pop-montreal-2016

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.

 

sonreal

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.

SonReal

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 music@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

selah-sue

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 music@forgetthebox.net. 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.

Gallant

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 thebombadils.com

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

pomme

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  ndgopenmic@gmail.com.

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 music@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

* Featured image of Pomme via Instagram

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)

montreal uke fest

So what Montreal music options are there this week? Two rock shows (one of the indie and one of the heavier/punkier variety) tonight, a Jazz-Funk Explosion tomorrow and a festival dedicated to the Ukulele Friday and Saturday

Rebelle + Shotgun + The Kents + Mumu

Tonight there’s a great indie rock show going on at Casa Del popolo where four of the coolest bands you’ve probably never heard of will be taking to the stage. Headlining the event will be Wakefield Quebec’s own Rebelle whose seem to be doing something a little different by combining synthy electro pop and indie rock with fuzzy powerful guitar riffs in a way that is getting them attention as one of Canada’s up and coming acts.

Check out their track The Rapture to see what I mean (anyone else hear the intro riff to Fortunate Son at 2:30?) then check out a few more of their tracks to hear a band that clearly does not write the same song twice.

Joining them on stage will be three more Canadian acts in the form of Shotgun, The Kents and Mumu making this a four band bill all for the very reasonable price of $10.

Rebelle, Shotgun, The Kents and Mumu play Casa del popolo, 4873 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Thursday, August 11th, tickets $10.

Montreal Uke Fest 

The title pretty much sums it up, this Friday and Saturday ukulele players and fans will congregate in the Plateau for the Fifth annual Montreal Uke Fest. As you would expect this is a fest with a highly interactive feel where people will be encouraged to participate in the performance as much as watch it.

It all starts Friday night with a strum along session hosted by the Ukulélé Club De Montréal where players of any level are welcome to add their four strings to the mix. On Saturday there will be workshops for up and coming players from 11 am to 5 pm at Casa del popolo and then Sala Rosa will host a uke centric concert starting at 7pm featuring Michael Wagner, U.K.E, Del Rey and Monika Cefis . For more info and tickets check out the Montreal uke fest website.

Strum Along Session takes place at Sporting Club 4671 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Friday August 12th, free.

Various Workshop take place at Casa del popolo, 4873 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Saturday August 13th, tickets and times through Montreal Uke Fest.

Michael Wagner, U.K.E, Del Rey and Monika Cefis  play Sala Rosa, 4848 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Saturday, August 13th, tickets $25 in advance through Montreal Uke Fest or $30 at the door.

Debutant + The Lookout + Ashtray Heart

If full-on rock n’ roll happens to be your cup of tea, or moreover, your pint of beer, then head down to Barfly tonight to check out Edmonton rockers Debutant. This Alberta-based four piece is currently on tour to support their upcoming release Road to Nowhere.

In Montreal, they’re playing with local punk rockers The Lookout and Barfly mainstay rockers Ashtray Heart. “It’s a three piece and that’s too much already.”

Debutant, The Lookout and Ashtray Heart play Barfly, 4062A Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Thursday, August 11th, 9pm.

Montreal’s Jazz-Funk Explosion

File this under a show title that really says it all. Friday night, head down to Casa del Popolo if you’re in the mood for a jazz-funk explosion. The show features three really funky acts: L’escalier regulars Space Base, The Friendly Frogs Freak Show and Colorflow.

There’s also going to be a “Big Mama Space Coloured Freak Jam!” featuring members of the bands before the show. Yes, before. Over an hour before, to be precise, before the door officially opens.

Montreal’s Jazz-Funk Explosion is Friday, August 12th at Casa del Popolo, 4873 Boulevard St-Laurent. Doors at 8:30, show starts at 9:00, but the Big Mama Jam is at 7:45. $7. Tickets available through CasaDelPopolo

* Featured image from the Montreal Uke Fest Facebook Page

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

13668773_546948708823888_7399011909853342868_o

“Have you heard the news?

I am bigger than ants!”  – ‘Big Gigantic Body’, The Anthony Hansen Problem

There is nothing in the city right now like The Anthony Hansen Problem. Despite being a newly formed act, they came in at #9 for both “freakiest” and “most pretentious” musical act in CULTMTL’s Best Of Montreal 2016 poll.

When, in mid July, I made my way to Casa del Popolo to see The Anthony Hansen Problem play alongside BoyJune (now Beloveds), The Island of Misfit Toys and Commander Clark’s band, I had no idea just how much fun I’d be having. This show with its greatly slotted bill was hands down the best musical time I’ve had in years.13690888_10102605839847987_3461689634366204884_o

Part performance art and part brazen ego comedy pop rock, The Anthony Hansen problem is is a hard act to describe. A friend of mine, Cas Kaplan of Boyfriends, aptly describes them as ‘absurdist new wave’ and ‘glamaged’.

