Osheaga‘s back this weekend for 3 full days of music, art, food and fun in what is likely to be very hot sun. The lineup this year is as impressive as ever with some very big names sure to draw big crowds.

Here at FTB though we try not to focus on any of those big names. It just seems a little silly to preview what you already know.

Instead we’ll be talking about the hidden gems playing earlier in the day when you might be more inclined to wander aimlessly and get to know a new artist. Here’s who I’m most looking forward to getting to know, feel free to check out their full lineup and form your own opinion.

Stay hydrated my friends!

Disclaimer: This list is totally biased to what I’m into at the moment so don’t tell me I missed someone or it’s in some way wrong.

Teke::Teke

I’ve always had a soft spot for surf rock bands, especially when they list Takeshi Terauchi as their biggest influence. If you don’t know who he is I advise you to do a quick little google search.

It also doesn’t hurt that Teke::Teke are from good ol’Montreal and what would Osheaga be like without a little hometown bias in the preview.

Give them a listen and you’ll see they’ve got the old surf rock vibe but with some twists. There’s a lot of modern elements as well as some traditional Japanese instruments mixed in for good measure.

grandson

While I’m not super familiar with grandson, his track Apologize keeps showing up everywhere and I’m curious to get to know a little more about him. He’s a relatively young artist and starting to get chart-level success so this might be a “I remember when” situation where you get to catch someone before they really blow up.

Mallrat

I’ve always found it funny that “fashionably late” even applies to concerts in Montreal. If you’re like me and actually make it to places at the correct time you can check out Mallrat bright and early at the crack of 1 pm on Sunday.

I know, what an ungodly hour to be awake, and on a Sunday no less! But it will be well worth it. At just 20 years old, this Australia singer/rapper is already starting to make waves, best to get on the boat early.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

The elevator pitch for why St.Paul & The Broken Bones is on this list, the dude can sing like it’s nobody’s business. A whole lot of soul, a little bit of funk and a superb horn section have me curious to see what the live version of the tracks I’ve heard will sound like.

Mitski

Ok so Mitski is definitely not a lesser known artist but she’s on in the afternoon so it might still count. Besides, this is my list and I’ll do what I want!

She’s the winner of the “Osheaga Artist I’ve Been Listening to Most Lately Award” and as the winner of this completely arbitrary prize she wins a spot on this list.

Mac DeMarco

In this case I have no excuse, it’s super duper duper breaking the rules to put Mac DeMarco on the list. So he’ll go at the bottom and I won’t dwell on it for long but I had to since the “hipster Jimmy Buffet” is absolutely nuts live, don’t forget to go see him, who knows what craziness he’ll get up to.

You might even get to hear his tone deaf drummer sing classic rock songs like he did last summer at Lollapalooza. Like who does that?!?

While this year’s line-up at Osheaga is heavy on the electronic and hip hop acts, there are still plenty of bands for those of you who want to rock out. And personally, while it’s nice to have the mix, sometimes you just want to rock out.

Here my picks for the best indie rock performers playing Osheaga this year:

Real Estate

Indie pop sensations Real Estate have found themselves at a crossroads with their last LP, with longtime lead guitarist Matt Mondanile leaving the band, but still have the chops to take it all the way.

In Mind (2017), their fourth studio album and one recorded in the absence of Mondanile, shows the band is still very viable. With this album taking them in new directions, the future looks for Real Estate.

Sunday, August 4, 4:30pm @ National Bank Stage

Mac Demarco

I was supposed to avoid writing about the headliners, and let’s face it Mac Demarco is a headliner even if he isn’t the top bill. He has played shows in front of tens of thousands, spawned a resurgence in semi-psychedelic lo-fi sound (and many have tired to copy his trademark sound), and he smokes the king of all cigarettes, Viceroy.

His lo-fi sound started in Mile End but has now reached the four quadrants of the world. And boy has it been one long strange trip.

He’s known for being an oddball and goofing around on stage, so expect to see some serious antics! But his unique sound gives him the tight niche of laid back slacker rock that is just very compelling and very good.

Sunday, August 5, 5:15pm @ Bell Alt TV River Stage

Teke:: Teke

The eclectic coming together of musicians from well-known Montreal bands (Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra, Boogat, Pawa) created Japanese-influenced post-punk psychorockers Teke:: Teke.

