Montreal’s The Holds are a band inspired by the greats and their local contemporaries. Frontman Ryan Setton cites classic R&B artists like Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder, classic rock acts such as The Animals and Led Zeppelin and  local acts like John Jacob Magistry and The Damn Truth among the band’s influences.

“When we approach what we do,” Setton said in a telephone interview, “we’re influenced by the past but we’re not thinking about it. We’re definitely in the moment of what’s going on now (on the Montreal scene). The result is The Holds.”

Setton feels that the scene that influences them is also one that gives back.

“Montreal’s always been a very supportive scene, a lot of people are supporting the bands,” he said, adding that “it can be tough, though, at the same time because there are a lot of bands. So it can be intimidating sometimes as an artist to find out just where you fit in.”

The Holds is Setton on vocals and guitar, Justin Wiley on drums and percussion, Eric Hein playing lead guitar and André Galamba on bass. That was the same lineup I caught at their EP launch two years ago, shortly after the band’s formation.

“We are lucky enough to have the same lineup for years,” Setton observed, “building chemistry and having a good band chemistry and interaction between the musicians is super important. With the first EP it was more like ‘Hey, let’s do this!’ We didn’t really know where it was going to go. But doing this second record it was clear we’re all on the same page…There’s no confusion as to what direction we’re headed in as a band.”

While The Holds are a band that sticks together, they also tried living together for four days in the country. This was in order to record their first full-length album Juke, featuring songs they had already written over the course of a year and a half.

“We had recorded many times in the city,” Setton remembered, “and at the end day everyone would go home and we’d have to come back in the morning and get back into the flow. That’s why I thought if I get everyone together, we’re in one place, we’re stuck there…and it was totally worth it because it all worked out for the best.”

You can hear for yourself this Saturday when The Holds play live and release Juke. In the meantime, enjoy this video from their first EP:

* The Holds Juke Album Launch with special guests Celina Wolfe and Lea Keeley is Satuday, August 25 at 9pm (doors 8pm) at le Petit Campus, 57 Prince Arthur Est. $10 (includes a dropcard with a download code for the album)

Bonne Saint-Jean à tous et à toutes! That’s right, it’s  that magic week of early summer celebrations where half the province starts packing for their moves and the other half goes out and parties.

If you want advice on moving you’ve come to the wrong place. Here are some suggestions for the half that’s looking to get out of the house and live it up a little.

The Feedbackers + The Holds + Juliana & Jesse

For those who started their St-Jean off last night hopefully you’ve saved a bit of energy for the rest of the weekend because the next couple of days are packed with great shows. One such example is at Sala Rosa tonight where three local acts will be taking to the stage for a very fun, eclectic (and reasonably priced) evening of music.

The event is hosted and headlined by The Feedbackers so expect a hot sweaty evening of rock and roll perfect for the third day of summer. Adding to the mix will be blues based rock ban The Holds (who have already been reviewed by FTB) and acoustic duo Juliana & Jesse who are set to release a new single on Canada Day.

The Feedbackers, The Holds and Juliana & Jesse play Sala Rosa, 4848 St. Laurent, Friday, June 24th, 8:00pm (Doors 7:30pm), tickets $10 ($12 at the door).

Paddle to the Sea + The Magic Hats + Ill Minds + Allison Allison Allison

For those looking for the most cost efficient show of the weekend you should head over to Crobar on Saturday night where you get to see Paddle to the Sea, The Magic Hats, Ill Minds and Allison Allison Allison for the all inclusive price of five dollars! This show has the side benefit that Crobar has one of the nicest rooftop terasses in the downtown area, so in between acts you can go cool off with a nice pint outside on a warm summer night.

Usually I anoint one band the ‘coolest band of the week’, well this time around I’m just going to call this whole evening the ‘coolest show of the week’ which might be quite literally the case if it’s a bit breezy on Saturday night.

Paddle to the Sea, The Magic Hats, Ill Minds and Allison Allison Allison play Crobar, 1221 Crescent, Saturday, June 25th, 8:00pm (Doors 7:00pm), tickets $5 (at the door only).

Steve Gunn & The Outliners + Promised Land Sound + Nathan Bowles

What better way to end your St-Jean weekend then to head on over to La Vitrola on Sunday where you can check out Brooklyn based singer-songwriter Steve Gunn who is on tour right now with Promised Land Sound and Nathan Bowles. This well rounded show should be the perfect vibe for a lazy Sunday night.

Steve Gunn & The Outliners, Promised Land Sound and Nathan Bowles play La Vitrola, 4602 St. Laurent, Sunday, June 26th, 9:00pm (Doors 8:30pm), tickets $12 ($15 at the door) available through lfttckt.

Notre Dame De Grass

Well it’s that time of year again kids, Jazzfest is starting! While the bulk of the previews will be in the upcoming weeks, the first performances start next Wednesday making the opening day of the festival fall within this week’s preview.

It will be interesting to see if we ever get to previewing any actual jazz music and for this week at least the answer is no. This week’s suggestion for the best way to start off your Jazzfesting is with local bluegrass band Notre Dame de Grass.

