It is an unspoken truth that anyone who chooses not to live as a hermit is going to have to deal with neighbors.

Young people know them as the grouchy old people who call the cops on all their parties. Old people often see them as a source of noise. In the best cases, people can live next door or in the same neighborhood or building without ever having to involve a landlord, a lawyer, or the cops.

This article is not about that. I am here to talk about the worst neighbor behavior.

Ideally you should always confront an offending neighbor and try to settle things amicably. If you are afraid of going about your daily life due to their behavior, it’s time to swallow any fear about confrontation and speak to them.

If that fails, here are some common neighbor problems and what to do about them. Please note that the municipal laws mentioned are strictly for Montreal, so if you live elsewhere, you will have to consult your own city’s bylaws for some of these.

Noise

It should be said that not all noise complaints are valid. If you live near a commercial street with bars, clubs, theatres, or restaurants, you should expect a fair amount of noise around your home.

It must also be said that some people phone in noise complaints for purely vindictive reasons because they’ve decided they don’t like their neighbors and want to make it impossible for them to entertain guests or listen to music in their homes. Take comfort in the fact that people who make those kinds of complaints do so often and are unlikely to be taken seriously by police.

If you call 311 – the City of Montreal’s information hotline – they’ll tell you that you cannot make a noise complaint between 7 am and 11 pm. Unfortunately, that’s not true, so be prepared to argue about it.

Most municipal bylaws assess noise complaints based on a question of reasonability.

Let’s say a rich neighbor is making cosmetic renovations to the outside of his home, the work has been going on every day from eight am to six pm for over a month and the workers aren’t using any sort of muffling equipment on their noisy machinery. That’s clearly an unreasonable amount of noise. Call 911 and complain. They’ll send the cops to put your selfish neighbor in their place.

Now imagine living in an apartment building where your upstairs neighbor sings opera loudly late at night and it’s lovely… But only if you’re a horny cat seeking a mate. If you can’t get them to quiet down directly, speak to your landlord. As a tenant you are entitled to “peaceable enjoyment of the premises” and an extremely noisy neighbor would violate that.

To make sure your landlord gets notice of the problem, you may have to send them a formal letter via registered mail (be sure to keep the receipt for the Rental Board). In said letter, give the landlord a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem – say eight days.

If your landlord refuses to deal with it and the matter is serious enough, you can take action with the Quebec Rental Board, which generally rules in favor of tenants. They can force your landlord to reduce your rent, let you claim damages from the landlord, or in the worst case, cancel your lease.

Before phoning in a complaint, ask yourself if the complaint is reasonable and consider the consequences. Some complaints against businesses can result in fines that can ultimately destroy them. A tragic example is Divan Orange, a beloved showbar in the Plateau that had to close its doors when the fines it incurred because of noise complaints from neighbors crushed it financially.

Harassment, Peeping, and Other Privacy and Safety Violations

This is a problem that particularly affects women, people of colour, and sexual and religious minorities. Neighbors can make your life a living hell if they find you sexually attractive or have some idiotic and highly toxic notions about your people. Fortunately, in Canada there’s more than one way to address the problem.

Take the case of Elie El-Chakieh and Hellen Christodoulou, a couple of engineers who moved into a home in Laval. Initially their relationship with their neighbor, Daniel Noel, was civil, but it quickly devolved over mutual complaints of bylaw violations. Instead of handling things like an adult, Noel’s behavior quickly became toxic and he began engaging in racial harassment against El-Chakieh, who is of Lebanese descent.

Noel also accused El-Chakieh of spousal abuse, and of being a pedophile. He called the RCMP and immigration to find out the couple’s immigration status, and even contacted their professional orders and academic institutions to try and discredit them professionally.

El-Chakieh and Christodoulou decided to sue. On April 22, 2018, a Superior Court judge ordered Noel to pay them $50 000 in damages, calling his behavior “low, vile and repugnant.”

That said, suing isn’t your only option. You can also file a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission which is charged – along with the Human Rights Tribunal – with enforcing the Quebec Charter of Rights. If your neighbor is hurling slurs at you and engaging in other harassment based on your race, religion, or gender, give the Commission a call and file a complaint. If they think your complaint is serious enough they’ll launch their own investigation and possibly bring your case to the Tribunal to seek “any appropriate measure against the person or to demand, in favour of the victim, any measure it considers appropriate at that time.” (section 80 of the Quebec Charter).

Now let’s say you have a neighbor who constantly makes lewd comments about you, asks invasive inappropriate questions about personal matters, peeps into your windows, or has a creepy tendency to always be nearby when you leave or come home.

If you’re a woman living alone, you have every reason to consider this kind of behavior to be a threat to your safety. Fortunately, the behavior falls under the Criminal Code’s definition of harassment which can include:

  • Following you from place to place
  • Repeatedly communicating with you directly or indirectly, or communicating with people who know you
  • Watching your dwelling or place where you work, carry on business or happen to be

If a neighbor does this, call the police. Keep track of any proof you can. If he sends texts or emails, save them. Film him watching you. Take photos of him peeping. If convicted, the neighbor in question is facing at least six months in jail or a five thousand dollar fine, and at most ten years in prison.

