccer.

Paul Desbaillets, one of the founders of the festival and an avid soccer fan, said the time is ripe for this kind of festival to exist here and he hopes the idea of a soccer-themed festival will spread to other North American cities. Soccer as a cultural phenomenon is becoming very prevalent here, he said, but we don’t really have as much of an outlet for it as other parts of the world.

In a way, the cultural aspect of the game is the true focus of Pitch. It seems as though Desbaillets and his fellow founders really sought to make this a celebration of the fans rather than of the players of the sport. Soccer players are idolized the world over so it’s refreshing to see the focus shifted to soccer’s legions of supporters.

Desbaillets said it was important to not make this just a film festival, but to include other forms of art as well. Photography by Jeremy Patterson, art installation by Alan Ganev, painting by Ruben Ramonda, and visual art by street artist Stikki Peaches, as well as DJ showcases presented by MEG are some of the non-film components of the festival. Desbaillets said all the artwork presented in the festival (all of which are for sale) were specially created for this year’s edition of Pitch.

Additionally, organizers have made a great effort to showcase the cultural phenomenon of soccer from as many viewpoints as possible. Ladies’ Turn, which premiered in North America at the festival, tells of the difficulties Senegalese female soccer players face; Casuals explores the development of a youth fashion movement among UK soccer fans in the 80s. 11 Metri is the story of Agostino Di Bartolomei, legendary captain of Italy’s Roma team who took his own life with a gunshot to the heart.

TRAILER “LADIES’ TURN” – Un film d’Hélène Harder from WENDIGO FILMS on Vimeo.

In a city with as much multicultural diversity as Montreal, it can be difficult to unite soccer fans whose loyalties are fragmented and lie with so many different teams. This festival may prove the one occasion per year when every soccer fan, no matter their allegiance, can share the love of their favourite sport under one banner.

Pitch Fest runs from December 5 to December 7. For a full schedule, see their website.

When I think about what I want in a show, the first thing that comes to mind is stage presence. The performers have to want to be there (or at least act like it), otherwise I won’t either. If they’re not having fun, I’m not having fun. That being said, I had so much fun at M for Montreal.

Photo: Ellie Pritts | M Pour MontrealThe first band I saw was Midland, Ontario’s Born Ruffians. The set was short, but it was full of energy. To be honest, I’m getting bored of the whole “perfectly polished, four-piece indie rock band” thing, but Born Ruffians is a breath of fresh air.  Luke LaLonde’s unique vocals are what attracted me to the band in the first place, and seeing him onstage belting them out was so satisfying. The band looks like they’re there because they love playing music, and that’s it. Its fun and refreshing, and they play in Montreal often, so go see them!

macdemarco_0My M for Montreal journey also brought me to Club Soda on Saturday for Mac DeMarco. As I expected, it was absolutely insane (in the best way possible, of course). From stage dives to making out with half-naked boys onstage, Mac DeMarco came ready to have a good time. The whole thing felt like a house party, which is hard to achieve in a sold-out venue as spacious as Club Soda. The best thing about the show was the fact that his antics, as well as those of his band, never seemed staged. Just like Born Ruffians, they were up there for the sake of having fun, they just have a more extreme way of doing it.

macdemarco3_0I guess the moral of the story is be cool and I’ll think you’re cool. Or, to put it more eloquently, have fun, whatever you do. It makes all the difference.

Photos by Ellie Pritts and Maximillian G. San Juan for M for Montreal

M for Montreal starts this Wednesday and with four days worth of concerts, panel discussions and workshops, it’s the usual overload of stuff to see and do. Here’s our list of top musical acts to see at this year’s festival.


Yamantaka // Sonic Titan @ La Sala Rossa

When: 9 p.m.

Where: 4848 Saint-Laurent

How much: $18


Born Ruffians + Odonis Odonis @ La Sala Rossa

When: 9:30 p.m.

Where: 4848 Saint-Laurent

How much: $18

A Tribe Called Red + Tommy Kruise @ S.A.T.

When: 10 p.m.

Where: 1201 Saint-Laurent

How much: $18


Apigeon + How Sad + Boats + Seb Black @ TRH Bar

When: 8:30 p.m.

Where: 3699 Saint-Laurent

How much: $10

Grand Analog + Cadence Weapon (DJ set) @ Divan Orange

When: Midnight

Where: 4234 Saint-Laurent

How much: $12

Duchess Says + We Are Wolves + Solids @ Cabaret Underworld

When: 10 p.m.

