Hooray! It’s the last week of winter. Time has sprung forward, the clouds are starting to part ways, and even though it’s still cold outside I swear I saw these dudes wearing florescent shorts the other day.

Montreal, as usual, has tons of live shows going on. We made a special effort to fine tune our list for some truly relevant picks that we believe would be of special interest to you, our dear readers. We got pop, we got heavy, we got psychedelic, we got folk, we’ve got the political and more!

Oh and the prices are quite attractive for all the shows, I’d even venture to say that some of these are being had at bargain basement prices. So don’t let some great opportunities pass you by and enjoy our pics of the week!

The Moonlight Club: A Show Not To Be Missed

Montreal’s own The Moonlight Club plays an intimate show Thursday March 15th @ L’Escogriffe to launch their first LP. If you’re in the mood for emotive dreamy music with a hefty dose of 80s new wave hooks, you’ll be kicking yourself for missing this one.

This raw authentic power trio doesn’t play shows that often so you’ll want to jump on this one. We had the pleasure of interviewing the band. You can read it and then head down to l’Esco for an early show.

The Moonlight Club LP Launch is at l”Escogriffe, 4461 St-Denis, Thursday, March 15, 5-8pm, FREE

Earthless: Tight Power Trio With Heavy Grooves And Lots Of Vocals This Time Around

Hailing from San Diego, instrumental band Earthless combines classic & psychedelic rock, modal jazz (think Miles Davis) and krautrock. Don’t get the wrong idea, though, these guys are not stoner rock. In fact, they don’t even smoke pot and would rather opt for a refreshing iced tea.

They’ll be supporting their newly released album, Black Heaven, playing at L’Astral on Thursday March 15th. The band recorded the album in Joshua Tree, California, with Eagles of Death Metal’s Dave Catching producing.

Although Earthless has been mainly an instrumental band, this is the first album where the majority of the songs have vocals. If you are into bands like Rocket From The Crypt, Nebula, Hot Snakes, you’ll want to see these guys play live.

Oh, and the new vocals sound fantastic. Here’s a sample:

At $24.75, attending this concert is a real steal.

Earthless with Kikagaku Moyo and Jjuujjuu perform at L’Astral, 305 Ste-Catherine Ouest, Thursday, March 15, 8pm. Tickets available through Evenko

Beth Ditto: Outspoken Singer Graces The Stage In Montreal

She’s got vocal pipes of steel. She can keep up with the likes of Janis Joplin, Tina Turner and Eta James. The former singer of punk band Gossip Beth Ditto will belt out dancy uplifting tunes at Theatre Fairmont Friday March 16.

She’s also an outspoken against body shaming and a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights and isn’t shy to be known as “a fat, feminist, lesbian from Arkansas. “A real refreshing take on pop music:

Beth Ditto with SSION performs at Fairmount Theatre, 5240 Ave du Parc, Friday, March 16th, 9pm. Tickets are $34.05 and available through Evenko

Hobo Party: A Beautiful Evening of Acoustic Based Music With Music Sang From The Heart

Truly a feast for the ears. This is my personal underdog show for this week; and what a diamond in the rough. Listening to the music, I’m just amazed how soulful these two local acts are, a real treat at a price a fraction of what the show is worth.

Fingerpicking goodness resonates from Ol Savannah with music sung deep from their southern souls. They’ve been honing their sound since 2008, first as a duo and then expanding into a five-piece with three albums under their belt.

You can hear them harnessing the sounds of Appalachian hill music and delta Mississippi blues. This show will be a launch for their new EP Hobo so make sure you get your CD/download. Check out their superb rendition of Nobody’s Fault But Mine:

Opening act bluegrass/folk/punk/pop Bats In The Belfry is an all female string trio that play songs that are truly haunting and heartwarming about the human condition with superb vocals. An engaged fan came up with the best description yet of their style: Darkgrass. Here is a track from Hounded; an album that truly stirs the soul:

This is a benefit show to support Montreal’s Sun Youth. So bring canned goods, and some unused clothing to donate and get $2 off the $10 door price.

Once again, what a steal this show will be, and combined with a great cause, you can’t go wrong.

Ol Savannah with Bats in the Belfry perform at l”Escogriffe, 4461 St-Denis, Thursday, March 15th at 9pm (following The Moonlight Club). $10 at the door or $8 with a donation

Gutserversary: A Night Of Heavy Music and Optional Debauchery

It will be loud. It will be heavy. Gutser will be headlining their fourth anniversary show presented by CJLO and GrimeyMTL on  Friday.

Although billed as a band “too lazy to break up” their album Gutser Sucks (2016) is tight, and well defined and screams hard working musicians:

If your in need of some catharsis, you’ll enjoy Venomenon’s dark heavy grooves. With its tight rhythm section and prominent vocals, you’ll enjoy this high quality local band:

Aggressive, no holds barred, Jesus Horse will blow your eardrums out with their harsh aggressive bombastic groove-alicious tracks:

KATO rounds off the bill; although we couldn’t find a demo, they have a cool name and that counts for something, right?