Property Disputes

Property disputes can be summed up with two words: land and money.

Let’s say you have a neighbor who is stubbornly claiming that their property line ends fifty feet onto what you believe is yours.

The solution? Hire a surveyor.

A land surveyor will check public records and maps to confirm the correct property lines and for an extra fee they’ll put down stakes or a button in the land indicating the boundary between each property. Feel free to claim half the surveyor’s fee from your neighbor.

Which brings us to money disputes, which often come in the form of arguments about shared expenses, such as that of hiring a land surveyor, or clearing snow from a shared driveway. The solution: hire a lawyer and let them tough it out with your neighbor.

If the money your neighbor is claiming is less than fifteen thousand dollars, you can fight it out in small claims court. The clerk of the Court of Quebec now offers a service either by phone or in person to assist people to preparing to face off in small claims.

In an ideal world, neighbors would be the kind who bring you soup when you’re sick and always have milk and sugar to lend you in a pinch. In the real world you need to remember that you have legal ways to nip the worst neighbor behavior in the bud. Use them when you need them.

This week in Montreal, you can catch an album launch, a pre-release party, a couple of bands rocking out at Barfly and even Kiefer Sutherland playing music. Let’s get started:

Kiefer Sutherland Goes Country

Not a lot of people know that the star of 24 has a track record outside the film and TV industry. Yet this Hollywood actor is the type of guy who puts the same kind of dedication and commitment into his side projects.

You’ll be happy to know that his new band and album put other film industry hobby acts to shame. Sutherland released his debut album Down In A Hole late last summer which consists of 11 songs of pure country and Americana.

Kiefer Sutherland performs with Rick Brantley at Club Soda, 1225 St-Laurent, Friday, May 11, 8pm. Tickets are $39.50 and available through LePointeDeVente.com

Nolton Lake

Come experience a special album launch for Norton Lake. This self taught musician has been traveling the world: Nepal. China. Europe. Costa Rica and he exotic instruments found on his album Anahata are nothing short of breathtakingly refreshing.

Sitar, tabla, slide guitar, ukulele, mandolin and tibetan bowls complement the soft guitar melodies and deep bass grooves. But most importantly, his music is heartfelt and organic, something hard to come by in today’s music business.

Nolton Lake performs at Quai des Brumes, 4481 St-Denis, Wednesday, May 16, 5-7pm. FREE

No Fly List And Minor Sun To Light Up The Stage At Barfly

Minor Sun’s Infinite soundscapes await you. Influenced by bands like The Black Keys, The Doors, and Bob Dylan, their layered guitars are interwoven with keyboards, groovy bass lines and strong drum rhythms. If you are into modern and retro psych rock, you’re gonna dig this five-piece big time.

No Fly List channels the likes of Thin Lizzy, Lemonheads, and Aerosmith to pump out their brand of Power Pop Rock with an alt-country edge. They’ve got two solid albums under their belt and a ton of road warrior tour experience. It will be a true delight to see these guys live in action.

No Fly List and Minor Sun perform at Barfly, 4062A St-Laurent, Friday, May 11, 9pm. Cover TBA

Foundling Pre Release Party with Dean Roberts, Merganzer and Paper Beat Scizzors

Kickdrum Productions and Sala Rosa present a fine evening of live music. Foundling will be giving us a sneak preview of their upcoming album showcasing their german dark dream pop with broad soundscapes.

Dean Roberts will be the supporting act with his unique contemporary experimental music. Also on stage that evening will be Merganzer; the experimental project of Violinist Mika Posen, and Paper Beat Scissors; with vocals that will haunt you.

Foundling, Dean Roberts, Merganzer and Paper Beat Scissors perform at La Sotterena (basement of Sala Rossa), 4848 St-Laurent, Thursday, May 10, 9pm. Tickets are $8 in advance through lfttckt.com or $12 at the door

* Featured image of Norton Lake via Facebook

* 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. Our week goes from Thursday to Wednesday, so let us know by the preceding Sunday, though not too much in advance, or you may get lost in the shuffle. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Now that we’re in full-on May, there are plenty of great music shows to catch in Montreal. For our picks this week, we’re staying local, with some great acts rocking out in smaller venues around town…well, for the most part we are. There is one legendary out of town act playing Montreal we just couldn’t ignore. Let’s start with them:

Throwback To The Glorious 90s

Kim Deal’s The Breeders are back. The band that released the critically acclaimed sleeper album Pod and the hit single Cannonball is back in business.

It’s been exactly a decade since the band released an album so this is an exciting show to attend given the release of their latest offering All Nerve. They released their first single last October which Rolling Stone magazine described as “a classic Breeders bruiser, clocking it at two minutes, and packed with punchy drums, sugar-rush power chords, and lead riffs.”

The Breeders with Melkbelly perform at Corona Theatre, 2490 Notre-Dame Ouest, Saturday, May 5, 8pm. The show is currently SOLD OUT.