If you yen for some traditional Japaneese  surf rock infusion then this might be the band for you.

Friday, August 2 3:45 @ Perrier Tree Stage

Braids

Montreal Art rock band Braids will take the stage a year after winning the Juno for Best Alternative Rock group.

They got me with their 80s electronic beats over Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s vocals, which can be pretty haunting at times especially when infused with some pretty interesting vocal effects.

Sunday, August 4th, 1pm @ Honda Valley Stage

Kurt Vile and the Violators

I’ve been a fan of Kurt Vile ever since the first time I saw him play at Casa del Popolo. He was alone at the time playing his guitar with crazy pedal effects and his sweet nasal voice. Sufficed to say, I was pretty impressed.

His lo-fi sound and voice fills the psychedelia of his songs with wry, sardonic lyrics. His last album Lotta Sea Lice, co-written with Courtney Barnette, was truly inspiring and now he’ll be on stage with the Violators, a band that adds overall emphasis to his unique style.

Friday August 2, 8:15pm @ Honda Valley Stage

We Are Monroe

If you really need to rock out at Osheaga this year then check out Montreal’s own We Are Monroe. They are part classic rock with a new twist Their singer brings a great voice in the singing style of The Black Keys complimented by some terrific backup guitar.

Friday August 2, 2:20pm @ Perrier Tree Stage

Reignwolf

Part metal, part rock, this band knows how to riff out an amazingly catchy song. They flew under the radar for a long time until Rolling Stone magazine called them one of the top 10 artists you need to know.

Now, with their new album out Hear Me Out (2019), they are set to go on tour with The Who later this year. Catch them while you can.

Saturday, August 3, 8:40pm @ Perier Stage

Osheaga runs Friday August 2nd to Sunday August 4th at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Tickets available through Osheaga.com

Featured Image Courtesy of Laura Fedele/WFUV

Have you ever had one of those 3am conversations with a fellow music aficionado, sitting on the floor with vinyl records strewn about, debating the merits of certain genres of music in a kind of stream-of-consciousness free-flow of observations and criticisms? If not, Fred Armisen can give you the full experience.

Saturday night at the Olympia, the former Saturday Night Live star, co-creator of Portlandia and band leader for Late Night with Seth Meyers took to the stage for his one-man show and immediately began asking questions he’s clearly been pondering for years now: how can you tell when a jazz solo for upright bass has ended? Why don’t violinists cue up the orchestra? Why do horn players always talk about money?

The evening is a journey into the mind of a man who has spent the past several decades observing the oddities of both music and comedy. He calls the show “Comedy For Musicians… but everyone is welcome“. There really couldn’t be a more apt title. The audience ate it up, but those with a musical background clearly got more out of the show.

It helped that the crowd was well­­ warmed-up by local comedian Francois Bellefeuille, who gave a Nasty Show-worthy anecdote about his internship as a veterinarian, where he found himself having to masturbate a horse to completion and get graded for it.

Armisen, perhaps not having heard his set, awkwardly brought the subject back to horses at one point in his own act, noting that they always seem to look through you with little interest. To the audience‘s relief, the subject promptly swung back to music.

Like the best kind of high school teacher, Armisen exudes a casual warmth that immediately puts you at ease, while also piquing your interest. True, there were moments where his delivery almost recalled that of Nicholas Fehn, his SNL character who was famously unable to complete a single sentence without starting another.

Nevertheless, much of the pleasure in the show came from his ability to hop, skip and jump around. He even copped to the unorthodox nature of his comedy, saying “When I first came up with that – I guess I’ll call it a joke”. In a festival overflowing with punchlines, his approach to humour was a breath of fresh air.

Armisen took us through the percussive evolution of Punk Rock and vented on the following: needlessly long pieces of classical music, guitar players who sing along to their own solos, singers who pretend they can‘t reach their notes when they clearly can, and guitarists who make feedback a large part of their act.

In his best bit, he reenacted what he believed must have been the inner narrative of the studio drummer performing the opening to Diana Ross’ hit “I’m Coming Out”.

At one point, Armisen even lead the audience in an improvised sing-along reminiscent of his hilarious Garth and Kat SNL sketches, where he and costar Kristen Wiig would have to keep up with each other’s spur-of-the-moment lyrics.

