This past Wednesday I sauntered on over to St-Urbain street to pick up my POP Montreal press pass. If you’ve never been ‘popping’, I can understand how one might be wary about the expenses surrounding such an endeavor. But I’d encourage anyone in Montreal in September at least to drop by Pop headquarters.
I began my POP 2015 experience by wandering around the free activities HQ has to offer including art shows, panels, and of course, music. As I shoved a hot dog and beer into my face like the classy lady that I am, I was entertained by Montreal Band Nancy Pants. They’re a perfect hybrid of pop and punk sensibilities, or “dirty pop” as my friend Google tells me they like to be called.
Whatever labels they give themselves, the band was giving it their all and clearly very excited to be there. I would recommend giving their single Happy a listen, and I look forward to seeing them again at some point in the future. Sadly that was my extent of music on the first day, because well when you’re in your thirties and have to get up at 5:30 a.m. for work, sleep becomes more appealing than a party.
I continued my Pop adventure on Thursday night by doing one of my favourite activities; seeing a movie. While one wouldn’t naturally associate a music festival with film, Film Pop (movies with a clear musical influence) has been a part of the festival for a long time (since the beginning? Now I’m ashamed at my clear lack of knowledge about Pop history). The film I saw was about this small Montreal band, you may have heard of them – Arcade Fire.
The Reflektor Tapes is footage that was taken of the band during the course of their latest album, 2013’s Reflector. The film cuts back and forth as the band conceives, records and tours the album. I went into the experience hoping to get some sort of insight into what a monumental task it must be for band with that level of fame to work and tour an album.
If you were hoping for the same, I believe the expression I’m looking for is “you’re shit out of luck.” The Reflektor Tapes is far more an art film then documentary. Not that I didn’t enjoy the screening. The film is beautiful to look at, and its high energy leaves one feeling oddly inspired even though you don’t quite understand what you just watched. It perfectly complimented what followed the screening.
Fueled by the energy of the screening and dance party that followed, I wandered down St-Laurent. After the high-art vibe of Arcade Fire at The Rialto, I was in the mood for something a little trashier, and settled on my favorite hole in the wall, St-Laurent bar Barfly. While I was kind of hoping for some punk band I could mosh along to, instead I was treated to the low-key French folk singer Clemence Freschard.
At first listen her songs are silly and simplistic. Chees and Crackers. Freschard crooned to the shamefully small crowd at Barfly. But then, as the song progressed, you become totally enchanted with her style and she hooks you in. Freschard was in fact a perfect way to close off a night of Pop, and I hummed her addictive choruses all the way home.