Recently transitioned from solo act to three man show, The Anthony Hansen Problem is Anthony Hansen (keys, vox), Noemie Kinney of Nanimal (bass), and Evan Magoni of Boyfriends (drums). The decision to switch from one man show to a trio was one that Hansen made after carefully consideration:

“I definitely had a period where I kind of stopped playing for a while and tried to rethink my approach because in as much that people told me it was entertaining to see me doing the one man thing I knew I couldn’t sustain it,” he explains, “It wasn’t any fun and I’m basically enjoying myself a lot more now that I have people to bounce ideas off of and it just it feels less like I’m dwelling within an echo chamber.”

One of the major factors for the switch was the limitations brought on by using a backing track:

“The backing track is not gonna stop, it’s not gonna allow you to banter with the audience. I was sort of really shooting myself in the foot because I was just putting songs back to back to back and not giving myself any breathing room. People even told me they couldn’t tell where one thing ended and other began the pace was way too manic. I think this is the issue when I generally do projects entirely on my own I just get so kind of, I topple over under the weight of my own ambition when I don’t have people to reign me in.”

Hansen met Magoni and Kinney through musical circles whereby they found mutual admiration of each other’s musical stylings and that the two genuinely liked what he referred to as his ridiculous songs.

“For this specific project, I build off of what strikes me as an interesting phrase,” Hansen describes, “I’m taking one specific phrase that sounds like it could be a hook in a song and then just constructing lyrics around it. A lot of times what I do is I’ll take that phrase, write free associatively based on what it makes me think of, and then loosely organize that into a song like structure. That’s part of why a lot of my songs involve me talking and not really rhyming, because most of what I write is stream of consciousness and then edited together after the fact.”

Of the performance and pretentious aspects of his project,  whereby each song seems to come from a very odd backstory, Hansen remarks:

“I tend to write in character a lot and a lot of the characters I write for are unreliable narrators so it’s essentially just you know and like, I remember Andrew (Boyfriends, Smokes) said that the song All This Techonology is Making Us Antisocial made him think of just being trapped in a car, some vehicle, with someone who is talking At you and not registering your discomfort.”

He adds,  “There is a lot of that in my music. I think it gives me a freedom to write from the perspective of people who don’t, I guess, have the same social inhibitions that I do. It’s a way of embodying things that I could not get away with in my normal life. Just being this like very strange, very alienating kind of figure. It’s fun to sort of play with that and just you know, write as someone who deliberately breeches social boundaries within a performance context.”

In terms of what is next for The Anthony Hansen Problem, Hansen says he is really enjoying the band’s current momentum. They’ve played three shows in three weeks and are about to head into the studio to record.

“To be honest,  I like working quickly, you know, just keeping things moving. I’m really someone who can’t relax or stay still so I kind of constantly have to be tinkering with things. I mean, that’s the goal as much as anything is to just always have this outlet that I can turn towards and if other people like it that’s great too.”

“I can promise you though,” he adds with a playful grin spreading across his face, “if someone comes along with like a shit ton of money to give us, we are going to sell out all the way. I’m just gonna start making the worst and most vacuous music I possibly can. Probably break up. Then go on a reunion tour that outlasts how long we stayed together originally.”

Catch The Anthony Hansen Problem at Barfly tonight, August 8, 2016. Show starts at 9pm. 7$

heavy montreal

This week is very yellow line centered as two festivals hit Île Sainte-Hélène at the same time, I tell you the coolest (or maybe it’s the most random) thing you could do tonight and we actually mention a local band (Les Breastfeeders) amidst this sea of summer festivals.

Heavy Montreal

For anyone into the metal/hard rock scene the angry little brother of our city’s festival season Heavy Montreal takes over Parc Jean Drapeau for it’s ninth’s edition this Saturday and Sunday. Around since 2008, this fest has steadily grown in popularity and has even seen a re-branding from it’s earlier incarnation Heavy Mtl (or heavy metal!!!!) in order to hopefully gain some crossover appeal and attract fans from a wider variety of musical tastes.

A little piece of advice for the organizers: you can change the name of the fest all you want but when you book bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed, Nightwish, Killswitch Engage, Napalm Death and Hatebreed to play then who are you kidding, it’s a bloody metal show! I guess their idea of diversity is a couple of headliners that are more hard rock than metal.

For those who don’t want to leave the island or pay the rather ummmm heavy ticket prices there’s also a Heavy in the City aspect to the fest with a bunch of smaller shows and after parties you can attend for a fraction of the cost. For example on Sunday you can head down to L’Astral and check out Cult of Luna as part of the official after party.