The audience was able to follow along, and for their efforts were rewarded with a few short songs by some of Armisen’s fictional bands, Test Pattern and Blue Jean. They left with only one complaint: that the musician left without returning for an encore, which the crowd eagerly demanded. Here’s hoping the next time Armisen returns to Montreal, he is ready and willing to give them more of what they came for.

Tickets for other Just For Laughs shows are available at hahaha.com.

I woke up this morning and saw my weather app tell me that there was going to be thunderstorms today. Luckily, that was a lie. Under the somewhat cloudy sky, the bands played on. My personal highlight of the day was Metalachi playing three Iron Maiden songs in a row in their unique “Heavy Metal Mariachi” style. (Interview with them coming soon.)

But of course today was also full of some ridiculously amazing headliners too. Slash, Anthrax, and Slayer! Honestly, if you weren’t see there to experience this in all its glory, you missed out!

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Banh Mi Pork Tacos from the Grumman 78 stand!

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Beast in Black at #HeavyMontreal2019

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@dirtyhoneyband at #HeavyMontreal2019

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Photos by Adrien G Photo

Heavy Montreal 2019 started off on one of the hottest Saturdays of the year so far. But the organizers were prepared, because there were water sprinklers literally everywhere to keep the metalheads cool. That being said, the amount of long-haired headbangers would probably also be enough for that. If you’ve ever stood in front of one such headbanger, you’ll know that their hair acts as a fan. Keep that in mind next time you attend a summer metal festival. (Or for tomorrow, if you’re already attending Heavy Montreal.)

Personally, my highlight of this Saturday was Evanescence. Amy Lee still rocks and the whole band knows how to get the crowd going. Ghost is up on the Heavy Stage as I type these words and they look… weird. I kind of get Rammstein like vibes from them? Really out there, dramatic, theatrical. Anyways, check below for all the good good Instagram content I created today. And be sure to check in tomorrow for even more Instagram content and some interviews. It’s gonna be great.

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Cancer Bats at #HeavyMontreal2019

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Heavy Montreal 2019 is right around the corner, so metalheads all around this beautiful Heavy Metal City™ that we call Montreal are trying to figure out which bands they want to see.

Slayer? Anthrax? Evanescence? Slash? Godsmack? Skillet? I mean sure, yeah, you can go watch the bands that we all know. But this loud festival is also the perfect opportunity to expand your horizons and get to know some local rockers. So without further ado, let me bring you that horizon.

Mountain Dust

White Bluffs by Mountain Dust

Mountain Dust is basically what would happen if Ennio Morricone was a rockstar. Vocalist Brendan Mainville tells some very cool stories that have ups and downs worthy of being made into Spaghetti Westerns of their own. The music rides the waves of these lyrics, ebbing and flowing between calm clean vibrato chords and violent riffs that’ll get you moving.

Mountain Dust will be playing July 28th at 1pm on the Monster Energy APOCALYPSE Stage

Junkowl

Sickness Lives by Junkowl

Despite having formed in 2017, Junkowl’s first album Ravenous comes out in Fall 2019. Still, they’ve made a name for themselves in the ol’ Heavy Metal City™ with their energetic performances. And you know they have what it takes, since they won this year’s En Route Vers Heavy and literally earned their spot to perform. So technically speaking, this is gonna be an award-winning performance!

Junkowl will be playing July 28th at 1pm on the Brasseur de Montréal GARDEN Stage

Dopethrone

Killdozer by Dopethrone

Dopethrone plays a unique Canadian genre they call slutch metal – in their words: “A foul Canadian mix of yellow snow, crackhead diarrhea, blood, tears and broken dreams.” Make of that what you will, but Dopethrone’s music is not for the faint of heart. They’re heavy, they’re angry, and there will be a heck ton of trashing.

Dopethrone will be playing July 28th, at 1:30pm on the Blabbermouth FOREST Stage.

The Great Sabatini

Still Life with Maggots by The Great Sabatini

I really like how The Great Sabatini describes themselves. “Our music is an aggressive mixture of noise rock, doom, hardcore, and metal wrapped up in a burly sludge aesthetic. All four of us handle vocal duties. We play loud, and with conviction.” Thick riffs, loud vocals, and dare I say some funny themes? (Just look at the video above.) I’m looking forward to this one.

