It’s a sweet 16 for MEG, Montreal’s longest running summer festival completely devoted to electronic music. The truly great thing about MEG, despite the festival’s growth in popularity following the commercialisation of electronic music in recent years, is it continues to showcase the up-and-comers — especially on the local level — and remains on the cutting-edge of a genre that can often feel lost in the mainstream.
MEG’s programming this year is stellar (as usual) but it’s impossible to see everything so here we present our top picks for the 2014 edition.
FRIDAY, JULY 25
Michigan’s Sango is championing the so-called atl-R&B scene but he rises above the rest by combining Latin music influences into his work, blending baile funk with trap and hip hop layered on top of his minimalistic electronic beats. His debut full-length album, North, dropped earlier this week and can be heard in full via the Soulection bandcamp page.
Show starts at 10 p.m.; tickets cost $18.50 in advance and can be found at Atom Heart, MOOG Audio and Laïka or online via MEG.
SATURDAY, JULY 26 2014
Montreal’s Essaie Pas is dark, depressing and cinematic. What initially drew me to them was the psych influence in their earlier releases. They’ve since incorporated more dreamy synth sounds into the mix with good results.
Show starts at 10 p.m., $11 in advance via MEG or $15 at the door.
My pick for the entire week would have to be Suuns and Technical Kidman. Both are fantastically acclaimed Montreal acts that have really come a long way in the past few years. Suuns have joined the big boys now and have gone touring across North America and overseas several times since the release of their debut Zeroes QC in 2010.
Technical Kidman released the follow-up to their 2011 self-titled debut earlier this month. On A Stranger Voice, the band departs from more traditional instrumentation in favour of charting untrod electronic territory. This summer, they’ve been doing the festival thing, playing NXNE in Toronto and Sled Island in Calgary. They’ll soon embark on a short Canadian tour so this is your chance to see them before they set off.
Show starts at 9 p.m.; tickets cost $17 in advance and can be found at Atom Heart and MOOG Audio or online via MEG.
SUNDAY, JULY 27
MEG owes much of its success to its tradition of collaboration with other musical institutions, both at home and abroad. In addition to its annual showcase at Osheaga, MEG will be commandeering this week’s edition of Piknic Électronik. Hailing from across the pond, headliner French Fries will be joined by Paul Trafford, Manaré, Aleqs Notal, Woulg and a surprise guest. Oh and this is a Christmas-themed event.
Show starts at 2 p.m., $15 at the door. MEG festival passes are not valid for this event.
THURSDAY, JULY 31
This is a good example of what MEG does best: taking fresh, young, local talent and putting them on the map. This is a night featuring Montreal’s fastest-rising stars in the genre: The Gulf Stream, Melodule and Groj.
Show starts at 10 p.m., $10 at the door.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 1
This year’s free event in the Quartier des spectacles’ Place des festivals features the genre-defying Cris Derksen. Derksen is a classically-trained, award-winning cellist of Aboriginal descent. She blends classical and folk music with electronic elements and the result is unlike anything you’ve heard before.
Parisian duo Acid Arab offer up their own blend of seemingly clashing genres, blending electronic music with traditional Middle Eastern and Northern African folk music.
Show starts at 8:30 p.m., free.
Honourable mention: MEG Boat feat. Benjamin Damage + Acid Arab + MMF & AKTA. I’ve relegated this to ‘honourable mention’ status because, come on! Partying on a boat in the St-Laurence river to some of the best DJs out there? No contest.
The 2014 edition of MEG Montreal runs until Saturday, July 2. Read an interview we did last year with festival founder Mustapha Terki.