Where: 1403 Sainte-Elizabeth

How much: $15

Kandle + Pawa Up First @ Nomad

When: 10 p.m.

Where: 129 Van Horne

How much: $15


Franco M: Ponctuation + Dead Obies @ Café Campus

When: 2:15 p.m.

Where: 57 Prince-Arthur

How much: $14

Young Galaxy + Miracle Fortress + Valleys & Purity Ring (DJ set) @ S.A.T.

When: 9 p.m.

Where: 1201 Saint-Laurent

How much: $15 (includes entry to afterparty w/ Purity Ring)

Further information can be found on the M for Montreal website. You can also download their app for iOS or Android.

Photo by Alex Bédard for M for Montreal. 

This year, Montreal further solidified its reputation as one of the most important music cities in the world. Our position as one of the great music capitals has never been in dispute, but we were missing something that other cities with major music scenes had: a psychedelic music festival.

Montreal Psych Fest founders John W. Stuart and David Lines were thinking along these lines when they decided to put together a festival that celebrates psychedelic music in all its forms. However, it seems somebody else had beat them to it.

“I got an email from Tasha Class, who had put on a festival last year, and was like ‘Hey, what are you doing? I thought I was doing Psych Fest?’ So we all teamed up and moved forward with it,” said Stuart.

This year’s festival was built upon Class’ one-night event last year and has grown to include over 20 local acts over a span of four days. The team already has plans to expand for next year’s edition by organizing psych-themed events throughout the year. Like Psych & Draw, an event that encourages participants to trip out their sketchbooks while listening to a selection of psychedelic music.

With the current resurgence of psychedelic music, the festival can only get bigger.

“[Psychedelic music] has always been present in the scene here but it sort of morphed and changed over the years,” Stuart said. “There is a really big resurgence with all the bands playing the festival, but also on a higher level with bands like The Besnard Lakes, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan and Elephant Stone. All these bands are doing quite well and they all have an element of psychedelia in their music.”

The key word here is element. In accordance with the traditionally open nature of the psychedelic movement, Stuart says that you don’t have to sound like The 13th Floor Elevators to be included in Montreal Psych Fest. This is clear when you look at this year’s lineup, which includes bands that incorporate an array of genres, sounds and instruments in their music.

One thing you can expect from every band is a far-out sensory experience. The best way to approach this is to give your mind up to the music and enjoy the trip. In the immortal words of Timothy Leary: Turn on, tune in and drop out.

Here’s a small selection of bands playing the Montreal Psych Fest:

Melted Faces – The Dhalias + Melted Faces + El Napoleon + Femme Accident
October 11, 3:15 a.m. @ TBA 

This band is what happens when you blend traditional, 60s-influenced psychedelic rock with garage and punk. The result is delightfully dissonant and decidedly danceable.

El Napoleon
October 11, 3:45 a.m. @ TBA

One-man solo project El Napoleon also has a heavy emphasis on garage-y, punk sounds. There are some unconventional surprises here as well, like the inclusion of a sitar.

Atsuko Chiba – The Hazelles + UUBBUURRUU + Atsuko Chiba + Psyche Tongues
October 12, midnight @ L’Escogriffe (7275 Sherbrooke e.)

This experimental 5-piece instrumental band blends elements of psychedelic, post-rock, metal and post-punk to create an otherworldly sound reminiscent of bands like Russian Circles, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion (watch this space for an upcoming interview with the band!).

Syngja – Will Eizlini + Hellenica + Syngja
October 13, 9 p.m. @ Le Cagibi (5490 boul. Saint-Laurent)

Inspired by Icelandic folk music, Syngja weaves electronic and analog elements into their dreamy psychedelic pop to really make you feel like you’re in an enchanted forest somewhere far away.

Montreal Psych Fest runs from October 10-13. For more info on the lineup, see their MontrealPsychFest.com

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.

Photos by Susan Moss for POP Montreal

This year, POP Montreal boasts over 300 bands covering the entire spectrum of musical genres. The heavier genres often get ignored and are usually vastly underrepresented at music festivals of this scale. But fans of metal, punk and other forms of heavy music can find plenty of acts to suit their tastes.

