Osheaga was a great three days of hardy drinking and music and all I can say about this year’s festival is that there were so many pleasant surprises.

Let’s get right to it: Sunday night was the big night because of its two headliners: Tame Impala and Childish Gambino.

Tame Impala put on a near perfect show. The crowd was transfixed with the neat light beams coming from the stage that seemed to put everyone in a trance. They played most of their songs from their latest LP but did a few good oldies like Feels Like We Only Go Backwards and Elephant.

Childish Gambino then brought the crowd to complete ecstasy by hitting it home and closed out the night with some spectacular fireworks right after the crowd sang along to This is America.

Photo by lamyazpixels

Earlier in the day Metric got the crowd going. At times Hains started speaking what seemed to be poetry about getting shit done in your life.

Mac DeMarco was acting all goofy all day. It culminated in him doing a funny cover of Metallica’s enter Sandman.

Saturday night’s romp with chemical Brothers was one for the bucket list. These superstar DJs were definitely one of the highlights of my festival experience.

Honourable Mentions:

Teke:: Teke, Fisher and Vladamir Cauchmar to name drop a few, were as entertaining as ever. And Kurt VIle put on one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen him do.

Strangest Act:

Black Tiger Sex Magic was definitely the strangest act of the festival with helmets that light up and the oddest crowd mix of electronic dance music bros, pretty ladies and weirdos.

Coolest Performance:

The coolest performance trophy goes to Reignwolf to for their use of the space to play their guitars and bass and the final meshing of the guitar and bass together to end the set.

Side note: As for the venue the park new old location was definitely noticed by people for being more spacious and with a lot more amenities.

The only one negative thing I noticed with the amount of dust I was at this year’s festival maybe it was caused by the amount of construction in Montreal or on site or perhaps it was the sand that was laid out at the base of the mountain but whatever reason a lot of people were covering their face as because of it. Hopefully next year it won’t be as dusty.

Featured image by lamyazpixels

Day Two is now in the books, let’s try to recap the blur that just happened, shall we. Like with any festival you’re always experiencing something while missing out on something else. It’s the nature of events like this so someone else’s snapshot of the day might be completely different.

Vladamir Cachmar (photo Jerry Gabriel)

We at FTB went into the Saturday with a plan that we wouldn’t at any point make a plan. Just follow a friend to what they’re going to, ask a stranger for a suggestion or wander aimlessly. Here’s a few of the places our wanderings took us to.

Photo by Jerry Gabriel

We happened in on King Princess who a friend told us was the next big thing waiting to blow up. She didn’t disappoint, we’ll have to remember to check her out again.

We decided to hang in the back for Janelle Monáe, see the big picture of the festival.

It can’t all be high energy, met up with some old friends and made some new ones hanging out on the hammocks

The crowd for Black Tiger Sex Machine was a drum of gasoline waiting to go up and the Montreal based trio didn’t waste any time lighting the match that set the whole thing off.

The best hidden gem for the day (and strong candidate for highlight of the festival) were garage rockers Reignwolf who used every possible inch of the stage and every ounce of energy they had during their performance.

Frontman Jordan Cook seemd hell bent on climbing to the top of every structure he could find while playing his guitar solos. Amps were swaying, patch cords were being pulled tight around beams, security was having a panic attack. You know, standard rock and roll stuff.

He even jumped into the crowd for a little bit one on one time with everyone. All this while singing the chorus “Are you Satisfied?” Yes Jared, very much so.

The Chemical Brothers capped the day off with an immersive performance combining their music with a multimedia light and video show complete with confetti, giant robots and beach balls. Probably the most complete top to bottom performance we’ve ever seen and a masterclass on how to combine music with other medium.

Featured image courtesy of lamyazpixels

Osheaga 2019 finishes today (Sunday). Tickets at the gate or through Osheaga.com

Day one of Osheaga 2019 is now in the books and it set a pretty high bar for the rest of the weekend. Here’s a quick recap of some of the highlights, awards ceremony style.

The best improvement award goes to the venue itself. Last year renovations pushed Osheaga out of its normal spot on Île Sainte-Hélène and most, myself included found it to be a bit of a headache. This time around they’re back in their usual spot and it seems to have been very well received by most concertgoers.

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Checking out this ferris wheel #osheaga fun

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The best stage presence award goes to Mitski who brought a table and chair on stage with her and played lovingly with them all set. What at first looked like a one or two song gimmick turned into a set long love affair with inanimate objects.

Interpol

The coolest dude at the party award goes to Interpol’s Daniel Kessler who decided to attire himself in suit and shades. Despite temperatures soaring in the afternoon he kept the full coat and tie on the whole time! That’s some serious commitment to looking like a rockstar there Daniel.

The best surf rock goes to Teke Teke, because we love them and love surf rock and we wanted to give them a shout out.

The most touching moment award goes to the Lumineers for deciding to ignore standard procedure by reserving the encore for one of their big hits and instead chose to pay homage to Montreal legend Leonard Cohen by covering has classic Democracy.

The Lumineers

Their low key version, dropping the classic drum beat and musical hook till the very end, made the song something a little bit Cohen and a little bit themselves while still capturing the important part of all Cohen songs, the lyrics. Maybe the crowd didn’t know all the words to this one but the overall message, which like most Cohen songs is still relevant today, was quite clear.

Kurt Vile and the Violators

Photos by Jerry Gabriel (except featured image by Joseph McLean)

Osheaga continues through Sunday, tickets at Osheaga.com

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