The most interesting off site activity by far is taking place Thursday night at Concordia University where organizers Grimposium are hosting a screening of the new film Death by Metal followed by a bilingual panel discussion with members of the industry as well as the director Felipe Belalcazar.

This will be followed by the coolest thing you could possibly do tonight, a workshop on how to sing death metal vocals. That and the fact the event is totally free makes this my hands down top pick of the week!

Heavy Montreal plays Plaine Des Jeux at Parc Jean Drapeau, Saturday and Sunday, August 6th and 7th, tickets $149.50 or 275 through Heavy Montreal.

Cult of Luna play L’Astral, 305 Rue Saint-Cahterine Ouest, Sunday, August 7th, 11:45pm (Doors at 10:45pm), tickets $21.50 through Heavy Montreal.

Grimposium presents Death by Metal at Concordia University, VA114 Cinéma, 1395 René-Lévesque Ouest, Thursday August 4th, 7pm, free ($5 suggested donation)

ÎleSoniq

Also taking place at Parc Jean Drapeau this Friday and Saturday will be one of our newer and more musically specific festivals, ÎleSoniq, which basically turns part of Île Sainte-Hélène into a big outdoor rave. This event is also expansive in it’s secondary options available to people who want to stay on the island of Montreal in the form of a series of afterparties.

ÎleSoniq plays Parterre du Parc Jean Drapeau, Friday and Saturday, August 5th and 6th, tickets $95 to $250 available through ÎleSoniq boxoffice.

Yellow Line Fashion Show

For those paying attention to the dates you’ll notice that on Saturday afternoon there will be an overlap of people heading to Île Sainte-Hélène for both ÎleSoniq and Heavy Montreal. The festivals are obviously separate but anyone taking the yellow line will be treated to quite a display of strikingly different fashion senses.

Les Breastfeeders + OL’ CD + Hobo Lord

For those who want a straight up kick ass rock show I suggest you head down to L’Escogriffe on Saturday where Montreal’s own Les Breastfeeders will be playing with the support of two Toronto acts OL’ CD and Hobo Lord. Take a little pinch of punk, a dash of surf, mix it with a three and a half minute garage rock song and you’ve got the recipe for the evening.

In festival season we sometimes get locked into trying to see the biggest and best international acts around. There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s important to remember there are some seriously talented local acts ready to give you their all… and for a much more affordable price.

 Les Breastfeeders, OL’ CD and Hobo Lord play L’Escogriffe, 4467 Saint-Denis, Saturday, August 6th, tickets $10.

* Featured image from Heavy Montreal 2013 by Chris Zacchia

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

the history of gunpowder

Despite what you think, The History of Gunpowder is not an educational band on how gunpowder was brought into existence. Instead this (currently seven piece) band will educate you on the bastards of the world.

Somewhere between dirty blues, indie rock and all around freak-out orchestra, The History of Gunpowder is a rather new powerhouse on the Montreal scene. The band has had around 25 members, always fronted by Alex James Morison, and in Montreal is currently a seven piece featuring Quinn Dennehy on drums, Henri Rabalais on keys, Aleksi Campagne on violin, Stephane Krims on bass, Chris Maskell on tenor and Shawn Rikenbach on bari.

Their latest album, released May 6th and titled Stained Glass, Rye and Wax, features over 17 musicians. From Vancouver to India to Montreal, this album is not only a compilation of talented musicians but tells a story or two throughout.

This isn’t your everyday indie rock album full of love ballads. Inside you’ll find something a little more profound (though it might take you until the third listen to figure it all out).

The album cover proudly boasts a hand-drawn Ostrich (by Eric Brunning) squawking right in your face. That’s kind of what the band feel likes whether you’re listening to their latest album or at one of their in-explicably chaotic live shows. Alex Morison explains the un-explainable nature of their re-occurring aesthetic choice:

“The ostrich doesn’t warrant a proper explanation because absurdity is too inextricably involved in my music. The ostrich is just a potent symbol of something that you hate; it represents a lot of the screeching on the album and a lot of the chaos. You couldn’t represent that shit with a humming bird. It’s taken on a symbol of it’s own.”

Symbolic nature is just the foreplay of the album with potent and compelling storylines running through it. One of the main themes is “about the bastards that exist,” tells Alex James Morison. “Your way of dealing with them and repressing them or rather finding some sort of mechanism of reciprocity towards them. They oppress all of us and they better know what’s coming to them in the end.”

Picture a helpless creature in the middle of the desert. Picture that same creature trying to kill those vultures that pick him out every damn day. This is what one of their songs, The Ditch, feels like with lyrics such as “playing dead in the desert, catching vultures with my butterfly net.”

The Ditch is one of the songs on the album that might hit a particularly intense emotional string for more than one reason. It starts with a schizophrenic man commenting on his illness and what happens in mental institution.