BEARMACE – BEARMACE + Koko + Petty Sweat + GODS + Caves
Sep. 27, 9 p.m. @ Barfly


This Montreal band’s sound is made up of drop-tuned, chunky bass riffs reminiscent of 90s punk. BEARMACE are thrashy but melodic enough to keep things interesting.

El Salvador – El Salvador + Kurvi Tasch + Girls In Uniform + No Magic + Charlotte Day Wilson
Sep. 25, 8 p.m. @ Casa del Popolo


If you’re looking for some truly bizarre shit, this one’s for you. Lots of bands get labeled as experimental but these guys put most of them to shame. Like good drugs that sometimes turn on you, El Salvador’s music will take you for a ride. Good trip or bad, it’s the experience that matters in the end.

The BCASA – The BCASA + Loose Pistons + Adam Strangler + Wilderling
Sep. 25, 9:30 p.m. @ O Patro Vys


If you like your punk rock obnoxious and slightly juvenile, this is great stuff. Twangy guitars and vocals reminiscent of early NOFX. Wondering about the weird abbreviated name? They used to be called The Bill Cosby Anarchist Society of America. But you know, legal stuff.

Portugal. The Man – Portugal. The Man + How Sad :: SOLD OUT ::
Sep. 26, 9 p.m. @ Theatre Corona Virgin Mobile


This band doesn’t need any more attention than they already have (besides, the show is sold out) but this list would absolutely not be complete without them.

METZ – METZ + CRABE + Fist City + Evan Dubinsky (DJ set)
Sep. 29, 11 p.m. @ Église POP Little Burgundy :: Salle Little Burgundy

The best of the fests closes with an appropriately noisy punk rock party courtesy of these Toronto natives. Stop crying over Portugal. The Man being sold out and console yourself with METZ.

Honourable mentions: CRABE, Ponctuation, Crosss, Jesuslesfilles

These acts have had their share of hype this year. But buzz is not a bad word when it comes to these highly acclaimed must-see musical acts at this year’s POP Montreal.

BRAIDS – Q with Jian Ghomeshi + BRAIDS + Patrick Watson
Sep. 26, 7 p.m. @ L’Olympia


Acclaimed Montreal-based band Braids released their first album Native Speaker in early 2011 and I pretty much haven’t stopped listening to it since. Lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice is mesmerizing, especially when combined with the dream-like melodies the band is known for. Their second album Flourish//Perish was released in August. It has a more introspective, mature feel as opposed to the sort of in-your-face lyrics and melodies of Native Speaker, but the music is as captivating as ever and I can’t wait to see it brought to life on stage.


Mozart’s Sister – The-Dream + Mozart’s Sister + Team Rockit
Sep. 27, 8 p.m. @ L’Olympia


When I first saw Mozart’s Sister live two years ago, I knew nothing about her. That quickly changed. Her energetic electro-pop songs combined with her fun and engaging personality won me over instantly. Her song “Single Status” from 2011’s Dear Fear has become my go-to song when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need a strong boost of energy. I’ve seen her twice again since that first time and I can guarantee that if you’re not a fan now, you will be by the end of the show.


Local Natives – Local Natives + Wild Nothing + Seoul
Sep. 27, 8 p.m. @ Metropolis :: Salle Dose.ca


Local Natives are a four-piece indie rock band from Los Angeles, California. Their second album Hummingbird was released in January 2013. It is a lot more dark and emotionally-charged than their first album, Gorilla Manor, from 2009. This could be in part due to the departure of their bass guitarist Andy Hamm between the two albums. It is clear that the remaining members have grown and the things they experienced in the years between albums are reflected in them.

POP Montreal is back in full force for its twelfth edition. On my end, I’ve not recovered from the summer of festivals yet – and neither has my wallet. This year, I’m going to shows that I know for sure I’ll love, as well as those few artists that have managed to get my adventurous nature to rise up from its lingering hangover. Hair of the dog it is and off to what will surely be another magnetic auditory POP Montreal experience.