The Great Sabatini will be playing July 28th at 3:20pm on the Brasseur de Montréal GARDEN Stage

Despised Icon

Day of Mourning by Despised Icon

Despised Icon has only one objective: to absolutely melt your face off with speedy speedy riffs and explosive blast beats. Seriously, it’s ridiculous how fast drummer Alex Pelletier can go. This is the kind of metal all those naysayers think of when they say metal music is too violent. All the more reason to check them out, if you ask me.

Despised Icon will be playing July 28th at 2:40pm on the Black Label HEAVY Stage

Kataklysm

… And Then I Saw Blood by Kataklysm

We’re now getting into some more established bands. Kataklysm is a classic death metal band who has been around since 1991. Their latest album “Meditations” somewhat refreshes their sound, making it more melodic and… accessible, for the lack of a better word. All that is to say, whether this is the first time you’re hearing of this band or you’re a seasoned veteran, their Heavy Montreal performance is going to shred.

Kataklysm will be playing July 27th at 2:40pm on the Black Label HEAVY Stage.

Anonymus

La mèche est courte par Anonymus

Comme l’avait dit Rémy Belley aux commentaires de la video ci-dessus, “MÉTAL QUÉBÉCOIS TABARNAKK !!!” Mais seriously, Anonymus est le seul groupe dans cette liste qui chante en français. But of course, that’s not the only thing they have going for themselves. This 30 year-old thrash band still slaps. Their latest album “Sacrifices,” has everything that a thrash fan wants: speedy riffs, thick breakdowns, and melodic solos. Give’em a listen and then come check them out.

Anonymus will be playing July 27th at 2pm on the Monster Energy APOCALYPSE Stage

Heavy Montreal runs July 27th and 28th, tickets available through HeavyMontreal.com

Look for our coverage tomorrow and Sunday on social media and here on the site!

Yeah, maybe summer 2019 has been a little mellow so far, but nothing lasts forever… and Montréal’s most kickin’ punk festival is finally back in town and ready to rumble for its third season, celebrating the last 40 plus years of punk rock.

The one-day punk festival, ’77 Montreal, will be going down for its third year in a row once again this Friday the 26th at Parc Jean-Drapeau, with headlining bands Bad Religion and Pennywise as well as many more.

Including an exciting mix of punk groups from far and wide, such as The Exploited all the way from the UK, to Wavves from California, to our very own Montreal punk rock bands like the Gutter Demons and Red Mass, who will all be featured at this year’s ’77 Montréal for a fully immersive punk rock festival experience. You can find the full lineup below.

’77 Montreal boasts an experience for all ages of punk rockers, with free entrance for kids 10 and under and a Kids Zone equipped with crafts, games, and a relaxation area. The festival will also bring out some of Montréal’s staple food and beer vendors, as well as a record and poster fair, the ‘Marché aux Punx’, to anyone looking to satisfy their nostalgic fix through vintage vinyl, posters, collectible items, and other exhibitions.

Dawn McSweeney, who covered the event for FTB last year, made a playlist for this year’s event to get you ready:

Take a sneak peak of what ’77 Montréal has waiting for you and check out this ’77 MTL 2019 Spotify Playlist!

Tickets are on sale on ’77 Montreal’s website for $77 plus tax, with a Gold Pass option available for $117. And for those of you who don’t wanna miss out on Montréal’s Heavy metal festival, you can also get the 3 day Weekend Warriors pass for only $225 which includes tickets to both festivals!

2019 Lineup: Bad Religion, Pennywise, Streetlight Manifesto, The Exploited, BIGWIG, Wavves, Four Year Strong, OFF!, Pulley, Cro-Mags, The Dirty Nil, The Menzingers, Charly Bliss, Avengers, Mute, Gutter Demons, SUDDEN IMPACT, Red Mass, The Anti-Queens, Young Party, The Lookout, and more to come

In April, the Montreal City Council officially dubbed it a “heavy metal city”. The whole thing seems to be City Councillor Craig Sauvé’s idea – or at the very least, it was Sauvé who brought this to the Council’s attention.

Sauvé’s motion basically says that Quebecois heavy metal – with Montreal at its center – is globally acknowledged for its quality and the liveliness of its local scene. 