“Quinn was on the street on Saint Catherine,” explains Alex “and the thrifty mother fucker that he is he heard an inspiring voice. It worked perfectly because that song is about being prayed on, being the prey of something. This individual has been the prey of a system that has led him to escaping it. Though I can’t understand his level of oppression and trouble, the ditch is my own song for escapism.”

You won’t just find escapism in their music either, their live set is prone to boughts of theatrics, with a voice that breeds power. It’s not only Alex James Morison’s voice that brings the power. When these performers step to stage, expect more than just their music because here you’ll find a spectacle you won’t easily forget. This even includes a little burlesque including artists such as Aria Delanoche, Frenchy Jones and Fifi Fantôme.

Alex explains what he brings to their live sets: “I want people to come in and not be able to leave the focus of the stage. You paid your good money to see us we’re going to give you as much as we can. You won’t be able to just come in get a beer and not be captivated by the stage. When you come to see The History of Gunpowder live, you’re going to walk away going what the fuck did I just see.”

Check out their latest album, Stained Glass, Rye and Wax, on bandcamp.

osheaga

This week the very unsurprising theme will be what to go see at Osheaga. There’s this little known group from England you might have heard of called Radiohead that I think you might enjoy… who am kidding, this preview will talk about none of the well known acts you already know you’re going to see.

So have fun checking out the Chili Peppers, Death Cab for Cutie, The Lumineers, Cypress Hill, Bloc Party and Lana Del Ray (to name a few) but earlier in the day your plan might be a little less set, so here are some options.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

While this is hardly an obscure act, I couldn’t help myself but put Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats in this preview mostly because this is the group I most want to see, period. Nathaniel’s been around for quite a while now but only started to get “playing at Osheaga” type attention once he formed the Night Sweats.

This new project is a more upbeat, big band, electric guitar style of bluesy soul music than what Rateliff has done in the past and the results have been a positive reaction that has put the singer/songwriter on the mainstream map. Most people’s introduction to the Night Sweats is through the hit S.O.B but I encourage everyone to dig a little deeper in the band’s self titled debut album which is solid top to bottom with well crafted tunes.


Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats plays Scène Verte Sonnet, Sunday, July 31st, 6:25 PM.

Elle King

For those heading down early on Friday be sure not to miss Elle King who’s so-oh-oh-oh-oh fun and upbeat blues/soul/rock/country style will be a great early day choice. We’re hoping Elle breaks out the banjo and tries to make hipsters ho-down.

Elle King plays Scène de la Montagne Molson Canadian, Friday, July 29th, 3:10 PM.

Kaleo

Also on Friday afternoon I would recommend checking out Icelandic four piece volcano rockers Kaleo who have got some of the most beautiful, summery tunes you’ll hear at this year’s fest. Having released their second album A/B earlier this year and getting their songs featured in TV shows and video games these guys are starting to reach a bigger audience and that should include you.

While bands have being playing in odd places to gain attention ever since the Beatles took to the rooftops, these guys took it to a new (and uniquely Icelandic) level. Here they are rockin’ the volcano.

Kaleo plays Scène de la Rivière Virgin Mobile, Friday, July 29th, 2:25 PM.

Official Pre-Party with Elephant Stone + Walrus + Pif Paf

If you’re looking to start your Osheaging (pronuonced oh/sheeeee/age/ ing) off early then head over to Divan Orange on Thursday night for the official Pre-Party which feature Indie rockers Elephant Stone. The local trio are set to release their new album in September and will be (hopefully) playing some of the new tracks.

Here’s their latest music video which, talk about current, features a bit of Pokemon Go.

Joining them on stage will be Halifax natives Walrus and Pif Paf who we have already featured in a previous post.

Elephant Stone, Walrus and Pif Paf play Le Divan Orange, 4234 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Thursday, July 28th, 9:30pm (Doors 8:30pm), tickets $13.90 through indiemontreal.

* Featured image by Chris Zacchia

orkestar kriminal

This week is all about what to do over the next two days as there’s tons of great shows right around the corner. More importantly I tell you where you can get free booze and look at pretty colours.

Well not really 100% free booze but I did at least get your attention a bit didn’t I?

Black Mountain

Head over to the Théâtre Fairmount tonight and you can catch Vancouver based Indie/Prog/Space rockers Black Mountain who released their fourth full length album, aptly titled IV, earlier this year and are now on tour in support.

They’re known for some epic and fairly lengthy tunes, my favorite being Space to Bakersfield, but since this column is supposed to be written to keep the attention of Millennials here’s a poppy track that’s just over 3 minutes long with all sorts of cartoon graphics and bright pretty colours.