A K U A – Michael Rault + A K U A + Milk Lines + Pierre Kwenders + Nom de Plume (DJ Set)
Sep. 28, 9:30 p.m. @ Divan Orange :: Salle CISM 


Mining the artists section of the POP website, I came upon A K U A’s tunes and was intrigued. Although the music video doesn’t do it for me, the tracks found on A K U A’s site promise something decidedly rich and textural. A K U A is a newcomer to the music scene in some respects but she’s already opened for names like Solange and Katy B and performed at an impressive number of music festivals already. A K U A’s tunes are compelling soundscapes that come to life with her raw, soulful vocals. She is my pick for new artist to explore (for those on a tight budget) for this POP edition.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6368230″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Les Soeurs Boulay – Les Soeurs Boulay + Michael Feuerstack + Safia Nolin
Sep. 29, 7:00 p.m. @ Studio Breakglass présenté par SiriusXM


Folk music plucks my heart strings – that’s the kind of music that plays the most often in my nest. I’m glad to see Les Soeurs Boulay as part of the POP Montreal line up. Their soft-spoken poetic story songs fill hearts with wonder, nostalgia, and musical hugs. These two sisters from Gaspésie recorded their first EP in 2012 and have already captured the attention of the province and beyond receiving the prize for New Artist with the Most Potential at the GAMIQ (Gala alternatif de la musique indépendante du Québec). Full disclosure: writing this blurb, I couldn’t help myself and bought their first album, Le poids des confettis, and am now happily eating my chicken soup wrapped in a blanket listening to lovely harmonies renewing my love of the French language. Favourite tracks: ‘Ôte-moi mon linge’, ‘Cul de sac’, and ‘Par le chignon du cou.’

The This Many Boyfriends Club –
Dent May + Dead Gaze + She Divides + The This Many Boyfriends Club
Sep. 28, 8:00 p.m. @ Cagibi

Speaking of warming one’s heart, The This Many Boyfriends Club is a local band which I had the pleasure of interviewing about a year ago. They describe their music as “torture-pop, dandy-punk, frock ‘n’ roll, and heavy petal”. There’s also some twee in the mix. These pals have been working hard on a new album, Die or Get Rich Trying, recorded through CJLO’s artist in residency program and to be released this month. The This Many Boyfriends Club is the kind of band that I find myself the most interested in in terms of music journalism. There is a raw love of music, a DIY spirit, and a community-building ethos to what they do. I totally dig that. Plus, their rhythm section fucking rocks.

How Sad – Portugal. The Man + How Sad :: SOLD OUT
Sep. 26, 9:00 p.m. @ Théâtre Corona Virgin Mobile


I recently interviewed How Sad for their EP Launch show, which was a total blast. Indian Summer is a five song EP that weaves together sadness and happiness using synth pop melodies, bummed out lyrics, and catchy hooks skillfully. Having soaked up sunlight listening to previously released tracks, new anthem ‘Hot Blur’ took me by surprise and had me spontaneously breaking into my best awkward dance moves. There’s something undeniably tongue-in-cheek about Indian Summer. Put on your dancing shoes, grab some friends, and get ready for a memorable night indeed.


Moonface – Moonface + Caroline Keating
Sep. 29, 8:30 p.m. @ Ukrainian Federation :: Salle St. Ambroise


I just recently heard about Moonface from Josh Séguin of Two-Year Carnival. Yeah, I know, I’m behind the times (I got lost in my old Keaton Henson albums for a while there). Now that I’ve been initiated to Spencer Krug’s solo piano project, I’m beyond stoked to see that Moonface is playing this year’s POP Montreal. Even more so now that I know that Caroline Keating is opening. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Keaton a couple times over the last few years. Over the years, her songs have become a fixture of the soundtrack to Montreal’s passing seasons. This line up is this piano-driven song lover’s dream come true. Most likely it will be yours too.

Honorable Mentions: Cinéma L’Amour, Braids, DJ Noah Bick, Emma Frank Quartet, Corinna Rose, Sarah Jane Scouten and SUUNS

The closer I get to 30, the more I realize I suck. Bars, shows, social gatherings of any kind – I loathe them all. But what I’ve grown to hate most is music festivals. I look back on the days of chugging early morning 40s of Sangrila in anticipation of a day full of mosh pits and outdoor shitters, and I’m truly repulsed. The dirt I’d accumulate under my fingernails and in my nose was a sign of a day well spent. I think I’d rather get trapped in a garbage truck than experience any of that ever again.

ZAC_6519Yeah, I’m a cynic. I’m a baby. I’m no fun at all. Well, prepare to eat your words for just last weekend, I attended Heavy MTL. I’m not sure what convinced me to go. Perhaps it was the possibility of finally seeing one of my favorite weirdos, Rob Zombie, in the flesh. Perhaps it was the thought of enjoying Mastodon live again. Or maybe it was the media pass. OK, it was the media pass.