Ghostly Hounds To Cast Their Spells At Barfly

Witch folk. Dark jazz. Trumpets, banjos, and mandolin. It’s a unique sound that’s gonna capture your attention. Ghostly Hounds got together back in 2015 and hit the ground running by recording demos just weeks after forming.

This seasoned band has played over a 100 shows in the last couple years crisscrossing back and forth through Canada. It’s a rare chance to see this Montreal band play right here in their home town; they don’t stay put too long.

The Ghostly Hounds perform at Barfly, 4067A St-Laurent, Thursday, May 3, 9pm. Sliding scale $5-$10 at the door

100 Watt Love Songs Dressed in Angry Indie Attire

Pope Joan will be releasing their debut album Sympathetic And They Care this week. The band has a real cool sound. Low-Fi sensibilities combined with punk. Dancy and rhythmic grooves. Also, three power chord ballads are not frowned upon. And protest anthems are free flowing.

The band has been cutting its teeth on the underground Montreal circuit, fine tuning their sound and playing to crowds at Basin Fest, off the beaten track underground venues, and basement shows filled to the brim with college kids.

They will be celebrating the album release with b- movie inspired punk rock Fightface, The Le7tovers, a popular all girl punk rock band, and atmospheric duo Wasp Face.

Pope Joan with Fightface, The Le7tovers and Wasp Face perform at Piranha Bar, 680 Ste-Catherine Ouest, Friday, May 4, 8pm. $8 at the door

An Evening Of Rock At Crobar

Get a dose of infectious feel good energetic rock with The Brie Face. The band combines alternative, punk and pop to get their feel good uplifting sound.

They’ll be sharing the spotlight with Toronto’s The Wet Bandits who have an amped up rock n roll sound. Also on stage that evening will be four-piece pop-punk band Minority 905 from Mississauga who channel the sounds of Green Day, All Time Low, Blink-182, and Yellowcard. Sharing the bill is doo wop core band We Once Were.

The Brie Face, The Wet Bandits, Minority 905 and We Once Were perform at Crobar, 1221 Crescent, Saturday, May 5, 9pm. $10 at the door

* Featured by Ihabé Terrak, courtesy of Pope Joan

* 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. Our week goes from Thursday to Wednesday, so let us know by the preceding Sunday, though not too much in advance, or you may get lost in the shuffle. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Impressive three-piece rock pop outfit Scenic Route To Alaska will grace the stage at Quai Des Brumes this week. And now you have a chance to see them for free courtesy of FTB and Indie Montreal.

Pop Band With Substance

They’ve been signed to a number of record labels of the years. They’ve gained a cult following in Australia and Europe. They’ve released singles on CBC Radio to much love. They’ve been recognized at the Western Canadian Music Award. And their songs are all over the place on popular TV shows.

What’s cool about their songs is that the lyrics are simple yet meaningful:

“And after a long day I finally rest my eyes
Under the Eiffel Tower lights
Dream of the river and you by my side”

From Ballads To Bangers

Their latest album, Tough Luck, was produced by the man behind Tegan & Sarah and The New Pornographers, producer Howard Redekopp. The 10 track LP shows off a tight and dynamic live sound that is not afraid to be organic on the production side of things. The album truly engages the listener as you find yourself wanting to hear the songs over and over again.

Maybe that’s due to the fact that it’s a rare find to discover a pop band that has something of importance to say. Or maybe its simply the catchy vocal rhythms, memorable melodies, and rich arrangements.

Either way the album captures the same energy the band projects on stage: an exciting high energy performance, with a fun contagious vibe.

How To Win

To win two tickets, comment below and tell us what your favorite single is of the band and why you love that song so much. Best answer will get their name +1 on the VIP guest list!

If you’re not familiar with them yet, give Tough Luck a listen or check out their BandCamp for more songs:

Scenic Route To Alaska perform at Quai Des Brumes, 4481 St Denis St, Wednesday April 18, 9pm. If you don’t win the contest, tickets are $11.85 and available through Indie Montreal

* Featured image via Facebook

Environmental law is a fairly new topic in legal discourse. It is only in the past hundred years or so that humans have been made aware of the environmental consequences of their actions and even now there are forces in our society that demand that said consequences are negligible or worth ignoring. It is, however, impossible to ignore and even major polluters like Exxon Mobil have come to acknowledge their role in climate change.

This article is going to give a brief overview on the rules that punish polluters in Canada and then focus on the punishments individuals might face in Canada for certain kinds of pollution.

Environmental law is one of those fields of law that covers almost every kind of law there is. Rules to protect the environment can be found in agricultural law, federal fisheries legislation, rules governing industry, civil law, municipal law, and even criminal and international law.

In Canada, large scale pollution is regulated by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Federal Fisheries Act, the Criminal Code, and provincial laws such as the Quebec Environmental Quality Act. In the cities, it is municipal by-laws that control the nuisance caused by littering and other forms of pollution.

Some types of pollution by individuals will result in fines, whereas others can lead to lengthy prison terms. So let’s talk about those.

For the purposes of this article, I will focus on Montreal municipal laws. Other cities on the island such as Westmount and Cote-Saint-Luc have their own sets of rules.