Aside from their amazing  (and highly accurate) band name, these guys can really play and so for anyone who missed them at this year’s Folk Fest, well here’s your second chance!

Notre Dame De Grass play Jazzfest, Place Heineken (Sainte-Catherine / Bleury), Wednesday, June 29th, 5:00pm and 7:00pm, free.

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 We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

* Featured image of The Feedbackers via Facebook

Montreal band The Holds have already succeeded in bringing the blues to this city’s indie rock scene. Now, following the success of their self-titled EP launch at O Patro Vys, they are set to play Turbo Haus in St-Henri this Saturday, March 12th, but not before releasing a second music video.

While their first video for the song Can’t Go Back featured members of the band in a warehouse setting, their latest foray into the world of music video leaves the band on the audio track playing the song Say You’ll Be Mine. Meanwhile director Helene Ha chooses to focus the visuals on ballerina Anna Sementchouk performing in the middle of a deserted street, or maybe two deserted streets.

While the background is unmistakably Montreal throughout, I’m pretty sure that the first part takes place on the northern edge of McGill Campus while the second part was undeniably shot near the Jacques Cartier Bridge.

Regardless of whether I guessed right about the first part or not, the choice to shoot at night, the dark aesthetic and the way Sementchouk’s dancing mixes with The Holds’ music creates a very enticing tableau. Check it out yourself:

And check out The Holds with openers The Empty Yellers this Saturday at Turbo Haus, 5011 Notre Dame Ouest, 9:30pm, only six bucks!

Sometimes it’s hard to pigeonhole a band’s sound. That’s usually a sign that the band really has something new and interesting to offer. Montreal’s The Holds is one of those bands.

The five-piece hailing from NDG (my old ‘hood) launched their self-titled debut EP Friday at O Patro Vys on Mont-Royal. A download of the EP was included with the price of admission.

Opener Joshua Carey of Po Lazarus kicked things off with a very intimate set. Alone with his guitar and mandolin until the last tune, he welcomed the crowd with some of the Po Lazarus repertoire and even a new original tune, setting the stage perfectly for the explosion that was to follow.

Blues and More

From the moment The Holds took the stage, they were in show mode. The light instrumentation that served as a backdrop as frontman Ryan Setton introduced the show and got the audience to count down from ten gelled into the first song when the countdown was done. From there on it was all energy.

When you listen to The Holds, the first thing that comes to mind is the blues. This musical genre permeates every tune they play, but it’s never alone. Their songs are also rock songs, and quite a few of them are borderline or outright psychedelic, too.

vintage projector

I’m not just saying that because of the live projections done with vintage projectors courtesy of Daniel Oniszeczko that gave the show its visual feel. There’s something trippy in the music, too.

Very Montreal

The band is made up of Setton, Andre Galamba on bass, Eric Hein on guitar, Justin Wiley on drums and Alex Lebel on keyboard. While the presence of keys in a blues rock band, or a psychedelic blues rock band may have you thinking Blues Traveller or The Doors, there is something else at play when it comes to The Holds and it starts with the crowd.

O Patro Vys was packed. Taking a look around the room, I got the feeling that I was at an Indie Rock show, something Montreal is known for. Admittedly, the fact that Dan Moscovitch of First You Get The Sugar produced their EP may have had something to do with that, but there was more to it.

the holds o patro vys 2

From the little card with free download instructions to get the EP to general atmosphere the band created in the room, the event was very tech-aware and very indie. And all this to go along with generally longer blues-infused tunes. A very Montreal experience.

It’s one you should hope to experience for yourself if you missed out last Friday and one the people who were there most likely want to experience again. We have that chance on Saturday, March 12th at Turbo Haus in St-Henri. Until then, you can enjoy The Holds at home or wherever you are by downloading their EP from iTunes via their site You’ll be glad you did.

* Photos by Steve Walsh

Panelists Samantha Gold and Ford Donovan discuss refugees in Canada and elsewhere and common misconceptions about them, the state of the Montreal music scene and some of the greats we lost in the past few weeks including David Bowie and Alan Rickman. Plus an interview with Ryan from the Montreal band The Holds, the Community Calendar and Predictions!

Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau


Samantha Gold: FTB legal columnist and author of For the Culinarily Challenged

Ford Donovan: FTB music columnist

* The Holds interview by Hannah Besseau. Full interview available on FTB now

FTB PODCAST #17: Refugees, Montreal Music Scene, Legends We Lost by Forget The Box on Mixcloud

FTB Podcast also available on iTunes

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

Montreal-based blusey rock band The Holds are launching their self-titled debut EP this Friday. FTB’s Hannah Besseau had a chance to speak with lead singer Ryan Setton and ask him about the upcoming show, the band and making their recent video:

* The Holds launch their at O Patro Vys, 356 Mont-Royal Est, Friday January 29th. Joshua Carey of Po Lazarus opens and the show starts at 9pm.

* For more:

* Featured image by Steve Gerrard.