Aside from getting in for free, I didn’t know what the pass entailed. I checked in, got my bracelet and walked around the grounds. The crowd did not disappoint. Freaks, total babes and men with ponytails mingled together to form a fun, welcoming atmosphere. It didn’t seem like people were trying to one-up each other with their fashionable clothing or offensive headdresses. On that note, suck it, Osheaga.

Many of you no doubt know this but the location itself has very little grass. It’s made up of dirt, Porta Potties, some food stands and trucks, and countless hot dog wrappers flying around in the wind. Pretty simple, definitely nothing fancy. Those who spend lots of time by either stage inevitably get caked in crud. Those who prefer to watch the show from the adjacent hill sit on their sweatshirts or blankets for minimal comfort.

I was told I was allowed to go backstage so obviously, I headed over there almost immediately. Let me just say, it was so luxurious that I momentarily forgot where I was. They have wicker furniture back there, guys. With cushions! I’m talking sectional outdoor couches right by the water, with really big umbrellas in case you need a break from tanning. I bought a rum and coke in a tall can because apparently that exists and I lounged. I lounged my fucking ass off.

When I had to pee, I didn’t experience the line-ups you regular people do. I walked on the nice, green turf, around all the potted plants and flowers, and marched into a bathroom with toilets that flushed. Well, they sort of flushed. They flushed enough to impress me.

When I ate my turkey burger, I made crumbs like I always do because I’m a disgusting pig. But guess what? A guy came over right away and wiped my crumbs off the cushions. There was a designated crumb cleaner.

Rob Zombie-001The whole thing made for an almost bizarre juxtaposition. Fans who paid good money for the festival are having the time of their lives in what is essentially a shithole, and the people who got in for free are chilling, paying zero attention to the big screen broadcasting whomever is on stage. To make it even stranger, when Rob Zombie’s set ended, I went backstage again for one final beer and there was a DJ spinning house music. It made me uncomfortable.

The over the top contrast felt kind of surreal. Maybe I’m exaggerating; it’s not like Danzig walked out and started petting and feeding kitty cats. It’s not like Phil Anselmo was scolding someone for calling out his fart. Still, it’s interesting to see how the festival is enjoyed in two completely separate ways.

Photos by Chris Zacchia

Full Album here

heavy mtl signOne of the heaviest music festivals in North America happened last weekend. Mike Gwilliam and Dawn McSweeney offer their impressions of some of the acts they caught on Saturday’s edition of Heavy MTL.

Mike Gwilliam: Heavy MTL is, in my opinion, one of the best heavy metal festivals in North America and possibly the best in Canada. People from all over the world attend and with good reason. The two-day lineups have been rock solid since the festival’s birth in 2008. While this year’s line-up was criticized by many as being inferior to the previous year’s (System of a Down, Manson, Slipknot, Deftones, Killswitch Engage) the festival has stated on its Facebook page that it simply tries to get the heaviest music it can without sticking to a single genre or sub-genre of the grand entity known simply as Heavy Metal. And with that said, it didn’t disappoint.

Credo: If you see someone down, help them up.


Dawn McSweeney: All I remember is our group deciding in unison that they sucked.

MG: If you’re a fan of Disturbed, you should like Device. I had seen Disturbed live before, but David Draiman, for some reason, just lacks energy here. Sad considering he can be a very powerful and clean vocalist.


DM: These guys rocked. Great crowd interaction, charisma, energy, toe tapping goodness. I plan to hear more of these guys on purpose.

MG: I was bored during this. I got more hell out of Gwar. This was more like heck.


DM: I hate it when people get a chance in the spotlight only to prove the cliché. I was disappointed that the one chick on stage on Saturday was off key, crummy, and singing about how she “gets off on you getting on off me.” Ick. People started chanting for GWAR.

MG: I love female vocalists in bands. Doesn’t matter if it’s In This Moment, Arch Enemy or Hanzel Und Gretyl. I love female vocalists. Halestorm impressed me. Lzzy Hale’s legs were more exciting than Obey the Brave.



DM: Holy shit. I was looking forward to the spectacle, and I underestimated what I was in for. Costumes, staged assassinations, bloodbath and uh, other simulated fluids. With all that, they could’ve easily let the music fall by the wayside, but they didn’t. Theatrical, talented, worth it. I’d see them again.