In the early two thousands, the City of Montreal tightened its rules regarding littering resulting in outrage from citizens, landlords, and business owners. Under the new by-law, tagging and other forms of graffiti on public roadways, sidewalks, and buildings on public property can result in a fine of a hundred to a thousand dollars. The same goes for leaving broken motor vehicles on public property as well as dumping garbage in public waterways.

The by-law elaborates by specifying that everything from garbage, to ashes, to flyers, syringes, and bandages count as things prohibited from being dumped on public property. There are exceptions to these rules with regards to graffiti on public property in which a person can get authorization from the City of Montreal, presumably to make room for artists to beautify the city with murals and other works of art.

The new by-law takes penalties for littering even further, with punishments for throwing garbage and other forms of waste on public property ranging from sixty to a hundred dollars for a first offense. That means that the seemingly mundane act of throwing your coffee cup or cigarette packet on the ground could land you a hefty fine if you’re caught. Fines for a second offense range from a hundred to three hundred dollars, and for every subsequent offense it’s a fine of three hundred to a thousand dollars.

Recently, the City of Montreal has also opted to crack down on the use of wood burning fireplaces. Montreal is one of the oldest cities in Canada so the presence of houses with indoor fireplaces is inevitable. Unfortunately, they’re dirty and polluting and studies show that they don’t actually warm your house that much.

In 2017 the City of Montreal adopted the By-law Concerning Solid Fuel Burning Devices and Fireplaces. Under the new by-law those in possession of fireplaces or other solid fuel burning devices may not use them in Montreal as of October 2018 unless they are certified to emit no more than 2.5g/hr of fine particulate matter into the atmosphere.

The fines for use of fireplaces after the deadline range from a hundred to five dollars for a first offense, five hundred to a thousand dollars for a second offense, and a thousand to two thousand dollars for every subsequent offense.

The by-law does however allow for exceptions in cases of major power outages and other natural disasters in which a fireplace may be the only source of heat. The rules also do not apply to devices used for food preparation – so charcoal barbeques are fine, as well as for commercial use or in places where authorization to install such a device in a building for commercial use was authorized. Those with fireplaces have the option to either stop using it, or have it replaced and declare it to the City.

In order to face jail time for polluting, the offense has to be quite severe. For example, anyone who, as per the Criminal Code, “makes a device or possesses, uses, transfers, exports, imports, alters or disposes of nuclear material, radioactive material or a device or commits an act against a nuclear facility or an act that causes serious interference with or serious disruption of its operations,” with intent to cause death, serious bodily harm, or substantial damage to property or the environment is facing life in prison if found guilty.

Laws punishing polluters are in place for a reason. Pollution not only tarnishes the beauty of our city, but it makes the environment you live in less healthy, putting all of us at risk. Until we come up with cleaner, more sustainable ways to do things, we need to keep these laws in place and think twice before littering.

Hello Forget The Box Readers, we are back again for another edition of Montreal Live Music Shows This Week.

It’s cloudy. It’s rainy. And there’s no sun. But there is hope that the grey skies will clear out for blue ones very soon. In the meantime, Spring Winds are blowing in some nice talent into Montreal, and some of that talent is homegrown as well.

So without further ado, lets see whats in store for you this week.

Pop Dance Anthems A La Violon – Aleksi Campagne

If you haven’t heard of Aleksi Campagne, you will soon enough. Hailing from Montreal, the 24 year old singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has an impressive track record:

He’s played live for Radio Canada and TVA. He’s lent his violin skills to well known Canadian folk legends Heather Bishop and Connie Kaldor. He’s been on the bill at high profile Canadian festivals like the Vancouver Folk Festival. He’s performed in Paris at the famous bistro Le Petit Journal Montparnasse. He’s made appearances at private record label showcases like the International Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City. He’s also sang backup vocals at for prominent artists at shows at Place Des Arts.

This week he is launching his debut album that combines a smooth mix of pop, folk and jazz. What’s exciting about his signature sound is the combination of distortion, normally reserved for heavy rock and metal, and violin. His songs have been described as “wickedly catchy dancing anthems.”

There is no evidence to suggest that his talent is in large part due to studying for two years under the wing of Parisian violin maestro Didier Lockwood. There is, however, some evidence showing that his sound is similar to violinist Andrew Bird, and R&B star Sam Cook.

And there is A LOT of circumstantial evidence pointing to the fact that his show will get sold out quickly. So, jump on this opportunity to catch an up and coming artist for an intimate album launch at Patro Vys.

Aleksi Campagne Band performs with Old Time Honey at O Patro Vys, 356 Mont-Royal Est, Thursday, April 5, 9:30pm. Tickets are $10 or $18 with a CD and available through AleksiCampagne.com

Moonfruits Comes To Charm Montreal At Place Des Arts

Ontario based folk duo Moonfruits, great band name by the way, are touring to support their sophomore album Ste Quequepart. But it is no ordinary album.

The concept album draws inspiration from the duo’s road stories- they have played over 100 shows just in Canada alone, and the rest from pure creative imagination. The songs lyrics tell stories about an imaginary village where love and a sense of community co-exists with the stark realities of poverty, prejudice and inequality.