Black Mountain play Théâtre Fairmount, 5240 Ave. du Parc, Thursday, July 21st, 9:00pm (Doors 8:00pm), tickets $15 through box office.

MTL Uncovered

Tomorrow night at the Théâtre Paradoxe there’s a very cool and well thought out event going on that’s best described as a “cross-disciplinary arts gala”. Basically it’s a concert, visual arts display and dinner party all rolled into one.

There’s no less than six music acts with headliners for the event being Bayla and Taylor McCluskey, over 30 visual artists displaying their work and Chef Mark Bermudez in charge of creating all the wonderful food. All that and a free wine tasting! Maybe I should have led with free wine tasting.

Various Artists play Théâtre Paradoxe, 5959 Boul. Monk, Friday, July 22nd, 6:30pm, tickets $14 to $28 through ticketscene.

Detroit Party Marching Band + Orkestar Kriminal + Birdbone Theatre

If you like horn sections, mardi gras and a party vibe then I suggest you head over to La Vittrola tonight and check out the music collective Detroit Party Marching Band. While I doubt the stage is big enough to fit all of them I’m pretty sure they really don’t need a stage to play on.

Who knows, maybe they’ll decide to march down St. Laurent and treat everyone to a free show!

Joining them on stage will be Orkestar Kriminal and Birdbone Theatre who also seem to have no fear of performing in public spaces. Here’s a great video for lovers of our Metro system and yet another encouraging sign that this evening might take to the streets.

Detroit Party Marching Band, Orkestar Kriminal and Birdbone Theatre play La Vittrola, 4602 Boul St-Laurent, Thursday, July 21st, 9:00pm (Doors 8:30pm), tickets $12 in advance through box office or $15 at the door.

Fredua Boakye

“Growing up, people were always telling me that I was the ‘whitest Black kid’ they knew because I loved ‘white rock music’ like Radiohead and Dead Kennedys,” says Fredua of Bad Rabbits. He laughs, and quickly responds to them: “But you can’t ‘act a colour,’ and Rock & Roll culture isn’t reserved for X race. But I will say this until my dying day: Rock & Roll was created by a Black Queer woman named Rosetta Tharpe.”

Fredua is the frontman of Bad Rabbits, and I had the honour to speak with him about race, rock, and his thoughts on being a Black American in 2016.

Fredua tells me that conversations of race and belonging within his scene have always been a part of his consciousness, explaining the common lamentation among young men of colour that he was never “Black enough” for the Black kids, and “too Black” for the white kids.

“I considered myself a hybrid from the jump because nobody on either side liked me… The only kids who accepted me in school were the punk rock kids.” For Fredua, this embrace of the punk scene of the late 80s led to an early and profound appreciation for bands like Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, and Public Enemy.

The moment of clarity that gave Fredua a real understanding of how he could fit into the Rock scene came when he saw Fishbone and Living Colour music videos, with Black musicians like Kendall Jones and Vernon Reid “not rapping, not singing, just jamming with guitars. When people said I was the ‘whitest Black guy’… There was nothing ‘white’ about what I was doing. Period. I was doing what I saw, and that was a Black person playing this music.”

When I asked Fredua about conversations of race in his current role as the frontman of a multi-ethnic band in a scene dominated by white dudes, he emphatically affirmed that there has never been racial tension at a Bad Rabbits show, as people are too busy having a good time. It’s when he stops making music for people to dance to, and starts talking about things that make him angry and upset – like the ability for police to routinely kill Black people with impunity – that tempers begin to flare.

Fredua explains, “There are probably a bunch of my fans that are inherently racist, and I know this because I’ve argued with them. They’re the types that grew up thinking Black people are supposed to only be entertainers or basketball players. When they see me speaking my mind it’s suddenly ‘Fredua, you’re an entertainer, you shouldn’t be talking like that!’ People are angry at the fact that I have the nerve to talk about things going on instead of making a song for them to dance to.”

In response to the recent spate of highly-publicized killings of Black people by police, Fredua posted a video to his personal Facebook page in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Fredua tells me that the response from most friends and fans was positive, but one fan came out of the woodwork to leave the following comment: “I follow you because I think your old band was awesome, but let’s be honest, this militant black guy thing isn’t working out for anyone.”

Fredua explains it’s no skin off his nose – people who see him not as a Black human being, but strictly an entertainer aren’t real fans anyway. The reluctance of white peers and fans to see him as anything but a stage presence has bothered Fredua since he first started singing: “I look back at school, and I mean, I did chorus for the girls. Don’t get me wrong,” he says with a laugh, “The girls loved my voice. But they didn’t love me. Because I didn’t look like them.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 7.54.37 PM

I asked Fredua if these reactions to his showmanship bother him when he looks back on them, and he is quick to point out that he’s one of the lucky ones. “I lived out my dream. That dream was to make music and act like a damn fool for the rest of my natural life, and I don’t have to worry about aging because I found the fountain of youth through music. I have a beautiful house and a beautiful wife and a beautiful dog and I get to do something I love all the time.”