MG: This was great live. Had a lot of fun watching them. I don’t think you could ever be a fan of metal and dislike watching Hitler get torn to shreds followed by Jesus being crucified with “blood” squirting all over people up front. Awesome stuff. Would love to see the reaction these guys would get if they were to bring out an Osama Bin Laden, George Bush, Justin Bieber, Prophet Muhammad or Pauline Marois in future performances. Great music too.


DM: Chill, melodic metal. Who knew.


DM: I was hoping they’d be fun and funny, and they were neither. Plus, they sucked musically. Oh, and they think it’s funny to call stuff gay, and they did a song about screwing 17 chicks in a row. And they did about 5 pointless minutes on their love of pussy. Fun fact: our group seemed oddly divided along GWAR/Steel Panther lines. I’m a GWAR girl.

MG: This was probably the most hilarious band I’ve ever seen. Steel Panther is not meant to be taken seriously. That’s why they have a song called Asian Hooker. And they even ask the audience “who likes Asian hookers?” They made fun of themselves and audience members. Talking about how big the metal scene is and then saying “look, there’s even a black guy in the audience.” You don’t go to a metal show expecting political correctness. Death to all but metal.


DM: My vote for tightest, most professional show of the day. It truly felt like Their Show rather than a short set in a mega show. I was so impressed, I Googled them on the spot, realized it’s Zakk Wylde’s band. I remained impressed, but stopped being surprised.

MG: Didn’t care for them. Went to get food. Some girl in line ordered 5 hotdogs and stuffed them into her purse. Hero.


DM: I remember them playing; they left no impression.

MG: Love Swedish metal. These guys were great. Would see them again. At The Gates were probably the most impressive band I heard at Heavy MTL. Their hard rock sound was a much needed change from the heavier droning sounds from earlier in the afternoon.


newstead heavy mtl

DM: Fronted by Jason Newsted, ex-Metallica bassist, I really dug this one. Best bass, and sexiest metal of the day. I want to hear more.


DM: What a nice bunch of dudes! They genuinely thanked the crowd for being there, acknowledging that they were playing against Danzig, and they seemed legit flattered at the turnout they got. Great energy and showmanship.


MG: What’s with these scene-core like bands who are only slightly better than Brokencyde? I’d honestly would have loved Heavy MTL to just give Steel Panther more time or someone else instead of this group. The fact they got as long as they did was silly. The sound didn’t seem right either. If these guys are bad on CD then they’re even worse live.



DM: With 42 bands playing over the weekend, and some notable folks including Ozzy’s old guitarist, it seems pretty pompous to be the one band who needed press to sign an additional photo waiver. But Megadeth did it because, well, Dave Mustaine thinks he’s special. I hoped his arrogance wouldn’t affect the performance, but between songs they played movie clips that referenced the band. It was tacky and uninspired. I was disappointed. My Official Music Man, who’s seen them 11 times now, rates this in their bottom 3 performances.

MG: I’m not a Megadeth fan, but I thought this was a good performance and should have headlined over Avenged Sevenfold. I was amused when they took shots at Avenged’s basstech. Overall, they were good. Surprised they didn’t close with “Symphony of Destruction,” but good set, good energy, and a good show.


DM: Best thing I can say about them is that their guitarist rocks and deserves a better band. The young ’uns and the girls seem to love ’em. We couldn’t bear it and bounced early.

* Photos by Jerry Gabriel and Dawn McSweeney, for more, check out the Facebook Album

Everyone knows Montreal has no shortage of music festivals. But there is a real lack of focus on the local music scene. Enter Passovah Productions and their annual Passovah Summer Music Festival.

This year is the second edition of the new festival and it has already established itself as a vital one among Montreal’s various cultural happenings during the summer season. Its inaugural edition featured 24 local acts spread out over two nights. This year’s edition has doubled in size with over 50 local acts. They’ve also added an extra night of shows as well as daytime shows on Saturday and Sunday.

The festival’s success and great potential for further growth can be attributed to a few factors.

“The fact that it’s all local is a big thing,” said Passovah’s creative director and co-founder Noah Bick. “The fact that it’s pay-what-you-can and the fact that we have short sets, those are three things that set it apart from other festivals.”

The PWYC model is one that is gaining in popularity in the local music scene. Bick and many others agree that this is a very effective way of promoting local talent and exposing less well known acts to a broader audience.