Yet a sense of hope permeates their overall artistic message. For them, its all about celebrating common ground and walking in another’s shoes

The duo who sing in French and English are known to charm their audiences with their sincerity and humor and will be playing as a quartet to deliver a full band sound with drums, double bass, guitar, banjo and percussion. And Lots of Heart.

A great performance awaits you at Place des Arts this week, hope you can make it.

Moonfruits perform at Salle Claude-Léveillée – Place des Arts, 175 Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Friday, April 6, 8pm. Tickets are $20.25 and available through Place des Arts

The Soul Of Blue Rodeo Comes To Town

Jim Cuddy is back. If your a fan of country rock, especially of the Canadian variety, then this is a not to be missed opportunity. The 62 year old country rocker will be gracing the stage right here in Montreal with his heartfelt brand of country rock.

Cuddy released his latest album Constellations last January so you’ll be hearing some brand new music live this time. As always, songwriting is top notch and it’s no secret why Blue Rodeo was such a great Canadian success.

Corona Theatre will be generously offering a free copy of the album with the purchase of your ticket. In my book that’s a great two for one deal so grab it because it doesn’t happen often!

Jim Cuddy performs with Barney Bentall at Théâtre Corona, 2490 Notre-Dame Ouest, Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7 at 8pm. Tickets are $61.50 and available through Evenko

Canada’s Next Big Thing Arrives In Montreal

They are Canada’s next Sloan. The most exciting show this week is the arrival of Nova Scotia bred Hillsburn who will be playing an intimate album launch at Casa Del Popolo. The up and coming band has a busy month ahead; BOOKED SOLID everyday this month on tour across The Great White North.

They’ve got a fresh authentic sound that has got audiences dancing on their feet. They’ve hooked up with Classified for one of their singles off their new album. You won’t get this chance again to see them at such an intimate venue as Casa.

We covered the band in more detail for our contest post, so check it out for more details on why this is A MUST to check out.

Hillsburn perform at Casa del Popolo, 4873 boul St-Laurent, Sunday, April 8, 8pm. Tickets are $9.80 and available through Indie Montreal

A Dose Of Nu Gaze For Your Ears

Do you like bands like Blonde Redhead, My Vitrol, And Silversun Pickups? Do you miss the good old days of alternative rock that showcased droning riffs, messy non-linear distorted guitars, and gloomy vocals?

Look no further, Montreal’s own Paddle To The Sea will electrify the stage with their high energy hooks. The first time I heard their adrenaline fueled song, Moon, it blew me away. Like why aren’t these guys famous; seriously?!

Their chimmey shimmering guitars combined with dark vocal hooks are really comforting to the ears. Yet they don’t sound overproduced; instead the generate a raw and edgy authentic sound that is radio friendly. Hello CHOM, get with the times already.

Regardless, the power trio is currently in the studio recording their second LP, with seasoned go to producer Fern Bouie – who does sound for big bands that come to town like The Beach Boys and other high profile acts.

If you can’t make the show, listen to their song moon, its a killer track. Go share it with all your FB friends and help these guys get some visibility.

Thicke Sugar, Paddle to the Sea and Lost Acres perform at Petit Campus, 57 Prince Arthur Est, Saturday, April 7, 8pm. Tickets are $10 at the door

Throwback To MTV Unplugged

I love the vibe of high energy rock bands that strip everything down to cedar wood guitars, brush sticks, and acoustic bass guitars sans AMP. You can really hear the songwriting craft with no distortion and high volume to distract you from the essence of the song itself.

Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam in the 90s come to mind when thinking about such intimate music circles and an adoring crowd in the cozy New York City MTV unplugged studios of yesteryears.

Well, we are getting a little treat this week at our local watering hole Barfly. Hailing from neighboring Toronto, The Do Good Badlies, are in town but they won’t be plugging in. Instead it will be a wireless evening, with three of the four members going up on stage one at a time to showcase the songs they’ve written for the band with just acoustic guitars.

There will be whiskey. Lots of whiskey, mainly supplied by Sir Jack Himself, as the rockers are proudly influenced by the classic timeless sounds of the 60s garage rock, 70s classic rock, as well as more modern tinged sounds a la Arcade Fire.

It will be a feel good music night and PWYC makes it hard to say no to this unique night at Barfly.

The Do Good Badlies’ What Goes Around Songwriter’s Circle is at Barfly, 4062A St-Laurent, Thursday, April 5 at 10pm. PWYC

* Featured image of Moonfruits via Indie Montreal

* 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. Our week goes from Thursday to Wednesday, so let us know by the preceding Sunday, though not too much in advance, or you may get lost in the shuffle. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

There’s nothing in the world like a band that plays to sold out crowds every single night. Hillsburn’s tour schedule is impressive: booked solid almost every night for the month of April. You can tell right away when a band is about to fly high.

Coming to see Hillsburn play live in such an intimate setting as cozy Casa Del Popolo is like going to see Nirvana play songs off their Bleach album at Foufounes before they got HUGE!