Fredua mentioned that Bad Rabbits has a new album one year in the making that will have more anger in it than previous records. He describes some of the album’s lyrical content as “two year’s worth of anger,” much of it directed toward the issues that we spoke about.

The new album, American Nightmare, is planned to drop in September, but will likely end up coming sooner. When I naively asked if the early release was due to the urgency of the message, Fredua’s voice dropped to that sacred place where the spirit meets the bone:

“This is the thing that kills me about this issue of police brutality,” Fredua says calmly, but with palpable fury. Cops are always gonna kill people. As long as there’s a justice system that lets these people kill someone and go about their day, there is never gonna be any type of change. This country is hell bent on keeping things the way it is – to keep the haves and the have-nots, the white and the Black, the Us and the Them, separate.”

The footage of the recent shootings and lack of legal action against the officers involved has made it abundantly clear to the public that it is possible to kill a Black person with little to no consequence. Black activists like Fredua, understandably furious that their lives are proven to be worth less than white victims of similar violence, are routinely portrayed by mainstream media as “armed-and-dangerous Black Power rebels,” seconds away from violence.

Fredua (Second from left) with Bad Rabbits
Fredua (Second from left) with Bad Rabbits

In an interview with The New Yorker, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza explained that this image is “a battle that we are consistently having to fight. Standing up for the rights of black people as human beings and standing against police violence and police brutality makes you get characterized as being anti-police or it has you being characterized as cop killers, neither of which we are.”

Fredua expressed a similar frustration, explaining that “it’s easier for news channels like CNN, MSNBC, and FOX to show footage of angry Black people on TV than it is for them to show smart Black people with an idea. Nobody is listening to the solutions we’re trying to offer. And the picture they put up of the shooter in Dallas? A pissed-off black man with a dashiki and a fist up? That puts a target on my fucking back!”

Despite all of the difficult topics that came up in our conversation, Fredua’s determination to keep performing and thriving as a Black man in America in 2016 shines through. His concluding statement was one of hope:

“I was raised by two West African immigrants that came to this country on an American dream…I’m gonna make sure that I achieve it through them with my voice. That dream was to have a prosperous, peaceful, God-fearing life. I will die for that. I’m not afraid for a shooter coming to my show, I’ll jump in front of any bullet to protect a fan. I’m gonna do what I do until I die. I will literally die for this.”

shazamfest

This week we will take a special look at Shazamfest which kicks off tonight with a “pre party” and runs through the weekend. This fest, located in Barnstone-Ouest in the Eastern Townships, is the perfect activity for those looking to get out of the city for a camping weekend.

Trust me it will be a lot more interesting than just sitting around a campfire with that annoying guy and his acoustic guitar that he only kinda knows how to play. You should note that camping is free to anyone with a ticket to the festival and parking is ten bucks, prices vary depending on what ticket package you buy.

No car? No worries. This year they’ve added a shuttle bus from Montreal which leaves Friday at 6:00pm and gets you back Sunday night. Or for those in really good shape you can bike on over and they’ll give you a 20% discount.

Les Deuxluxes + BlackVoid

One of the great things about this fest is that it’s really geared for people to spend the weekend there without having to take time off work. On Friday the shows only start at 5:30 pm and on Sunday they end by 7:00pm with a “D.J afterparty” for those who can stick around.

In order to accommodate weekend travelers but still pack in a full fest lineup they’re putting performances on late into the night. For example, those who arrive later on Friday will still be treated to music into the wee hours in the form of rock bands  Les Deuxluxes and BlackVoid who will be on at 12:00am and 1:3o am respectively.

Inword

Some forms of music just sound better on a warm summer day in the mid day sun out in the country. One such example is reggae, which is probably why the festival has scheduled Inword to play Saturday in the late afternoon (5:30pm to be exact).

This Montreal based act is the perfect choice to get people into a nice groove and a must see for anyone heading there this weekend.

Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra

With a fusion of afro-columbian and eastern european sounds Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra is musically hard to classify but physically very easy to dance to. You really want to check out their bandcamp page and give their very unique sound a listen.

They’re taking to the stage on Saturday night at 9 and should really set a the tone for the second evening of the fest.

‘Let It Burn’ Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra from Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra on Vimeo.

Non-Music Activities

It’s also important to mention this fest isn’t all music, there’s tons of different activities and performances with highlights including a burlesque show by Capital Tease Burlesquea skate competition, professional wrestling and a Redneck Beard & Mustache Competition.