As this year’s Heavy Montreal (formerly known as Heavy MTL) approaches, this whole Heavy Metal City™ thing got me thinking. First of all, what the heck does that even mean?

Well… As mentioned in Sauvé’s motion, Montreal has a very rich history of metal. So many great bands got their starts in our beloved city – or around it at least. Sauvé mentions Cryptopsy, Necrotic Mutation, and Despised Icon, but those are but a few examples. Voivod wasn’t included in that list because it’s technically from Jonquière, even though they are very active in the city to this day. On top of these more classic bands, you also got groups like Mountain Dust and The Great Sabatini, which keep the scene always fresh.

But you don’t get to be a Heavy Metal City™ by just producing good bands. You’ve also got to have a pumped up audience to get trashing. And oh boy do Montreal crowds trash. I’ve been to quite a few shows here and it’s always a treat. Sure, you pay to see the bands perform your favourite songs, but the true joy comes from experiencing it together with a bunch of long haired, black t-shirt wearing, sweaty people headbanging and jumping up and down. 

And also Metallica’s James Hetfield has said (among a thousand other people) that Montreal is his favourite city to play. Sure, he may say that a lot, but to say that about the place where you suffered serious burns on stage and then Axl Rose still got the headlines, that’s some serious love of our audiences.

That being said I’m just a young boy, so feel free to doubt my experience and expertise on this matter. But…Montreal was the home to North America’s first international heavy metal festival, aptly named World War III. 

I wasn’t even alive in 1985. But talking to Hellbound in 2010, “Toronto scene mainstay” Dave Busch was “blown away by such an incredible lineup.” You had Quebec’s Voivod, California’s Possessed, Florida’s Nasty Savage, Switzerland’s Celtic Frost, and Germany’s Destruction. 

And although the vibrancy of Montreal’s local scene is in a league of its own, it is this global, international side of things that makes me think that Montreal truly deserves this new-ish title. What was started in 1985 lives on today via Heavy Montreal.

I’ve been self-proclaiming as a Montrealer for only seven years, but I’ve been to every Heavy Montreal since 2012. And while I hate the commute to and from Parc Jean-Drapeau, I still end up at Heavy Montreal because they keep attracting great metal bands from all over the world.

Montreal doesn’t really need its City Council to officially dub it a Heavy Metal City™ to be one. The metalheads of this city already knew that. But there are still some benefits to this acknowledgment. 

Metal remains the so-called “black sheep” of music genres. It’s loud, in-your-face, and VioLEnt (whatever that means.) People have no trouble embracing genres like jazz or indie pop. Getting that official recognition might make it easier for the nay-sayers to get over themselves. 

One such nay-sayer was councillor Marvin Rotrand who was concerned that heavy metal is too ViOlEnt. I mean yes, but it’s not like a musical genre can be inherently evil. If anything, it’s like a pitbull. It might end up being bad at the hands of bad people. But like, let me enjoy my metal, I don’t do anything bad with it. Get over yourself. Listen to some Black Album Metallica and embrace this beautiful genre, like the city did.

Heavy Montreal 2019 is July 27-28 at Parc Jean-Drapeau. A preview of some of the acts to check out this year is coming soon

I arrive at my first Piknic Électronik of this summer, (#8 of 2019), two road-beers down the hatch and eager as ever after a long week to get some sun and dance to some electronic music (or more so in my case, sway back and forth as rhythmically as I can relative to the ratio of sangria I’ve consumed over time).

I, of course, have naively failed to account for the rather large crowd that Piknic often attracts on a day as beautiful as this, and with the same idea (and perhaps gusto) as everyone else, head for Parc Jean-Drapeau at peak hour, and am consequently forced to sober up some while I wait in the tunnels of the vastly over-crowded yellow line.

The train is packed full, and we all spill out of the station in a mass, ambling to the main entrance of Piknic. Luckily, though, the line at the rather densely packed entrance is quite large, it moves slowly but surely, and as I wait to receive an entrance bracelet from a smiling staff member, the atmosphere is reinvigorated by the excitement of those around me. Their enthusiasm fuelled most likely in part by a similar cocktail to mine: excitement, anticipation, alcohol, and an absolutely perfect amount of sunshine. 