“It’s a good way of making sure that whoever wants to come to the concert is going to come and cost is not going to stop them,” he said. “I think a lot of artists would rather have 100 people in the room, 50 of which have paid, than 50 people in the room.”

Another thing to consider is that if you’re paying less to get into a show to see a band, you’ll be more willing to spend that money elsewhere on their music or merch available at the show.

Aside from the fact that the musical acts featured in the festival lineup are all local, there is nothing that they all have in common. The lineup is an eclectic collection of genres and styles that exemplifies the wide range of talent that Montreal’s thriving music scene has to offer.

“A lot of these bands are either people that I’m friends with or people whose music I’ve really gotten into and I’m just so glad that Passovah’s organically grown into this way of helping local artists do their thing,” Bick said. “The different ways in which some of these bands have gotten on the bill is really cool and inspiring.”

The following is a small taste of some of the acts performing in the festival, which runs from Friday, August 9 to Sunday, August 11. For a complete list, consult the Passovah Summer Music Festival’s website.

SALTLAND / Friday, August 9 at Il Motore.


FRAGILE FEET / Friday, August 9 at Il Motore




WAKE ISLAND / Saturday, August 10 at Il Motore


SPECIAL NOISE / Saturday, August 10 at Il Motore

Special Noise1

PIGEON PHAT / Saturday, August 10 at Il Motore

*Photo by POP Montreal

MIRACLE FORTRESS / Sunday, August 11 at Il Motore


CINEMA L’AMOUR / Sunday, August 11 at Il Motore


ISLE OF PINE / Sunday, August 11 at 185 Van Horne




Formed in January 2012, this Canadian band boasts former members of established metalcore acts Despised Icon and Blind Witness. Their debut album Young Blood displays a no-frills, straightforward approach in a genre that is flooded with bands trying to do too many fancy things. Simple and unpretentious but packs a mean punch.

Obey The Brave play Saturday, August 10 at 1 p.m. on the Molson Canadian stage. 



This is a good example of a band doing lots of fancy things but in a well-executed manner. Their 6th release to date, Elite, was released earlier this year. It features rapidly changing tempos and a machine-gun stop-and-go style built on solid melodies.

Within The Ruins play Saturday, August 10 at 2 p.m. on the Galaxie stage. 



Yes, this is the legendary NYC hardcore band. Many of the bands playing Heavy MTL owe it all to these pioneers of heavy music. Although they celebrated their 25th anniversary as a band in 2011, Sick Of It All show no signs of slowing down and are working on a new record, no release date as of yet.

Sick Of It All play Saturday, August 10 at 3:30 p.m. on the Jägermeister stage. 



This is dark, relentless deathcore at its most frightening. The members of this band do not eat food and breathe air to stay alive like the rest of us. They sustain themselves on pure rage and aggression. Possibly the most violent pit you’ll see all day.

Oceano play Saturday, August 10 at 5 p.m. on the Galaxie stage. 



They beat out over 200 applicants and 20 qualifiers for one of two winning spots at this year’s En route vers Heavy MTL, a battle of the bands that takes place over several months leading up to the festival. They effortlessly blend the traditional heavy riffs and fast drumming with electronic elements reminiscent of bands like Between the Buried and Me.

Of Temples play Sunday, August 11 at 1 p.m. on the Galaxie stage. 



This Finnish band’s music immediately makes me think of Taco Bell’s Fries Supreme: excessive, unnecessary, drowning in cheese but comforting and irresistible in its own special way.

Finntroll play Sunday, August 11 at 2:30 p.m. on the Molson Canadian stage. 



There is nothing to say about Mastodon that hasn’t already been said. They are one of the most original bands making heavy music today. Their music pushes boundaries not only in terms of playing style but also in their wacky lyrical concepts and mind-bending album art. Their live shows are a total-body experience incorporating all the senses.

Mastodon play Sunday, August 11 at 7:15 p.m. on the Molson Canadian stage.



The Ontario band released their first album not even a year ago but there’s already an international buzz around them. They are signed to Sargent House, home of Rodriguez Lopez Productions and bands like Boris, Fang Island, and Russian Circles. Indian Handcrafts are spacey, sludgey garage rock mixed with operatic, screechy guitars and a punk flavour reminiscent of Dead Kennedys.

Indian Handcrafts play Sunday, August 11 at 3 p.m. on the Galaxie stage. 

Featured photo by Susan Moss for Heavy MTL. For a complete schedule and ticket info, visit the Heavy MTL website