In terms of the facial hair competition there’s seven different categories to compete in (one of them being fake beards, ladies) over $1000 dollars in prizes and a 15% discount off the festival for anyone who enters. Can anyone say hipster heaven? Who knew that this whole time you’ve been growing your ironic mustache it might actually net you some cash.

ShazamFest runs 15th to the 17th of July and is located at 2722 Chemin de Ways Mills, Barnston-Ouest, QC.

lineup2 (with USC)-page-001

Starting tonight and for the next four days, Kickdrum presents a Summer Marathon featuring 50 local acts in 16 shows. A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hanging out at Kitsuné’s cozy terrace, drinking coffee, and chatting with Kickdrum founder and director Joshua Spencer.

joshIn the couple of years that Kickdrum has been active, the company has changed and grown considerably to become one of Montreal’s local music’s main current supporters. Its Summer Marathon is a sort of love letter to the creativity and range of local talent.

Spencer, at the helm and heart of Kickdrum, recounts the project’s early origins when he and his band were looking to release new music and, as a recent business school graduate, he’d been assigned to find a way to market it. As a student, Spencer spent much of his time avoiding the stress vibes of the library, studying in independent cafés instead. This is where inspiration struck:

“Once I was at these cafes I realized most of the baristas are artists or musicians themselves. Everyone who is in there is either a student or an artist and the communities combine and interconnect so well. So I thought, hey, there’s a great opportunity to take what Starbucks and iTunes are doing on a very corporate level and doing it extremely local. So I tried that for a little while but the way I was trying to deliver it wasn’t the best and a little too involved. It was too complicated for the café owner and all parties involved for it to run in a sustainable way.”

In June, 2015, with a PA system in tow, Spencer starting putting on small shows using the connections he’d built with café owners. Kickdrum began offering intimate setting shows with backyard events at Café Santropol and a bi-weekly series at Blanc de Blanc.

“We did A LOT of café shows in the last summer,” Spencer recounts, “then towards the end, in August, a band and I mutually approached each other for management. At this point, I really wanted to get into managing artists. Soon after, I picked up a second band and, in the fall, picked up a third band along with a solo artist.”

While managing these bands, Spencer starting to branch outside of his café network to book shows at places like Casa del Popolo, Divan Orange and Cagibi. He began noticing a space for promoting and booking independent bands that he felt only a few groups were actively doing (groups like Passovah, BTSB, Evenko, and Analog Addiction). Adding another promoter and booker to the mix could only serve to benefit of local musicians across the board, especially as different scenes interact and blend in novel ways.

Kickdrum also produces a series of music videos called the Klatsch Sessions that showcases local talent, although the series has taken a backseat during Summer Marathon preparation. On top of that, one of Kickdrum’s other offerings comes in the form of curation of playlists and mix tapes featuring hundreds of local acts:

“For people to listen more locally, it’s a matter of making it easy to find. So if you can just know that Kickdrum works with almost 100% local Montreal acts and every couple of weeks there is a new playlist. There is an infinite amount of bands. You can listen through for hours and hours and discover 100+ local independent bands and they are all sort of genres anything from soul and jazz to electronic to noise rock. For me, it’s awesome. I love sharing these playlists and seeing people respond and clasp on to local bands.”

In January 2016, Kickdrum hosted its first music festival which was inspired as a “big middle finger to winter” and a desire to hear music in intimate spaces where people could converse away from blaring music and less alcohol focused. It was the first festival Spencer organized, and in the heart of winter, which he feels he has learned a lot from the experience.

This week Kickdrum presents its first Summer Marathon. Knowing that Montreal is spilling over with festivals during the summer, Spencer wanted to put something on that was affordable and with a uniquely local emphasis.

The Summer Marathon offers four shows a day. Every day there is an outdoor show at Blanc de Blanc and one Le Cagibi show, with more full venue sound shows at La Vitrola, Casa del Popolo, and/or Bar Le Ritz.

“One of the bands I’m really excited about is How Sad,” Spencer says excitedly, “I caught his last show at Divan Orange and it was really great. He is playing on the last day, he is kind of the finale show playing at Divan Orange with Our Book & The Authors and Isabelle Young.”

“We have a franco show on July 13th with Samuele, Mon Doux Saigner, Helena Deland, and Claude l’Anthrope at Bar Le Ritz PDB. We have those four to kick it off. It’s going to be unreal.”

Of the 50 bands playing, the Summer Marathon d’Été offers bands that Kickdrum has worked with before along with a slew of newcomers. Additionally, as a commitment Spencer made on International Women’s Day, in putting together the short fest he has prioritized having more diverse gender representation of artists selected.