So without further ado, here are:

Four Really Good Reasons Why You’re Gonna Love To See Hillsburn Play Live:

High Profile Gig

First off, they’ve graced the stage at high profile festivals, you know, the ones where CTV, and La PRESSE show up with their minivans and cams:

Breakout West
Canadian Music Week
East Coast Music Association Week
Canadian Folk Music Awards

The crowd is gonna be stellar at Casa for the show, and who knows what well known faces you might recognize. If you want to impress your date, this is the Go To show this week.

Unexpected Sound

Second, their sound is hard to describe. And these days, this is almost impossible. Yet they sound fresh and contemporary. They’ve been described in the media as anthemic and timeless.

If you’re on the hunt for new music that doesn’t sound recycled and derivative, come see this band.

Egos Left at the Door

Third, there are no rock stars here. Everyone collaborates towards the UNIT, and that’s what comes across in the music, a nice cohesive sound that’s about the songs.

If you are about the music and would rather avoid the divas and drama queens of the music industry, this is YOUR NIGHT

Independent Like You’d Never Believe

Fourth, Hillsburn proves that the human spirit is still alive. Fiercely independent, the quintet decided to bypass the confines of the traditional studio environment. Instead, they choose to write, compose, collaborate and record their second album in a Halifax apartment.

When a up and coming band band buries an award-winning debut album and chooses to go the independent route for their second album, people sit up and take notice.

Birds of a feather flock together. If you value being independent and not selling out, this is a band you want to associate yourself with.

Bonus Points:

Their track Everywhere is produced by Classified.

They’ve captured the interest of FACTOR (government program that offers financial support to talent-rich artists).

The Contest

It’s quite simple. To win two free tickets, comment on this post telling us why you want to come see Hillsburn! The person who writes the best response will get on the VIP guest list +1 to see Hillsburn live on Sunday, April 8, 8pm, at Casa del Popolo, 4873 boul St-Laurent.

We will announce the winner on Friday, April 6. If you don’t win, tickets are available through Indie Montreal.

Good luck!

Hello dear FTB readers and welcome to another edition of Montreal Live Music Shows This Week.

We have an eclectic mix of recommendations for you, from avant-guard progressive metal to authentic electro-pop. We also have some great local alt country/bluegrass as well as maritime acoustic folk rock coming your way.

Since there’s nothing positive to say about the rain and snow on its way to Montreal, let’s keep things on the up and up and focus on the live music!

Come See What the Maritimes Are Blowing In

Nova Scotian Jesse Potter brings his heartfelt solo act to Barfly to showcase his latest songs filled with creativity.

Hailing from an ocean side town in Annapolis Valley, Potter draws inspiration from the crashing waves of his hometown, and the awe-spiring nature that surrounded him growing up.

Inspired by jazz, gypsy music, folk, and pop, he brings his unique brand of adult contemporary acoustic jazz to Montreal on his first cross Canada tour. But make no mistake, he’s been grinding away at developing his sound for several years; he has a full LP out produced by Scott Hupman of The Hupman Brothers, and has played well known festivals back home like Lunenburg’s Folk Harbour Festival and Wolfville’s Deep Roots Music Festival.

Musical inspirations include Andy And Ariana, Micah O’connell, Adam Bazinet, and Chris Robison.

“Everything is constantly influencing my music. When I’m writing a song, my environment, the people around me, what sounds I heard throughout the day, and even the way I’m positioned affect how the song turns out in the end.”

Potter has a great uplifting and positive vibe on stage so come show your support for this very special artist:

Montreal’s own folk rock outfit Temporary Flings open the show. It is the brainchild of two songsmiths Shawn Thicke and Jean-Marc Grenier. Both had a hard time finding the right musicians to work with, but once they met, the chemistry sparked immediately and they came up with four songs right off the bat the first time they jammed.

Influenced by classic bands like Led Zeppelin, The Hip, and Dave Matthews Band, the misfits teamed up with rockers Zacharie Robert on bass and Jas Bat on drums to complete the lineup.

“Our songs tell stories of outcasts, underdogs, criminals, dreamers, and romantics in search of redemption”

Jesse Potter performs with Temporary Flings at Barfly, 4062A St-Laurent, Friday, March 30, 8pm

El Coyote: A Happy Accident

Alt country folk outfit El Coyote will be launching their first album of all original material at Casa this week. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Gilles Castilloux at The Treatment Room; the go to studio for big names like Plants & Animals, Stars, Wintersleep, and We Are Wolves.

The band was a happy accident resulting from casual Friday night jams for local musicians with busy careers to let loose, have some fun, and get through the winter. But as the weeks went by, everyone around the table started to realize that there was something more to this. Originals started to appear and by springtime, a full album worth of material was ready.

El Coyote is a great blend of country, americana and bluegrass that comes with a lot of heart and soul. And the vocal harmonies are stellar.

El Coyote perform at Casa del Popolo, 4873 St-Laurent, Tuesday April 3, 8pm. Tickets $13/$15 available through Casa del Popolo

March Is For Metal

Indiana progressive metal band The Contortionist come to Montreal to rock the stage and promote their latest album Clairvoyant. The band has been part of over 22 concert tours so far. The hardworking metallers, influenced by bands like Deftones, Meshuggah and Dream Theatre, have four studio albums and three EPs so far.