Four Year Gutserversary is at Casa Del Popolo, 4873 Boul St-Laurent, Friday, March 16th at 8:30pm. Tickets are $5 in advance or $7/PWYC at the door

* Featured image via Earthless on Bandcamp

* 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 music@forgetthebox.net. Our week goes from Thursday to Wednesday, so let us know by the preceding Sunday, though not too much in advance, or you may get lost in the shuffle. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

The Moonlight Club is a Montreal based power trio with exceptional songwriting craft that released their first LP on Feb 2nd, 2018 including two official singles. They possess a refreshing and energizing signature sound that demonstrates strong hooks combined with inspired creativity.

You don’t want to miss their intimate album launch at L’Escogriffe this Thursday.

Fact Sheet

Time spent in studio: 9 days
Number of songs on LP: 7
Number of musicians: 3
Sound: lush jangly guitars with a generous helping of 80s new wave hooks
Band formation: 2010
Artist Development Support: Indie Montreal
Past work: 2 EPs (2015, 2016)

They look like typical indie rockers you’ll spot walking the shady streets of the Mile End; beards, jeans, tattoos and semi-hollow guitars. But what distinguishes this power trio are its songs: energetic, authentic, with an unusual intensity.

The indie three-piece drew inspiration for the band’s name from a club in London’s West End Lane that showcased bands that were part of the New Romantics club scene of the 80s including Joy Division and The Specials. The fact that psychedelic electronic act The Stone Roses played there before the beloved club closed down added to its mystic appeal.

Primary songwriter, guitarist and lead singer Francois Royer Mireault and John Pankert (bass and vocals) each jammed with a lot of musicians over the years but it was really their chemistry together that fueled their passion to embark on a musical journey that captured the attention of artist development firm Indy Montreal.

That chemistry remained strong and lead to the creation of their first EP, Words in Gold, in 2015, and then again to their next big step which was recording their first debut self-titled album in 2017.

Francois draws inspiration from The Stone Roses, Neil Young and The Kinks.

“These bands write beautiful timeless songs that leave you dreaming for days. They record songs in their own way with their own quirks and particularities. These artists write songs that come from an honest place.”

Frank Rousso’s agile expressive drumming and John’s groove laden deep bass lines draw inspiration from bands like Half Moon Run, Plants & Animals and Leif Vollebekk.

An Obsession With Songwriting

Francois’s approach to songwriting is organic and free flowing, where there is no start or finish.

“I’m always observing reality and re-purposing it into a song.”

His phone is filled with little bits of ideas here and there. When the right time comes, he’ll use his backlog of 15-20 ideas and then he’ll hunker down and really focus on the details.

Both he and John, the band’s other primary songsmith, work on their concepts by themselves until a sketch is ready to show others. After that, its months of fine tuning with the objective ears of friends and band-mates and then a final spin with a producer.

“Songwriting isn’t just a craft, it’s an obsession. There is no recipe. You can copy tricks from famous songwriters and pop stars but it won’t feel authentic. Your audience knows instinctively when a song is authentic and when it’s not.”

Living Life Large At Breakglass Studios

The band burrowed themselves away for only nine days in the studio to emerge back into the world with seven brand new songs. They chose to record at famed Breakglass Studios nestled in a loft in the hills of Montreal’s leafy Plateau.

With 5000 square feet, vintage Fender Silverface amps, a 70s Ludwig drum kit, a grocery list of ribbon microphones, and a 1968 Neve Pre 80 Series input console; the boys were in good company. Guided by the wisdom of talented producer David Smith (Elephant Stone, Patrick Watson, Leif) the band went on a musical journey and discovered what they were made of.

Spacious Dreamlike Sounds From The Ether

In the vein of less is more, The Moonlight Club demonstrates that a lot can come out of simplicity.

Although they already recorded two EPs before this album, their core signature sound has remained the same. If anything, they’ve refined the arrangements for recording their first LP demonstrating an increase in confidence and willingness to reveal more.

With less fills, less distortion, less speed and more space for vocals, and the addition of agile drummer Francois Rousseau, the band has channeled the spirit of raw authentic bands like Neil Young and Joy Divison, celebrating their own unique take of an expansive energizing sound.

“Our sound is a natural response to the overproduced music on the airwaves right now. It’s just not good for your brain or your soul.”

The band opted for a raw sound for other reasons as well such as limited studio time and being a three piece power trio, but perhaps even more importantly:

“It’s way more fun to just plug and play,” Francois noted, “when the band plays live, what you hear on the record is what you hear on stage.”

Future Endeavors

Plans for 2018 include several shows already booked in Montreal for the upcoming months, filming some original video clips for some of the songs as well as creative side projects for various members of the band. Also, there are some live sessions with local radios in the pipeline. In addition, the band has their eye on getting on the roster for outdoor summer festivals to gain exposure to a wider fan base.

You can catch them launch their album and perform this Thursday, November 15th, at l’Escogriffe, 4461 St-Denis, from 5 to 8pm. Until then, check out their site or give a listen to their first single: