Young Paris is a NYC-based rapper and rising voice in the world of fashion. Having recently singed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, we Montrealers are lucky enough to catch him in action this Saturday, October 22nd with No Kliche, as part of the Red Bull Music Academy.

Here is an interview I conducted with Young Paris, discussing his roots, inspiration, and connections to Montreal:

I’m curious about your relationship to music as a child, as you were growing up. Did you learn instruments or sing in groups? Or was music something you came to later on.

My parents were world renown performers so you could imagine music was always around us growing up. From as long as I could remember, I’ve been playing the djembe and dancing. Music to our family has always been second nature and till this day we still perform together.

You draw from so many different areas in your image, your music, and your live show. It’s clear you are inspired by vibrancy and individuality in all its uniqueness. Are there some non-musicians that really shape your aesthetic approach to your image, your music, and the creative process in general?

Yes, I’m inspired by the fashion and the art world as well. I went to college for Fine Arts and my mother was a play writer as well, so I try to translate those references in my art. Artists / Designers like Alexander McQueen, Basquiat, Nick Cave, and Yinka Shonibare, for example, are artists I’ve been super inspired by.

Congo has a much-celebrated history of dance music, some of which comes out in your music – but is there a Congolese rap tradition you feel connected to?

No, my rap history comes from growing up in NY!

What is your musical community like in NYC?

NY has a vibrant range of musicians. In my circle, I know some of the dopest underground and notable artists but I try to stay in my lane. There aren’t many artists creating my type of music and Afrobeats generally is just becoming very popular in the states.

I would love to hear your thoughts on how art can help bridge the gap between cultural traditions without getting sucked into the mainstream media machine of mass representation and stereotyping. You seem to be navigating it very well – but have there been some major challenges? Is Jay-Z someone who understands your vision?

Social media is a great way to see raw talent and I’m always excited for what the people I’m following are coming up with daily. I think the bridge has been created, but it’s important to respect certain symbols and traditions.

Sacred art, for example, is so accessible now I think it’s up to the curators to translate their inspiration with caution and take time to do their research before shining light on the beauty and talents of these artists. For me and my situation at Roc Nation, I have complete creative control and they are open minded to my ideas.

Any plans for a fashion line?

Potentially 😉 but i will be collaborating with brands as a creative director.

Have you been to Montreal before?

Yes i lived here for nearly 2 years.

Also! You can win a free ticket to see Young Paris this Saturday if you answer this question correctly:

Q: What is the name of his new mixtape?

Email your answer to, and see you at the show.

Young Paris plays Théâtre Fairmount, 5240, Avenue du Parc, Saturday, October 22nd, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:00pm). If you don’t win tickets, they are $12 and available through the box office.


In this week’s preview we check out a number of interesting artists, the coolest pool party around and a whole bunch of album launches all the while using some rather dated cultural references. There was a lot to choose from this week and so here’s our top picks for a rather full week of music in Montreal.

Young Paris

Saturday night the Théâtre Fairmount will be hosting Young Paris whose music can be best described as hip hop that’s heavily influenced by both African music and EDM. With an artist who really doesn’t fit one specific mold it’s best to listen to some of his tracks to truly understand his style.

This Brooklyn based rapper, who was born in Paris to Congolese parents, is the embodiment of the modern cosmopolitan artist who wears many hats and combines multiple cultural influences in his creations. If you want to know more about him then stay tuned to FTB dial (editors’s note: No one is going to get that saying old man) because we have an exclusive interview with Young Paris set to hit our airwaves real soon! (editor’s note: Seriously airwaves, what world do you live in) 

Young Paris plays Théâtre Fairmount, 5240, Avenue du Parc, Saturday, October 22nd, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:00pm), $12 available through the box office.

The Jessica Stuart Few + Corinna Rose

If you’re looking for something a little different then head on over to Café Resonance on Saturday to check out Vancouver born Toronto based The Jessica Stuart Few whose third album The Passage is a self-proclaimed “musical adventurousness in these somewhat predictable musical times.” Jessica is a singer/songwriter who plays the guitar and the koto, a 13 stringed traditional Japanese instrument that plays a prominent role in her unique sound.

Joining her will be local folk singer/songwriter/banjo player/guitarist Corinna Rose who can deliver some of the most beautifully heartbreaking tunes you will ever hear. Here’s the perfect song to listen to while biking along the canal in the fall (I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re doing at the end of this video).

The Jessica Stuart Few and Corinna Rose play Café Resonance, 5175A Avenue du Parc, Saturday, October 22nd, 9:00pm, $11.34 available through the box office.

Dans les Abysses with Dopplereffekt + DJ Stingray and More

For anyone who likes EDM, free concerts, swimming or all the above this is the show for you. On Sunday Red Bull Music Academy and MUTEK Montreal are hosting what can only be described as a “multi-layered” musical experience where the Olympic pool will be fitted with speakers underwater, at water surface level and at ground level while DJ Stingray, Dopplereffekt, Lorenzo Senni, Joel Cahen, Selfir, Cao, and Sign Libra spin their tunes.

The organizers would like to remind you that in order to access the pool you need to be wearing a bathing suit and either be barefoot or wearing sandals. This seems like a formality since it makes no sense to miss the opportunity to go for the coolest swim of your life!

The show is free but tickets are limited so get yours in advance.

 Dans les Abysses occurs at Parc olympique de Montréal, 4141 Pierre-De Coubertin, Sunday, October 23rd, 10:00pm to 3:00am, free, tickets available through the box office.

Blue Sky Miners + Tim Moxam

On Monday night Canadian artists Blue Sky Miners (who recently put out their self-titled debut EP) and Tim Moxam (whose latest album Soft Summer just came out) will be taking to Le Cagibi’s stage in support of their recent releases. Both acts fall a little into the country genre, a little into folk and with an ever so small dose of indie music.

In a moment of solid logic they’ve decided to team up for a brief tour of the eastern side of our country in order to give fans a full evening of new music. These tunes are so fresh that the promoters have officially promised the bands will play “never before heard songs.”

Blue Sky Miners and Tim Moxam play Le Cagibi, 5490 Boulevard St. Laurent, Monday, October 24th, event time and tickets TBA so check out their event page.

* Featured image of Jessica Stewart

* 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!


I have it on good authority that Genghis Khan would have been a huge Slayer fan. Galloping double-bass drums and furious riff-based thrash seems like a natural fit for the Golden Horde charging through the steppes of Central Asia. Just add booming Mongolian throat singing and horsehead fiddles that sound like a blade being drawn, and you have the perfect recipe for an incredible live performance.

The crowd at Foufounes Electriques got a taste of that Friday evening, when the Nomadic Folk Metal Horde known as Tengger Cavalry charged into town at the end of their North American tour with Incite.

Tengger Cavalry with FTB before the show
Tengger Cavalry with FTB before the show

These guys aren’t just fronting about the whole horse thing, either. In addition to using folk instruments like the Igil, Shanz, Morin Khuur and Throat Singing, Tengger can ride too.

“Yeah, I’m okay on horseback,” muses Nature Ganganbaigal (Guitar, Vocals) at the beginning of our pre-show chat. “One time, I went to the Mongolian grassland and I had to stay on a horse’s back for one hour because he ran off from his owner. I got the bridle on, and I can gallop no problem…I’m more comfortable playing guitar, but I can make a horse go, too.”

Alex Abayev

While experimental genre-defying music is always exciting, it’s unfortunate that a lot of this blending of traditional music with contemporary styles can be seen as a gimmick, or attempting to cash in on the novelty of “look at us, we combine The Monolythic ‘Old’ with The Monolythic ‘New!’”

The obvious workaround is authenticity and commitment to what the artist is creating as a performance that creates something new, unique, and hybridized instead of just two distinct styles – see Canada’s A Tribe Called Red, and Chile’s Matanza for examples of groups who do this well. Tengger Cavalry does this spectacularly in the studio, but live it’s even more impressive.

Nature Ganganbaigal

Tengger Cavalry presents a fascinating live show because these musicians focus their stage presence into capturing the sonic rush of stampeding cavalry as opposed to attempting to shoehorn sacred Mongolian traditions into popular contemporary music.

“When you travel a lot, and play from place to place, you’re already living a Nomadic lifestyle,” says Alex Abayev (Bass). “And since we’re all together, it’s like a Unity we can all feel,” chimes in Josh Schifris (Drums). Alex continues that with their music, “we can make people feel connected to the Steppes, even if they’ve never been there.”

To paraphrase from the acclaimed Coeur d’Alene author Sherman Alexie, writers from Indigenous cultures are often better off treading lightly on hallowed ground. Writing about sacred traditions and exhibiting them for public consumption outside that cultural group is an invitation for people searching to give themselves cultural capital via conspicuous consumption of “the other” (“look at how cool and open-minded I am, I saw a ~~Mongolian Metal band~~ last night”).

“When I was in high school, I listened to a lot of metal, which meant I listened to a lot of Scandinavian bands bringing traditional music into their sound,” explains Nature when I asked about the genesis of the band. “I thought, ‘well, why can’t I do this with my own culture? Why not create something brand-fucking-new?’”

Josh Schifris

The band tells me that “talks are happening” about a future tour in Turkey and Central Asia. “We get a lot of messages from Istanbul, with fans telling us that we are their nomadic brothers.” This current tour has been a blast for the band, and despite weeks on the road, they show no signs of fatigue; if anything, they’re coping with post-tour depression now that the constant gigging has finished.

Canada has treated them well, with some of their favorite shows taking place in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Josh has asked me to include a note to Neil Peart shouting out Rush (and the Great White North in general) as major inspirations to this band.

“The most important thing is about what’s in your music,” says Nature. “We see ourselves as combining cultures, not combining genres. We’re all from different backgrounds, but we’re all in this band.”

Nature Ganganbaigal

The band would like to express their sincere appreciation to the tour’s sponsors, Kay’s clothing (UK) Killer B Guitars, Rock N Roller, Reunion Blues, Sinister Guitar Picks, and Strukture.


Photos by Cem Ertekin



Forget The Box is kicking off Autumn with a new weekly calendar of arts shows in Montreal! Check out these events and feel free to contact us with suggestions for others as well.

Alder & Ash

Alder & Ash is a counterpoint of two extremes. The music lies in stillness, introversion, and penitence. It lies in violence, cacophony, and angst. Alder & Ash plays solo cello with loop pedal to create improvised minimal classical music, with influence of doom metal, ambient, post-rock and noise. Alder & Ash will be performing live at Le Réactueur as part of an ambient music showcase – don’t miss it!

Alder & Ash Live at Le Réacteur, 2401 Rue Sainte-Catherine E, Friday, October 14th. Pay-What-You-Can

Fela Kuti Tribute

The Tupi Collective crew, ASMA, KYOU, and DJ Kobal are putting together an exciting evening filled with sonic tributes to Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti at Groove Nation. The event is in celebration of what would have been Fela’s 78th birthday, October 15th (but don’t get it twisted, the show is October 14th).


Fela Kuti Tribute at Groove Nation, 410 Rachel Est, Friday, October 14, 10pm-3am. $5 before midnight, $10 after

Pompette’s Monthly Comedy Extravaganza

Pompette’s Monthly Comedy Extravaganza offers Montreal’s finest in a casual context with one of the best new resto/bars in the city. At your service Riccardo Spensieri & his crew will be dishing out the eats and libations as Franco Taddeo & friends light up the night with laughter.

Taddeo is joined by emcee Peter J. Radomski of Just for Laughs fame as well as Paul Baluyot, ParkEx’s One Name Wonder Pantelis, TV’s Geoffery Appelbaum, Erica “The Funny & No Relation” Taddeo plus a Special apperance by Ernie the 80 year Old Comedian & his stool (chair to sit on to be clear!!).

Pompette’s Monthly Comedy Extravaganza at Pompette, 4128 Boulevard St-Laurent, Wednesday, October 19th, 8:30pm – 10:30pm. $9 with comedy night special on drinks

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!


This week we’re focusing on the local scene by highlighting the best shows of the week that have at least one Montreal based band in the performance. This was incredibly easy to do, if you take the time to look you can always find some great musicians just around the corner from you.

So take the time, and give these shows a look.

Paper Lions + How Sad

Thursday night you can head over to Théâtre Fairmount and check out and all-Canadian lineup of indie rock inspired dance music. Headlining the event will be East Coast indie electro pop rockers Paper Lions who recently released Full Colour, an album you should consider putting on your radar.

Joining them will be local electro artists How Sad who will make you clearly happy to have gotten off your butt to get out of the house for an up tempo evening of music. I suspect that no one will be sitting during this one as both bands are the type that make you want to get up and dance.

Paper Lions and How Sad play Théâtre Fairmount, 5240, Avenue du Parc, Thursday, October 13th, 8:00pm (Doors at 7:00pm), $12 available through the box office.

Future States + Run Coyote + Pallice 

On Sunday Casa del Popolo will be hosting the album launch and concert for local indie rockers Future States who will be releasing Casual Listener later this month. I suspect if you ask them really nicely they’ll play a few tunes from the upcoming release.

Joining them will be another local act Pallice and Run Coyote, whose 2014 release Youth Haunts was met with a great response from music critics across the country and who are about to get back in the studio to finish up a new album. We have it on good authority that they’ll be trying some of the new tracks on unsuspecting audiences during this current tour so if you want fresh music then this is the show to check out.

Future States, Run Coyote and Pallice play Casa del Popolo, 4873 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Sunday, October 16th, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:30pm), $1o available through lfttckt.

Plants & Animals + The Weather Station

On Saturday Montreal based indie rock trio  Plants & Animals will be joined by The Weather Station at Théâtre Corona. Another of the hidden gems in the Montreal music scene, these guys have been at it since 2008, releasing four full length albums in that time.

Their latest release Waltzed in from the Rumbling came out earlier this year and has done nothing but impress music critics and fans alike. They’ll be travelling through Canada for the next two months with this being the only Montreal date, so don’t miss out on the opportunity!

Plants & Animals and The Weather Station play Théâtre Corona, 2490 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Saturday, October 15th, 8:00pm (Doors at 7:30pm), $24.50 ($27 at the door) available through box office.

Nots + The World + Cheap Wig

The coolest rock show of the week will be on Friday night when Nots, The World and Cheap Wig play as part of a Blue Skies Turn Black showcase. This will be a mix of punk and garage rock from some bands who are known for killer live shows.

 Nots, The World and Cheap Wig play Casa del Popolo, 4873 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Friday, October 14th, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:00pm), $1o ($13 at the door) available through box office.

* Featured Image:

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!


Video games are the storytelling media of the future. They allow for a depth and nuance that no other medium can provide. Watching a movie, you can only see what’s happening to the characters. You see their emotions, hear their conversations (sometimes, even their thoughts); but your immersion ends there. You never truly become the character.

With a video game, however, you become the character. You are inserted into a whole new world and your actions matter. You not only see what’s happening to the character, you are the character. You feel the emotions, take part in the conversations.

And based on what we talked, that’s what Lateef Martin and his gaming studio Miscellaneum have in mind with their extremely cool-sounding cyclepunk tactical-RPG (role-playing game) Z’Isle.

There are a lot of things to unpack just from that last sentence, but don’t worry, we’ll get there.

In the world of Z’Isle, Something Really Bad™ has happened. I don’t know what it is yet, because the game isn’t out yet. And I didn’t ask, because I don’t like spoilers. All we know is that these undead creatures known as Feeders have taken over the world and we have to survive.

How do we survive? Well, you have to salvage for resources. The game takes place in Montreal (!!!) and in Lateef’s words “We’re not a city with a lot of guns.” So when the Feeder apocalypse starts, they blow up the bridges (not that they needed to use explosives to destroy Montreal’s awful infrastructure), and eventually run out of bullets.


“But bikes are everywhere and they are the most readily available resource for weapons and tools,” Lateef revealed to me.

If you’re a Montrealer, this makes perfect sense. Bikes are LITERALLY everywhere in this city. If people are not riding them, then they are rotting on the sidewalks. Corpses of bikes litter every corner of the city, locked to fences and light posts.

And that’s what cyclepunk means. “We might be familiar with the term steampunk, where technology is based on steam, and cyberpunk, [which is more futuristic. […] Cyclepunk – technology is based on bikes. Everything is bike based.”

Survive the Feeder hordes and stay human

So Z’Isle is going to be a game where you try to “fight the Feeder hordes” using bike-based weapons. Survival is going to be a huge element in the game. In that sense, Lateef says that the game was inspired by This War of Mine, which is a survival game that takes place in war-torn Sarajevo.

“It’s not so much about running around being a soldier, it’s more about you being a civilian trying to survive this horrible, horrible world that you have to deal with,” Lateef says.

This also is going to allow the game to focus more on the human element. “The best zombie stories are about the human experience – are about the people. The zombies are white noise. They could easily be a virus, vampires, pancakes with batwings. It really doesn’t matter what the threat is.”

Creating yourself within the game

One thing that I’m particularly excited about is the character creation aspect of the game. Most of your big-time AAA RPGs have that element. In the Dragon Age series for instance (particularly Inquisition, the latest addition), you can spend hours creating a digital version of yourself.

From what Lateef says, Z’Isle is going to let you do that and some more. “You can choose your gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, body type,” Lateef says. This is already beyond the mostly cosmetic changes you can make to your appearance in other games. Who you are will determine how the game turns out, because these choices will determine your partner.

“You have just broken up with your partner and they’re the last person in the world you wanna be with during the zombie apocalypse. But it’s the only person you’ve got and you know each other better than anyone else, so you stick with each other and try to survive,” Lateef says.


In addition to that, you will be put into situations where you will be interacting with other humans roaming the Feeder-infested streets of Montreal. How you deal with them will affect your reputation. Will you steal from other groups to make sure your own group survives or will you build a larger community through cooperation?

“What makes you human? You know, everyone has a line they won’t cross. What happens when you cross that line? How many more lines will you draw? And who are you when the chalk runs out?”

I am already very excited for this game. It’s great to hear amazing indie games coming out of Montreal. After all, this city is sort of a mecca for indie game developers, with support from the Quebec government as well as from the AAA game developers such as Ubisoft.

But we won’t be able to play the game until much later. And in fact, Miscellaneum Studios are currently crowdsourcing some funding for their project in order to make it a reality. If you want to help them out, you can click on this link to their Kickstarter campaign.



Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This week we take a look at a number of artists who’ve hit the scene in the last five years and seem to be getting bigger and better with every album. It’s a long weekend so with the extra free time why not go to an extra show!

Kongos + The Joy Formidable

This Saturday you can head down to Metropolis and check out Kongos, four brothers from an obviously very musical family whose last name happens to be, you guessed it, Kongos. Talk about the easiest discussion ever for what the band name should be. Also how great is it that all of them can say the band’s named after them.

Ok enough digressing, let’s talk about the band. Last June they released their latest album Egomaniac and this fall they’re on their way through North America in support. Give them a listen and you can hear the musical influence that their birthplace of South Africa has had on these four guys who grew up in Arizona.

Joining them will be Welsh rockers The Joy Formidable who are currently on tour on our side of the pond in support of their third studio album Hitch which was released last June. This band has the versatility to play simple acoustic songs, stirring ballads and when need be kick some ass as a powerful rock band that sounds a lot bigger than its three members.

Kongos and The Joy Formidable play Metropolis, 59 Ste. Catherine Street East, Saturday, October 8th, 8:00pm (Doors at 6:30pm), $29.50 to 38.30 through the box office.

Tom Odell

For those who aren’t too stuffed with turkey you can keep the long weekend going on Monday night at Théâtre Corona where English singer-songwriter Tom Odell will be playing as part of his current tour that spans our continent in order to support of his most recent album Wrong Crowd released last June.

Tom has keen sense at crafting pop tunes, choruses that stick in your head and piano melodies that always feel right. If you don’t know him then I suggest you watch this video because you also get the added bonus of seeing Kevin Spacey climb stairs over and over again.

Tom Odell plays Théâtre Corona, 2490 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Monday, October 10th, 8:00pm (Doors at 7:00pm), $27 ($30 day of the show) through the box office.

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox

If you casually surf YouTube for long enough you’ll probably come across a clip or two by the music collective Postmoden Jukebox who are known for taking current rock and pop hits and reworking them into jazz, swing and other early 20th century forms of music. Started in 2011 by jazz pianist Scott Bradlee, this ever changing lineup of musicians has had a series of viral hits which has allowed them to transcend our computer screens and enter the real world in the form of a live tour.

This Saturday they’ll be coming to Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier which is an appropriate venue considering that at it’s root this is a professional jazz show. Perhaps the initial reason people click on a clip is because of the song title but the reason they stick around is because of the interesting arrangements and high level of musicianship.

Now please click on this clip because of the title!

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox plays Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, 175 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Saturday, October 8th, 8:00pm. $53 to $254 through the box office.

* Featured Image:

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!


POP Montreal 2016 came and went with a blast of exquisite music, a frenzy of new friends and old faces, and a pleasant haze. Here is a highlight reel gleaned from the morass of sights, sounds, and smells that descended upon Montreal this past weekend.

Seth Bogart

Nothing was left up to the imagination with Seth Bogart. This underground LA pop diva sensation blew the minds off everyone in the room, with his unabashed physicality, wry satirical lyricism, and explosive performativity. The hilarious video content was nearly as captivating as his outfits, which he changed three times!

John Cale

John Cale performed in a very fitting venue: the aged and mysterious Rialto Hall. You can feel the passage of time sitting in the upper portion of the theatre, just as you can feel the passage of time in Cale’s mysterious calmness.

Perhaps surprisingly, what was most striking about his performance was its contemporary relevance. A mixture of live and electronic drums provided the basis for exquisite synthesizer tones and a guitarist who played more sounds than notes.

Holy Fuck

Holy Fuck came to party, and they took us all with them. Never before has an instrumental band been as captivating as this quartet of feisty Torontonians, excited to share a new LP with the world after a six-year hiatus. Nothing was lost in the interim – in fact, the group has only sharpened their tones even more; made those arpeggiated grooves even smoother; those lengthy breakdowns even tighter. Check them in your city if you can, for undoubtedly you will dance.

Angel Olsen

Back at the Rialto Theatre, I witnessed the transformed sound of Angel Olsen, a fairy-folkster turned rock’n’roller. Her band looked cute in their 50’s style suits, but the real catch is Angel’s voice, which carries a worldliness that belies her young years no matter what band arrangement she performs with. She put aside the guitar for a couple of keyboard ballads, sending the crowd away into the night with catchy melodies reverberating in our ears.


Drawing from the darker shades of new-wave, these brothers brought a captivatingly sinister energy to the tiny L’esco stage. One cannot help but be fixated by the singer Thomas, who manages to convey the brooding skepticism of a Nick Cave figure in all his glory. Every phrase was spat out with the vigour and charm of a street urchin turned art student, or visa-versa.

Hua Li

If you don’t know Peggy Hogan (aka Hua Li) yet, then get with the program. This dynamic local hip-hop artist and rapper is one-of-a-kind excellent. Performing with collaborator Gloze on programmed drums, Peggy slid smoothly through a healthy batch of heavy hip-hop with consummate ease, delivering her verses’ lines with dexterity and force. It’s always a pleasure to see someone act out their confidence and skill in a physical way, and Peggy sure knows how to get down with her beats.


When Pop Montreal finished on Sunday we officially closed up the music festival calendar for Montreal in 2016 and now we get to settle into the fall/winter music scene. Just because it’s no longer sunny and 30 degrees every day doesn’t mean you get to stay home, there’s some great shows coming up and this week is no exception.

Lisa Leblanc

On Thursday the Théâtre Corona will be hosting an evening with New Brunswick native Lisa Leblanc who will be debuting her most recent album Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen? which is set for release on September 30th. The Acadian singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has hits in both official languages and this new release, her second full length album, promises to be an extension of her unique brand of music.

I don’t know if “garage folk” is a term but it’s probably the best way to describe Lisa’s music. Witty, sarcastic, satirical, somewhat self deprecating lyrics are mixed with banjos and drums to form fun catchy songs that still manage to be serious when they need to be.

Lisa Leblanc plays Théâtre Corona, 2490 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest , Thursday, September 29th, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:00pm), $17 in advance or 19 at the door, ticket through box office.


The Temperance Movement + The Sheepdogs

If you’re looking for the coolest rock show of the week that would have to be over at Petit Campus on Thursday for the double bill of UK blues-rockers The Temperance Movement and Saskatoon’s own The Sheepdogs. Either one of these bands is worth the price of admission on their own, whoever thought to team them up gets a gold star on their report card for the course “Show Promoting 101.”

We’re just going to assume a Canadian bias here and say that you already know about the Sheepdogs so let’s introduce you to The Temperance Movement. Formed in 2011 this collection of musicians who’ve all been part of other musical projects too numerous to list decided to team up and build something new.

They recently released their second album White Bear and have been on tour in support. As usual it’s best to let the music do the talking so here’s the title track from that release.


The Temperance Movement and The Sheepdogs play Le Petit Campus, 57 Prince-Arthur East, Thursday, September 29th, 8:00pm, $23.75 through box office.


Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders + Julia Jacklin

Also on Thursday night, Divan Orange will be hosting New Zealand born singer/songwriter Marlon Williams who is currently on tour giving fans the full indie rock experience with his backing band The Yarra Benders.  Marlon has gone on record stating that when he sings a song he always gets into character, an interest twist that makes his music that much more universal.

Opening the evening will be  Julia Jacklin, an artist to watch for in the future as she is set to release her new album Don’t Let the Kids Win on October 7th while simultaneously on a world tour. I suppose Julia is much more passionate about music then about getting a good night’s sleep!

Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders and Julia Jacklin play Le Divan Orange, 4234 boulevard Saint-Laurent, Thursday, September 29th, 9:30pm, $16.50 in advance through Divan Orange or $18 at the door.

Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards + Dietrich Strause

For those interested in Folk music, Sunday night at Casa Del Popolo will feature Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards and Dietrich Strause. The best way to describe the style of music for this show would be to use the oxymoron “modern folk.”

Both these artists draw heavily on traditional folk roots but are hardly rehashing their grandparents’ music. Something new that’s a combination of a few different genres that still feel rooted in the past.

Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards and Dietrich Strause play Casa Del Popolo, 4873 boulevard Saint-Laurent, Sunday October 2nd, 7:30pm, $20 in advance ($10 for students) through lfttckt or $23 at the door ($13 for students).

* Featured image of Lisa Leblanc:

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!


I hope everyone’s saved up a little money and a lot of energy because tonight marks the beginning of the most frantic week of concerts this year, a.k.a. Hipster Christmas, a.k.a Indie Music Mayhem, a.k.a. the 2016 installment of Pop Montreal. From September 21st to the 25th most (if not every) small and medium sized music venue in and around the Plateau/Mile End will be hosting an unbelievably large and varied collection of artists.

To preview this fest in all its diversity is altogether impossible so we haven’t tried to. These are simply a few options that stick out as highlight to us at FTB. You might want to go check out the full schedule and reach your own conclusions but be warned, if you have option paralysis this might be your worst nightmare.

There’s just so much to do and so little time to do it in. My advice to newer fest goers is to pick something and stick to it, you could spend half the night walking back and forth trying to find the right show.

I know you want to find the “it” show but at Pop there’s actually several “its” going on simultaneously, so just get out there and pick one. To not overwhelm you, here’s three to get you started on your search.

IMTL Day Party and Brunch with Lakes Of Canada + Fleece + Nova + KyAzma

One of the more unique shows that happens at Pop takes two things that aren’t normally known to work in tandem, Sunday brunch and rock concerts, and for the fifth year in a row ignores convention and puts them together. An all-you-can-eat buffet for $7 is a steal in its own right but then you add performances by Lakes Of Canada, Fleece, Nova and KyAzma, who will be debuting their latest music video for  The Circle, and this becomes a highlight show in this year’s fest.

Indie Montreal allows you to buy tickets in advance through their website and I strongly suggest that if you plan on attending you do that. It’s not hard to foresee this show selling out, the lineup alone should bring a lot of interest and when you combine that with the best brunch deal on The Main you’ve got packed venue written all over this.

Lakes Of Canada, Fleece, Nova and KyAzma play Divan Orange, 4234 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Sunday, September 25th, 12:00pm (Doors at 11:30am), $7 in advance and at the door, ticket through indiemontreal.


Nanimal + Girl Arm + Pins & Needles + Laureate

If you’re looking for a great rock show at the best dive rock bar in town then head down to Barfly on Thursday night and check out Nanimal, Girl Arm, Pins & Needles and Laureate. This concert should be a hot sweaty mess of tightly packed individuals, like most Barfly events are, so save the fancy outfit for another night and wear the jeans, t-shirt and dancing shoes to this one.

This show is on our highlighted list for a second reason, my “sources” inform me there might be a special guest appearance during Nanimal’s set. Someone who can certainly be considered part of Montreal’s indie rock royalty might be hitting the stage right before your eyes.

Nanimal, Girl Arm, Pins & Needles and Laureate play Barfly, 4062 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Thursday, September 22nd, 9:30pm (Doors at 9), $10.

CJLO BBQ with Wiklow + No Aloha + Joyce N’sana + Guy Madonna

If you liked the idea of combining food and music but think Sunday morning’s a bit too groggy a time for that then perhaps you’d prefer Thursday afternoon’s free BBQ over at Quartiers Pop. This event is being put on by the good people over at CJLO, begins at 2pm and features Wiklow, No Aloha, Joyce N’sana and Guy Madonna.

Before people start going crazy over the “free BBQ” aspect it’s important to point out that the entrance and music is free, I’m pretty sure you’ll have to pay for your own beer and hot dogs. There’s no such thing as free beer, you know this, accept it, move on, you still get to see four great acts for free.

 Wiklow, No Aloha, Joyce N’sana and Guy Madonna play Quartiers Pop, 3450 Rue Saint-Urbain, Thursday, September 22nd, 2:00pm, free.



From hip hop to synth pop to nerd rock and back again we’ve got it all in this week’s preview. Well actually we’ve got three things and then it repeats. Apologies, I was going for an exciting first sentence and overshot a little.

On a very expected note: keep an eye out next week for our Pop Montreal preview which will be coming to you on Wednesday in order to coincide with the start of the fest.


Coming to town next Tuesday is Vancouver based Hip Hop artist SonReal who after years of hard work pumping out great music for free is finally starting to put together some real buzz both here and south of the border. Such is the life of an artist in 2016, give them great stuff for free and hopefully at some point you’ll get a return on your investment.

It’s good to see that all the hard work is paying off as this current tour is taking SonReal to all corners of North America and has him playing to increasingly larger crowds. I suggest that it’s best to see him now because next time he’s in town it might be a little harder to get tickets… and a little more pricey.

SonReal plays Théâtre Fairmount, 5240 Avenue du Parc, Tuesday, September 20th, 8:30pm (Doors at 7:30), $20 + s.c, buy tickets from the box office.

Honey Beard + La Mécanique

For anyone looking for something to do in the UQAM area of town on Friday night, I suggest you head over to M Bar where Toronto based electro synth pop duo Honey Beard will be taking to the stage as part of their Canadian tour in support of their debut album Thousand Million Things. Joining them will be local act La Mécanique who are a rather new group that also draw heavily on those synthtastic sounds that should make you want to get up and dance.

The music might feel 80s inspired but the drink prices will remind you of the 90s as the organizers have promised a happy hour with pints at $4 and pitchers at $10. With the cover being only $5 this is the hands down ideal show to check out this week for students on a budget.

 Honey Beard and La Mécanique play M Bar, 1245 Saint-André, Friday, September 16th, 10:00pm , $5.

Double Experience + East of Sunday + Lunar Trees

On Saturday night Ottawa nerd rockers Double Experience will be taking over The Pioneer’s stage for the first show of a cross Canada tour in support of their newest album Unsaved Progress. If you’re not catching the references I’ll spell it out: this band is passionate about video games which is reflected in the underlying themes of their music.

More apparent to non-video game savvy listeners is that Double Experience are a solid rock band with well crafted and catchy tunes that have crossover appeal to fans of different music genres.

Rounding out the bill are two local acts, East of Sunday and Lunar Trees who are great rock bands in their own right. Put it all together and this show is a full evening of rock and roll for the reasonable price of 10 bucks!

Double Experience, East of Sunday and Lunar Trees play Resto Bar Le Pionnier, 286 Lakeshore Road, Pointe-Claire, Saturday, September 17th, 8:30pm (Doors at 8:00), $10, 18+.

11th annual Hip Hop You Don’t Stop

For fear of it getting drowned out by the Pop Montreal coverage, we’ve pushed the preview of this important community event up by a week. Next Wednesday to Sunday (21st to 25th) a series of multidisciplinary events focused on the arts is taking place in the Côte-des-Neiges and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce boroughs aimed at engaging young people and inspiring them to participate positively in urban arts and Hip Hop culture.

A schedule on the facebook event page will show you the overall list of activities that gives a full picture of the scope of this festival. Being a music column we’re going to focus on the Queens and Kings Showcase which highlights talented young artists in the Montreal Hip Hop scene who will be performing this year under the theme of “Artistic collaboration between men and women.”

The event culminates on Sunday at N.D.G (a.k.a. Girouard) Park with a day long event entitled Elementakiza which is an interdisciplinary, intergenerational day long series of performances and activities combined with a barbecue, tacos and jerk chicken on the menu. You can even get your hair cut!

All activities in this festival are free and all-ages and I’m betting they really don’t care if you actually live in the community. If you’re not a kid or have kids you can still participate by being part of the crowd and showing your support.

HHYDS Showcase Queens and Kings plays Centre d’Essai de l’Université de Montréal, 2332, boul. Édouard-Montpetit 6th floor,  Friday, September 23rd, 6:00pm (till 11pm), free.

HHYDS Elementakiza happens at Parc Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, corner Sherbrooke and Girouard,  Sunday, September 25th, 11:00am (till 1opm), 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!


Well labour day has come and gone which means the kids are back to school (teehee, sucks to be you kids!) fantasy football is back, the days are getting shorter and sadly the summer music fests are all but over. The shows this week are therefore going to be slowly transitioning into more and more indoor events.

Fortunately there are some great shows to look forward to in the near future. Starting with…

Selah Sue

Next Wednesday you can head over to Théâtre Corona and check out Belgian singer/songerwriter Selah Sue who is currently on tour in support of her second album Reason. Selah has been a success on the other side of the Atlantic ever since the release of her self titled debut album back in 2011.

If you listen to a few of her tracks you can see why. Beautifully arranged music that always seems to feel like the swell of a wave before it crashes over top of you is layered in behind Selah’s rich introspective vocals. Selah is definitely this week’s award winner for best artist you’ve never heard of but lucky for you there is some time between now and next Wednesday’s show to change that.

Selah Sue plays Théâtre Corona, 2490 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Wednesday, September 14th, 8:00pm (Doors at 7:00), $27.50 + s.c. in advance / $32.50 + s.c. day of show, tickets available through boxoffice.

All Aboard + The Honest Heart Collective + Hometown Lights + Bordeen + Caraway 

The best option for an indie rock/hometown show this week is happening on Saturday night at La Vitrola where no less than five great local(ish) acts will be hitting the stage to entertain you for the very reasonable price of ten dollars. All Aboard, The Honest Heart CollectiveHometown LightsBordeen and Caraway are all Canadian artists who will make you realize that you don’t have to go far to find good music.

This show should be an intimate, energetic and tightly packed evening of music so don’t complain if you leave a bit sweaty and with some ringing in your ears. Also don’t forget to bring some cash for the merch table, the lifeblood of the indie band tour budget.

All Aboard, The Honest Heart Collective, Hometown Lights, Bordeen and Caraway  play La Vitrola, 4602 Boulevard St Laurent, Saturday, September 1oth, 8:00pm (Doors at 7:00), $10 ($12 at the door) tickets available through lifttckt.

Slayer + Anthrax + Death Angel

Metal fans should take note of one of the biggest shows to hit our area this year outside of the festival circuit. These three thrashtastic pioneers have been doing what they do since the early 80’s and don’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down.

I’m not going to speak about the bands at length or link to any of their websites. Fact is, these guys don’t need any promo, this is more of a friendly reminder that they’ll be hitting Metropolis next Tuesday. Now here’s four hours of Slayer music just because…

Slayer, Anthrax and Death Angel play Metropolis, 59 Rue Sainte-Catherine East, Tuesday, September 13th, 8:00pm (Doors at 6:30), $69.50 + s.c. in advance / $75.00 + s.c. day of show, tickets available through box office.

Villa Paradizo

If you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity this weekend but the money isn’t really flowing at the moment you might want to consider Villa Paradizo, the free EDM festival taking place on Crescent and De Maisonneuve this Friday and Saturday. The third installment of this fest has a mix of local and international DJs that will be spinning from 11 am to 11 pm on both days.

For anyone who might have trouble in a crowd or who enjoys spending money at free shows keep in mind all the bars in the area are the best (and only) seats in the house. They’re asking for you to call and make reservations in advance if you want a spot.

The downside is you have to pay “Bar on Crescent between De Maisonneuve and St Catherine” prices for drinks. Personally I’d save the money and go be part of the crowd on the street.

Villa Paradizo happens on the corner of Crescent and De Maisonneuve, Friday and Saturday, September 9th and 1oth, 11:00am to 11pm, free.

* Featured image: Selah Sue via YouTube

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!

the bombadils

Happy (almost) Labour Day Weekend, everyone! What better way to spend it (and the days surrounding it) than by enjoying some music in Montreal. This week we’ve got rock, indie rock, folk and Rn’B to choose from, so let’s get started.


If you like Rn’B then you should be aware of Gallant who is clearly on his way to being the “next big thing” in that genre. His debut album Ology was released last April and now he’s currently on tour in support. Next Wednesday he’ll be stopping by Théâtre Fairmount as part of that tour.

The Bombadils (CD release) + Béatrix Méthé + Colin Savoie-Levac

Tonight Montreal Folk duo The Bombadils will be hosting a CD launch/concert in anticipation of their upcoming album New Shoes which is set to be released on September 9th. If you like folk and lack patience then this is a great way to check out a fun evening of music and get an advanced copy of the CD at the same time.

For those who prefer to avoid human interaction or would rather an MP3 copy you can order the album through their website.

The Bombadils, Béatrix Méthé and Colin Savoie-Levac play, Casa del Popolo, 4873 Boulevard St Laurent, Thursday, September 1st, 8:00pm (Doors at 7:30), $15 ($10 for students), tickets available through lfttckt.

Unblonde + Whitney K + Watering

Another option for tonight is to head over to La Vitrola for an evening of indie rock featuring Unblonde, Whitney K and Watering.


Unblonde, Whitney K and Watering play La Vitrola, 4602 Boulevard St Laurent, Thursday, September 1st, 10:00pm, $8 (before 10pm) $10 (after 10 pm).

Labour Day Weekend Rockout

The title pretty much says it all. Friday night Brasserie Beaubien will hosting four local rock bands (Attics & Alleys, Donny Dash, The Leftovers, The Flows) who have decided to put on a show for the amazingly low price of five dollars!

For all you students Labour Day marks the last weekend of freedom for a while so why not get out and enjoy it.


Attics & Alleys, Donny Dash, The Leftovers and The Flows play Brasserie Beaubien, 73 Beaubien East, Friday, September 2nd, 8:00pm, $5.

* Featured image

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!


After a brief pause from local shows last week to give the proper respect due to The Hip, we’re back at it with four very cool and very different events taking place this week. All are at smaller venues with low (or free) ticket prices and none are on the same night as each other so why not go to a few of them?

Evan Taylor Jones

If you’re looking for a great show tonight then head down to the Wheel Club where singer/songwritier/guitarist/former The Voice contestant Evan Taylor Jones will be bringing his unique brand of soulful rock to the stage in support of his new EP The Sunray Sessions Live. Evan’s style shows a clear and deep connection with the roots of rock and Motown brought into the 21st century and given a contemporary feel.

Anyone living outside of Montreal should take note that this summer tour seems to be stopping in every city on the eastern side of this continent. So if you can’t make it tonight I suggest you check out the full list of shows on Evan’s Facebook page and hopefully find a stop near you.

Evan Taylor Jones plays The Wheel Club, 3373 Boulevard Cavendish, Thursday, August 25th, 8:30 pm (Doors at 7).

If We Are Machines + A Devil’s Duo + CFCQ and the Piss of Assurance

On Friday night you can head to everyone’s favorite dive Barfly and check out an evening of indie rock headlined by Vancouver’s own If We Are Machines. This summer the six piece psych rock ensemble is traveling from one end of the country to the other and back again on the very accurately named “Ocean Waters Tour”.

Joining them on stage will be two local acts: A Devil’s Duo (members of A Devil’s Din) and CFCQ and the Piss of Assurance making this quite an amazing lineup especially when you consider that tickets are only five bucks!

(Author’s Note: When I say the Barfly is “everyone’s favorite dive” I do so with empirical evidence, try googling Dive bars Montreal or looking up any poll for Best Montreal Dive Bar and you’ll see what I mean.)

If We Are Machines,  A Devil’s Duo and CFCQ and the Piss of Assurance play Barfly, 4062A Boulevard St Laurent, Friday, August 26th, 9:00pm, $5.

Saturday in The Park (N.D.G Arts Week)

Girouard park and the surrounding area has been full of action these past few days while in the midst of hosting N.D.G Arts Week. This multidisciplinary fest celebrating music, theatre, art, dance and much more has all sorts of events going on this week so check out their schedule and find a little something for you.

The big event for music fans will be Saturday in the Park where a mix of Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk, R&B and Soul will come together in a very open and all inclusive way. The first two hours of the event (5 to 7 pm) is an open mic hosted by Eleuthera. Anyone interested in getting up on stage should send a message and sound sample to

The rest of the event (7 to 10 pm) will be a big jam session with the collective #LeCypher featuring Urban Science and whole group of artists from different genres. If you like improvised music and/or sitting in parks then this is the show for you. ProTip: bring a lawnchair!

Saturday in the Park occurs at Girouard Park, 3500 Avenue Girouard, Saturday, August 27th, 5:00pm to 10:00pm, free.

A Cosy Night with Pomme

This Monday the French singer-songwriter Pomme will be over at Le Verre Bouteille for an intimate evening of music which is a perfect way to hear a musician who describes her style as “des ptites chansons écrites dans des ptites chambres.” If this was a movie I’d say that Pomme is cast perfectly as the “cosy” acoustic artist that people want to go and hear on a Monday.

Pomme plays , Le Verre Bouteille, 2112 Mont-Royal East, Monday, August 29th, 8:00 pm (Doors at 7), tickets available through Indie Montreal, $11.85.

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 Pomme via Instagram

naked trump statue the emperor has no balls

Is the recent guerrilla art installation Emperor Has No Balls (nude Trump statues in various parks) just an example of body shaming or does it get a pass because the subject, Trump, is obsessed with sexist body norms for women?

As an American citizen I am embarrassed and abhorred that someone like this has gotten so far in our obviously flawed political system. He is the actual Republican nominee for President of the United States.

He is a racist, sexist, bigoted meanie face. All of his beliefs and moral stances are foolish and full of shit, he is not a politician, he is an ego maniac celebrity, a money grubbing monster, and downright evil doer. BUT, he is a human being.