Lyrically, The Clairvoyant album has a melancholy vibe. Unlike their their previous album Language, which was more upbeat, this time around the lyrics focus on death and the darker side of that.

The Contortionist is one of those bands that is the opposite of bands like Slayer, Killswitch Engage, or AC/DC who do the same thing album after album. Instead, they are taking the route of bands like Pink Floyd and Mastodon and experimenting with new ideas and sounds each album.

The band started off releasing their first album of typical heaviness: down tuned guitars, with big riffs and lots of chugging. Solid album but nothing that set them apart from the dozens of other bands doing the exact same thing.

Three albums later, with a new vocalist, the band is coming into their own. The atmospheric vibe gives their single Reimagned a dreamy feel, and you can hear pop influences within.

The Contortionists perform at Théâtre Fairmount, 5240 Ave du Parc, Saturday, March 31st at 7pm. Tickets are $28 and available through Théâtre Fairmount

Riding The Electropop Wave

Hailing from North Carolina, Grammy nominated duo Sylvan Esso have been working the circuit since 2013 with their brand of indie-electro pop. Their first album reached No. 39 on The Billboard 200, and they’ve played The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

The band has come a long way. Both musicians were in bands that never went anywhere. But a chance encounter at The Cactus Club in Milwaukee changed their destinies forever.

They recorded their self titled debut album in an apartment bedroom and started touring in a Toyota Prius, the band having to do their own light show. 12 months later, they were headlining theatres and playing big festivals.

Their second album garnished positive reviews. Geena Kloeppel of Spin wrote:

“What Now finds the band questioning the confines of electronic pop music, deconstructing traditional notions of beat and melody with intricacy and ingenuity.”

What Now includes the single Coffee which has streamed 47 million times on spotify.

Sylvain Esso perform at Théâtre Corona, 2490 Notre-Dame Ouest, Tuesday, April 3, 8pm. Tickets available through Evenko

And For Those Who Like Things A Little More Polished

M bar is hosting an interesting evening Friday; distinguishing themselves from the rock, pop and metal going on this week, we have a special show that is swinging with jazz, lounge, and art rock.

The all star lineup of The Firing Squad consists of Alex Lepanto, drums, Gideon Yellin, guitar, and Lloyd White, bass. This professional backing band will be supplying the tunes for inspiring singer Enzo S, as he brings his version of jazz, funk and rhythm and blues to the stage.

Incredibly, this show is absolutely FREE. Plus, happy hour is happening LATE, so you’ll have from 10pm-12pm to fill up on cheap drinks and enjoy some TOP NOTCH musicians grace the stage.

The Firing Squad & Enzo S perform at M Montreal, 1245 rue Saint-André, Friday, March 31, 10pm, FREE

* Featured image of The Firing Squad via Facebook

* 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. Our week goes from Thursday to Wednesday, so let us know by the preceding Sunday, though not too much in advance, or you may get lost in the shuffle. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Hello dear Forget The Box readers!

The clocks have sped up, we just had our first day of spring and things are looking on the up and up. You can feel it in the air as the sun shone the other day and everyone felt anticipation for the good weather on its way in.

It’s a very hopeful time of the year and the artists this week are the first performers to bring in this wonderful season: there’s 16 year old prodigy Billie Eilish, pop music’s savior from the likes of Britney Spears and company, the classic old school metal Iced Earth, and local working class musicians Naghmeh and the Southern Shores all playing in town this week.

Naghmeh and the Southern Shores: Local and Soulful

“Her love for nature and her positive vibes spill out of her music.. the energy of Naghmeh and the Southern Shores is contagious … leaves you wanting more.”

– Fred di Santo, Artist Relations @ Godin Guitars.

Come check out Iranian Canadian front woman Naghmeh Shafiei and her bandmates Don Pinkerton (drums), David Saveliosky (bass) and Seth Duin (lead guitar) for a late brunch performance at L’Escalier. Fusing Persian melodies and rhythms in her vocals with soulful rock and folk influences, Naghmeh draws bits and pieces from the likes of Metallica and The Eagles, and her open minded taste in several genres.

If you are a fan of melodramatic/quasi-sarcastic lyrics, you are sure to be entertained. It’s always a score to come see a band of seasoned performers play.

This hard working band plays a live gig or two every month, so the four-piece are not new to the scene. They’ve hit up Casa Del Popolo, Grumpys, and Brutopia among other well known bars.

Naghmeh had been gracing the stages of open mics in Vancouver, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Calgary, and Berlin prior to settling down in Montreal. And it shows. The energetic front woman has great stage presence and knows how to work a crowd.

“I often think and write about love and war, about friends and family, about gratitude and uncertainty. About all and nothing at all.”