Inside the festival there awaits a sea of animated festival goers; a diverse crowd of people united by their attire of tank-tops, shorts, and fanny packs, and a palpable enthusiasm. They’re talking, drinking, dancing, swaying.

Some are sitting in the lounge chairs on the outskirts, or hammocks, watching their friends playing volleyball  under the sun at the sand court between the two stages. Many people are in line waiting to refill their cups and buckets of Sangria and beer, but the largest sea of people is situated in front of the main stage, the perfect place for imbibing both sound and sun, and neither come as a disappointment on this day. 

A game of volleyball if you look closely… But if all you see is sun and trees you still get the picture!

At the main stage French DJ, Groj, who is known for his live singing during his performances opens with a rhythmic and psychedelic set that grabs the crowd’s attention. The music is resonant, sonorous amidst all the trees, and yet somehow still bright and energetic, in a way that somewhat mirrors the energy of the crowd.

Groj’s performance is followed by the headliner of the evening: German DJ, HOSH, part of Diynamic record label. His lively house and techno sound has been likened to the journey of a collapsing star, and the comparison does not disappoint.

HOSH’s music captivates his audience, with its spirited buildups and explosive melodic peaks. And as the beautiful day transitions into a beautiful dusk with the sun setting over the main stage, it’s time go home again although this time I decide to walk instead of bother with the crowds at the metro. If you ever get the chance and don’t mind a bit of a walk, the view from the bridge at sunset is rather captivating.

For tickets and information on upcoming shows, please visit Piknic Électronik’s website.

DJ HOSH: Soundcloud | Spotify | Facebook

DJ Groj: Soundcloud | Spotify | Facebook

ShazamFest, a unique outdoor annual summer festival, returns for its 14th edition, and this year with more whimsy than ever. It has perhaps the most eclectic diversity of performances to occur at a single festival.

ShazamFest features a diverse range of entertainment including, but not limited to: live music performances, circus acts, burlesque, dance, theatre, poetry, wrestling, skateboarding, and much more. The festival is set to take place from the 11th to the 14th of July (this weekend), and is to be hosted in the Eastern Townships, 90 minutes outside of Montréal at festival founder Ziv Przytyk’s organic family farm. Free roundtrip shuttle services from Montréal are available, as well as free on-site camping. 

The festival is also particularly distinctive for its green initiatives, as part of its dedication to an eco-responsible and sustainable approach. ShazamFest is very encouraging of its zero-waste initiatives, having only produced 12 bags of garbage at its 13th edition last year and aiming to create even less this year by encouraging festival goers not to bring single-use bags, using only reusable or compostable dishware, providing unlimited free local source water, bringing in organic local food vendors, and numerous other eco-friendly features.

The headlining acts of ShazamFest XIV will be Afrikana Soul Sister, Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire, the Souljazz Orchestra, and Susie Arioli. A few additional must-see features include Matthew Silver, Ziv’s Sunset Show, Bibi Lolo BangBang the clown, a burlesque segment by Swell Sisters La PetiteFleur and Queeny Ives, and many more.

Here’s the full lineup:  

Visit ShazamFest’s website for more information about the artists and tickets.

Win Tickets!

That’s right, FTB is giving you a chance to win a pair of tickets ($125 value) to Shazamfest! Simply share this post on Facebook or Twitter, tag @forgetthebox and say Shazam!

We will draw a winner from the entrants and announce it Friday morning.

For everyone else, tickets are available through ShazamFest.com

Happening on July 11-14, 2019, 2722 Way’s Mills, Ayer’s Cliff, QC J0B 1C0 in the Eastern Townships.

Free entry for children 12 years & under
Free admission all day Sunday 
Free roundtrip shuttle services from Montréal 
Free on-site camping

Summer is back and so is Piknic Électronik, with an exciting line-up of local and international electronic artists playing every Sunday from May 19th to September 29th. The 17th edition kicked off on May 19th with DJs Adam Husa, Mike Haddad, and Dufire, as well as others.

This weekend catch Bonobo and his traveling festival Outlier at Piknic Élektronic for a special Saturday OFF-Piknic event also featuring Totally Enourmous Extinct Dinosaurs, JETS, Prefuse73, and Durante, followed by a 100% local line-up on the island this Sunday including DJs Kora, Sinca, DJ Sunset, Lou Fre$h, and a special surprise guest!

Just picture it: you, your friends, a bucket of alcohol (yes, they have buckets), the sun setting over the St-Lawrence river, and Piknic’s consistently eclectic and electric line-up of artists. What better way to spend any summer Sunday than dancing in the sun?

The festival takes place in Parc Jean-Drapeau, just 10 minutes outside of the city on the Metro’s Yellow Line and goes on every Sunday from 2pm until the sun goes down.

Watch the full summer 2019 line-up below:

Visit Piknic Électronik’s website for complete line-up details and to purchase tickets! Season, family & student passes are also available

Local rapper and native Montréaler, Decent (@Dece_Af) debuted his album Dece as Fxck at a launch party hosted by Last Call Bar Creations on St. Laurent this past Tuesday evening. Although originally from the West Island, Decent spent several years abroad in England and Thailand. He’s now back in town and ready to take over the rap game with his natural talent for singing, rapping, and making beats.

Last Call Bar Creations

Last Call is spacious and well-lit. After receiving your ‘decent’ stamp at the door, you walk past several large camera lights set up for photos and some artists doing live paintings, and then into the main space with the stage dead ahead, a rack of Decent merch to your left, and Last Call’s bar to the right.

The ceilings are tall, and the room seems to be changing color with the light: blue, green, red, then blue again. Most people are having a drink and laughing with each other, some are dancing to the trap music being mixed by a DJ at the front of the room, as they wait for the show to start.

The room itself is so absorbing that when Decent jumps up on stage and starts singing without any warning, the transition almost goes unnoticed, but once he starts doing his thing he quickly commands complete attention of the room and the audience lets out a cheer.

Decent is comfortable on the stage, once or twice even stepping down into the center of the room, as well as stage-diving into the eager crowd of fans. His music is easy to dance to, and hard not to bounce to, and he knows it.

Check out Decent on instagram @dece_af, Apple Music, Youtube, or Spotify. Here’s a sample:

POP Montreal released the first part of their lineup for their annual fall festival at a 5 à 7 on Wednesday in their new venue, Chez Ursa, which is conveniently located right below their official headquarters.

The atmosphere at Ursa is friendly. Dan Seligman, POP’s co-founder and creative director, even acknowledged the good vibes as he thanked us all for coming.

The venue itself is quite cozy; lamp-lit, with a rug in front of the stage which creates a sense of the familiar comfort of being in your own living room, the only thing missing being seats. Although on my way to the venue I had the unfortunate luck of choosing a particularly broken Bixi bike, and so my feelings about the matter were more inspired by my aching legs than anything else… Choose your bike wisely, folks.

When I first arrive, Hua Li is casually mixing her set, fluidly transitioning between a mix of rap and RNB. Her adorable dog, Edna (pictured below), joins her on stage, calmly gazing out at all of us while Li sways rhythmically in time with the music. The combination of their presence invites a relaxed overall mood, though there is an air of something among us that is similarly curious and intriguing.

The performances also include POP’s first play: Trapped in Elon’s Mansion, written by Joe Bagel (of which a reading of an excerpt was performed at Chez Ursa). The play was inspired by a twitter fight between Elon and Jarrett Walker, and is full of rapid-fire witticisms, many in reference to Musk and his ex-girlfriend, Clair Boucher (Grimes), and their own various connections to Montréal.

Musk, giving his two cents to the mayor of Los Angeles

Some other noteworthy acts from the lineup also include: Laurie Anderson, Tirzah, and Aldous Harding. (Full list of performers to date pictured below). The festival is set to take place from the 25th to the 29th of this September throughout Montreal. Tickets are on sale now, and can be purchased through POP’s website.

FULL LIST: Laurie Anderson, Tirzah, Aldous Harding, Nick Cave, Weyes Blood, Kokoko!,  Yung Baby Tate, Moor Mother & Jerusalem in My Heart, Félicia Atkinson, Jon Bap, Hollerado and Xiu Xiu, Jess Sah Bi & Peter One, Tinariwen, Shonen Knife, 47Soul, Kedr Livanskiy, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Oshun, Ian Isiah, Lafawndah, Ex Eye, Teto Preto, Torres, Jerry Paper, Kelman Duran, Daniel Norgren, Haviah Mighty, Blanck Mass, God Is an Astronaut, Marwa Loud, Helm, Emel Mathlouthi, Jessica Moss, Ellis, Bad Waitress, Charlie Cunningham, Fink, TiKA, Colin Stetson, Rebecca Foon, Rakta, Ellemetue, YlangYlang, Trapped in Elon’s Mansion, Hua Li, James Baley, Mobydick and Friends, Desiire and Odile Myrtile.


Anyone who grew up in Canada in the 70s and 80s grew up with the songs of Raffi. An Armenian born in Egypt whose family immigrated to Canada in 1958, he became a household name following the release of his first album in 1975.

He was in Montreal on Sunday to do a couple of performances at Theatre Maisonneuve and he did not disappoint. All proceeds went to the Raffi Foundation, a group that commits to helping the most vulnerable and recognizes that : “Every girl and boy is entitled to love, to dream and belong to a loving village and to pursue a life of purpose.”

The stage was set with an easy chair, a guitar stand, and a rug, giving audiences the impression that we were visiting him at home and not seeing a legend. He bounded on stage with a spring in his step, radiating more life at age 70 than most of us do at 30.

Though his beard and receding hair are now salt and pepper gray and he’s swapped his Hawaiian shirt for a long sleeved plaid one, his voice rings clear and true as it did 40 years ago and radiates the same level of warmth Gen Xers and Yers have grown to know and love.

His audience was comprised of parents who bought his albums in the decades ago and people who grew up with him, some with kids so small their feet barely reached the edge of their seats, some without kids who are there because they crave the kind of loving comfort he offers in an economy that won’t pay fair wages and is systemically trying to strip our rights away. I was of the latter group, and as he began to play I found myself singing and clapping along as I did at the age of five in my pajamas while my parents played his albums on vinyl.

Raffi announced that there would be singing, guitar, “and a lot of bad jokes.”

“It wouldn’t be Raffi without Dad jokes,” smiled fellow concert goer Sarah Anderson.

Raffi started with the classic tunes he’s known for, including Six Little Ducks, Tingalayo, and his version of the Jamaican folk song Day O. True to form, he always let the audience know when they should participate with strategically timed claps, call lines, or sound effects.

He played the annoyingly catchy Banana Phone song with a few ad-libbed lines, including, when singing about all the people he would call with said phone: “I’ll call the White House and have a chat!” It was a line that prompted cheers from the adults in the crowd but was undoubtedly lost on the children.

Though Raffi played tunes from his newest album, Dog on the Floor, he played up to what he affectionately refers to as the Baby Beluga Grads, people like myself who grew up with his music.

I was happy to see him play my favorite of his songs, Down by the Bay, a song that features a lot of silly animal rhymes and wordplay and leaves room for ad libs. When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s dabbling in poetry, I used to try and come up with my own lines for the song, and Raffi did not disappoint that inner child.

He jokingly attempted lines he knew wouldn’t work, causing older audience members to bust out laughing before he finally concluded with: “Did you ever have a time…When you couldn’t make a rhyme?!”

As he guided the audience, he chuckled, giving you the vibe of a favorite uncle or long lost grandfather. Though the concert was only about an hour long – a choice undoubtedly mindful of the limited attention spans of younger audience members – he packed as much as possible into that hour, playing two medleys of his classic tunes.

He often concluded a song by turning to the side, guitar handle out, back arched, in a nod to heavy metal and rock stars. Though most audience members were as well-behaved as could be given the young age of many, there were unfortunately at least two jerks who kept yelling demands for the song Baby Beluga, the Raffi concert equivalent of yelling “Do Stairway!” at a rock concert. Fortunately, Raffi remained unfazed and continued on with a smile, playing the requested song only when he was ready.

When the concert ended Raffi got a standing ovation that was well-deserved. Just as we thought it was over, he bounded back on stage to treat us all with an encore, including a new verse he wrote for Baby Beluga to address all his fans that have since grown up. In it was a call to action, telling us that we were the future, and to fight for social justice, equality, and against climate change. It was this final gesture that brought a tear to my eye and had me sniffling a bit as I left the concert hall.

After all, if Raffi believes in us, shouldn’t we?

Featured image via YouTube