“There are so many good ones! I’m really pumped for, another band I’ve worked with before, but I really dig is CO / NTRY,” he exclaims, “Beaver Sheppard is in it. They call themselves sleazeway. It’s total sleazewave. It’s very synth y and guitar but then like, yeah, it’s grimey. They are playing with Wake Island and Smokes, one of my favourite Montreal bands, and Tracer Flare. That’s gonna be a really cool show.”

“The most different shows, there are two that stand out of me. The hardest show of the festival is definitely going to be NOBRO and Nanimal at Casa. Then the other show that stands out is The LYONZ, my favourite rapper/producer in Montreal, and then Raveen, mix between James Blake and Caribou so electronic and soul and then we have Static Gold and Heaven Tide both electro soul afro funk sorta thing.”

Spencer’s passion for the artists he has worked with and supported through Kickdrum shines through. Throughout the interview, he beams when talking about different local acts participating in the Summer Marathon.

Spencer’s other main passion is environmental policy and activism and so Spencer has found a way to bring these two passions together: the Kickdrum Summer Marathon has teamed up with an organization called Plus One so that one dollar from each ticket sale go towards USC Canada’s Seeds of Survival program. The marathon will also feature a screening of the climate documentary The Cross of the Moment at Nomad Live (129 Van Horne).

You can purchase tickets and find out more at kickdrum.info

 

Abigail Bliss

On tap this time around: I completely ignore the last few days of the Jazzfest and give you some great date ideas for a rainy Saturday night, tell you the best places to rock out for the next week and feebly attempt deep musical analysis.

Also keep an eye out for FTB’s preview/review of KickDrum Summer Marathon which is a brand new fest here in Montreal that’s six days, seven venues and over 50 bands worth of  “100% Montreal-based artists.”

Abigail & Bliss + The History of Gunpowder

At this time of year The Main is usually abuzz with festivals, street fairs and general night time rowdiness. If you’re around on Saturday night I suggest detouring over to Prince Arthur, finding a nice bring your own wine place for dinner (author’s recommendation: Le Square) and then heading to Petit Campus to check out Abigail & Bliss

This local act has been around since 2010 and have recently released their first full length album. Here’s the track Night Bus which for me brings back memories of taking the 356 home after a big night out. Maybe you took a different bus route but the experience for everyone seems to be the same.

Joining them on stage will be the self proclaimed “six-piece freak out orchestra” The History of Gunpowder. If that doesn’t sound crazy enough they’ve decided to enlist the help of two local burlesque dancers Fifi Fantôme and Sugar Vixen to add to the live show insanity.

Abigail & Bliss and The History of Gunpowder play Petit Campus, 57 Prince-Arthur Est, Saturday, July 9th, 10:00pm (Doors at 9:0pm), $10.

The Cult + The Damn Truth

Certainly the big show of the week will be taking place at the Metropolis on Sunday night where British rockers The Cult will swinging by our fair city as part of a summer of touring. In February they released their new album Hidden City which holds true to the signature sounds that fans of the band have come to know and love.

Heavy guitars, Morrisonesque vocals and a driving rhythm section will be in abundance on Sunday for you hard rockers to enjoy.

If that wasn’t enough you’ll also get to see local rockers The Damn Truth who are coming out with their new album Devilish Folk on July 8th! A couple weeks ago they released a video for the track Heart Is Cold. Does anyone else think the beginning reminds you a bit of the cheerleaders in the Teen Spirit video?

The Cult and The Damn Truth play Metropolis, 59 St Catherine East, Sunday, July 10th, 8:00pm (Doors at 6:30pm), $48 in advance through box office ($53 at the door).

Ashbringer + Vow of Thorns + Spectral Wound

If you’re into either black metal or partying on Tuesdays (or both, cause who isn’t) then I suggest you head down to Casa Del Popolo and check out Ashbringer, Vow of Thorns and Spectral Wound. This show is not for the weak of ear, expect an intense sonic experience from all three acts.

I particularly like the Ashbringer track Oceans Apart which pulls you in, pushes you away then pulls you back in again. Kinda like and Ocean if you think about it… and there’s my terrible attempt at being deep.

 Ashbringer, Vow of Thorns and Spectral Wound play Casa Del Popolo, 4873 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Tuesday, July 12th, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:00pm), $5.

Grand Splendid + Rust Eden + Das Blankout

For those who were planning on enjoying their Saturday with a nice summer day outside: don’t. It’s supposed to rain and be an overall terribly miserable day, perfect for listening to indie rock at an indoor music venue.

As luck would have it, three local acts of the indie variety (Grand Splendid, Rust Eden and Das Blankout) will be performing that evening at a place with four wall and a roof. Check out the dreamy, intensely eerie track All Good Things for an example of what to expect.

Grand Splendid, Rust Eden and Das Blankout play Casa Del Popolo, 4873 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Saturday, July 9th, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:30pm), $6 in advance through box office ($8 at the door).

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