While I do think he is an idiot and I want to see his campaign crash and burn, I do not believe in body shaming or making fun of any of his physical attributes. You are only as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside, so obviously he doesn’t have much to work with. Judge him on his idioic ideas and not his lack of genitalia.

I don’t want to be shamed for my imperfect body so I will never do the same to another human. The piece features fat shaming and transphobia.

There is no pass when it comes to body shaming. I am a firm believer in two wrongs don’t make a right. If I judge him for being a jerk I can’t go right back and be a jerk in response, we must Love Trumps Hate to move on.

This publicity stunt got his name in the news again, the dumb people are still seeing his name. In good or bad context doesn’t matter, it’s in their impressionable minds. The stunt made headlines.

Although, on one hand I do believe that people should have a sense of humor. Public art is made to stand out, make people think. Trump’s naked body has nothing to do with his political agenda. I do agree that he would be a terrible president, and would probably erect similar statues of himself anyways.

I have dressed up like Trump in the past, mocking him and being satirical. I was a parody, a personification of his idiocracy and “perfect hair.”

Trump wins every time someone says or types his name, I am feeding the machine by even writing this article. He is an “even bad press is good press” believer.

He pulls this stuff out of his ass just to rile people up. He excites the hate mongers and ignites the protesters into a fury. Justice has not been served by erecting the larger than life nudes, he honestly probably really loves them, and will have the whole collection in one of his mansions.

Activist art crew Indecline was in charge of this public art frenzy, naked Trump statues appearing in many major cities: Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Cleveland, and Los Angeles- to protest the Republican presidential nominee. At 11 am in each city (8 on West coast) two people dressed like construction workers carried out this 6’5″, 80 pound sculpture under a blue tarp and then literally glued it to the ground and disappeared into the crowd.

Each statue was beautifully hand painted by an artist known as Ginger, a Las Vegas based horror artist (that admits he was once a Trump supporter, then wisened up as the campaign got more out of control). Ginger is known for his monsters, and Trump is a monster.

Once the tarp was removed mayhem insued. So many selfless were taken, one was “jerked off” by a homeless man, another was dragged into a nearby art gallery, but most were taken down by the police. The new goal is to make them for high end galleries and restaurants, willing participants.

Tiny penis and no testicles were the main attraction. Although art is subjective and takes liberties, it is not confirmed whether he actually has testicles in real life or not. He definitely suffers from foot in mouth disease and is a raging sociopath, but that is beside the point.

The Emperor Has No Balls is part of Indecline’s 15 years of art as activism, usually sticking to murals and graffiti. They are responsible for the Rape Trump graffiti on a fence at the US Mexico border. They knew that larger action needed to be taken as the Trump campagn was a real thing, he is the nominee, wow, this is happening!

Everytime I turn on a TV or look at the news I get sick, I worry that this impending doom is the final apocalypse. What will he do as our commander in chief? Not saying I love Hilary Clinton or anything, but COME ON! He is the worst, it’s a joke that has gone too far, and at OUR EXPENSE!

They started to think about how dictators were memorialized in giant statues throughout history. Illama Gore’s infamous drawing of naked Trump got so much attention (even the artist being assaulted due to her work) that it was a clear inspiration for this project.

Trump’s campaign did not comment on the statues. Of course not…

* Featured image: Naked Trump statue in Union Square, NYC

Got a question for Cat? Ask it:

gord downie tragically hip live

Author’s Note

When writing previews I usually try to remain impartial, take personal preferences out of the equation, be open to suggestions (especially in support of local bands) and present a little something for everyone. Well this week too bad, I’m only previewing one show.

The Hip’s Last Show

As a music fan and/or a Canadian I’m sure you’re well aware that the Tragically Hip will be playing their last show this Saturday night in Kingston. While most people around the country will be watching/listening at home on pretty much any device they want (CBC will be airing it on TV, radio and all their online platforms commercial free) there is the option of making this a more communal experience.

In Montreal the best choice (and by best I mean the one I’m doing) is to head over to Monkland and Melrose where the Flavours of Monkland street fest was already scheduled to take place and so they decided to partner with CBC and present the show on a big screen. This fest is food truck heaven with a full liquor license and a few activities, such as live music, sprinkled in.

Admittedly this is grafting one event on top of another but if you want the “crowd experience” this is the best bet in the area.

Another solid choice would be to head to one of the many bars that have promised to air the show. Trying to compile a comprehensive list of all the locations screening the concert is proving impossible but suffice it to say you’re safe with any Irish Pub, downtown or otherwise. My suggestion is to call first and try to get a reservation.

The rest of the preview has nothing to do with ideas for where to see the show, I need to say a few things.

Anyone who has seen up close the brutal certainty and finality of terminal cancer knows the emotional toll being placed on Gord and his friends/family right now. It’s amazing that he’s been willing to go on this last tour and I’m not sure how anyone could lift that heavy a weight.

He didn’t have to do a final tour, we all would have given him a pass. So then why go through it? I think saying he’s doing it for “the fans” or for closure or to raise money for cancer research is far too simple. I mean it is all those things but it’s more than that.

I think the best way to explain is with my own personal encounters regarding the “myth” of Gord Downie because it seems that everywhere you go in Canada there’s always someone who has met and hung out with him just waiting to tell you their story. There was the guy on my hockey team who spent a weekend with him at a bachelor party, the former coworker who would always have drinks with him when he came to town or the friend of a friend in Toronto who used to “hang with him before he was big.”

It seems that Gord has shown up at every local bar in the country, had a beer with every person in that bar and shared a unique story-worthy moment with all of them. In all occasions the tellers of these tales always had the same things to say, “he was just there hanging out like one of the guys”, ” the dude was so down to earth”, “he would chat with everyone that came up to him”.

While obviously not all of these encounters occurred I think the myth around Gord stems from the fact that we see him as our friend, the approachable star, the uniquely Canadian form of celebrity. Smart, funny, humble and hard working. This last show isn’t a farewell concert, we’re parting ways with an old and dear friend. No one wants this to happen, we all just realize it has to and we have to be a part of it.

Ok enough serious talk, this is a music blog after all. Here’s (arguably) the best improv moment from (clearly) the best at improvising. Sorry “killer whale tank” fans, this one’s better.

* Featured Image: Gord Downie performs with The Tragically Hip in Vancouver July 23rd (CBC)