Naghmeh and the Southern Shores perform at l’Escalier, 552 Ste-Catherine Est, Saturday March 24th from 3-5pm. Free

Iced Earth

Hailing from Tampa Florida, birthplace of Death Metal, Iced Earth brings its 34 year rich history to Montreal. Spearheaded by founding member and main songwriter/guitarist Jon Schaffer, with 11 studio albums thus far, fans of bands like Death and Testament are in for a real treat.

.So come join Iced Earth for a night of old school thrash, power metal and that special Florida metal sound that grows alongside the orange tree groves of Sunkist.

The Noise and Heavy Montréal present Iced Earth performing with Sanctuary and Kill Ritual at Théâtre Corona, 2490 Notre-Dame Ouest, Sunday, March 25 at 7:30pm. Tickets available through Evenko

Billie Eilish

If you haven’t hear of 16 year old prodigy Billie Eilish, you’ve definitely heard her single Ocean Eyes that went viral and has 35 million streams on Spotify. The young musician is making waves, with Apple naming her their Upnext Artist last October.

Born into a family of actors and musicians, Eilish was raised and home schooled in Los Angeles where at age 11 she started writing songs with her brother. Although her songs are pop in nature, she’s got an unusual take on the genre.

“My first real song was about the zombie apocalypse…I literally watched The Walking Dead and I took little lines from it.”

Her song Bellyache is about a psychopath who s just killed all her friends. And her lyrics for the track Hostage are also unexpected:

I want to steal your soul
And hide in your treasure chest

The pop star also has a unconventional style: baggy pants, track suits, silver hair and likes wearing a Louis Vuitton scarf around her neck in the heat of the summer.

“I just like dressing out of my comfort zone. I want to dress in a way that if I was in a room full of people wearing regular clothes, I would be like “Oh I bet everyone’s looking at me. I want to feel that way. That’s my casual.”

Billie Eilish performs with Reo Cragun at Théâtre Corona, 2490 Notre-Dame Ouest, Tuesday, March 27 at 8pm. The show was originally moved from Fairmount Theatre because it was sold out but now is sold out at the larger venue as well

* Featured Image of Naghmeh and the Southern Shores via naghmehasong.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. Our week goes from Thursday to Wednesday, so let us know by the preceding Sunday, though not too much in advance, or you may get lost in the shuffle. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

If you have a regular spot along Ste-Catherine where your friends know they can meet you during the annual Montreal St. Patrick’s Day Parade, you won’t be going there this year. Well, I suppose you can, but you’ll just be standing on a street corner, quite possibly day drinking in public alone, for a few hours.

For the first time in over half a century, the parade will be a block up, running along de Maisonneuve from City Councillors to MacKay, where it will head south to René-Lévesque and finish. That’s right, it will also be running east to west for the first time in my lifetime at least.

This is due to major renovations on Ste-Catherine, currently underway around Bleury and making their way to Atwater over the next four years. While Mayor Valérie Plante may be changing some of the specifics of the plan, it was former Mayor Denis Coderre who set the timeframe, so you can blame him (or Montreal’s outdated sewage system) for the change.

This Will Be…Different

So what will a St. Patty’s Parade on de Maisonneuve look and feel like? Possibly a little more cramped and awkward than usual.

While de Maisonneuve may offer a slightly wider street than Ste-Catherine at parts, sidewalk space is, for the most part, considerably smaller (hence the cramped). That is unless you close the bike path and use it as spectator space, which I’m guessing they will do (hence the awkward).

The floats and marching bands will have enough space to make their way down the route. If you want to watch them go by, though, picking a good spot could be crucial to your enjoyment.

Most businesses in the area benefit from the parade. During the parade itself, that’s mainly depanneurs, coffee shops and restaurants. The categories won’t change this year, but those specific businesses used to dealing with a sustained rush (and in some cased inflating prices) will be relegated to a larger than normal clientele thinking ahead and vice versa.

The route

For many, myself included, parade day is also about the mid-afternoon after-party. That’s what it’s all about for area bars who have one of their biggest days of the year on a Sunday afternoon.

While there are some major bars along the parade route located between de Maisonneuve and Ste-Catherine, most that cater to the St-Patty’s crowd can be found heading south towards René-Lévesque or along Ste-Catherine itself. This is especially true in the Guy-Concordia area.

All bars in the area will, of course, be packed to one degree or another this year, but I wonder if altered proximity to where everyone is coming from will make a difference in just how packed certain places will get. This is one time of year when passing by one place first instead of another just down the street can make a difference.

But Not That Different

While a key part of the ritual that is the Montreal St. Patrick’s Day parade will be different this year, there are at least three key things moving up a street can’t change:

The Show: It’s the same parade, pretty much. The Irish dancers will still be there, so will the Shriners, the high school marching bands, the university floats, the corporate product placement, the fire department from some random town in Ontario and, of course, local media. Well, not all local media, FTB still doesn’t have a float. Sure, we never asked for one, but still… Different street, same parade.

Unexpected Meetings: My favourite part of parade day are all the chance encounters with people I haven’t seen, except for online, since the previous year, or sometimes for a lot longer. You never know just who you’re going to run into and randomly hang out with for a few minutes or a few hours and that won’t change with a different route.

Montreal Spring: No matter how cold it may be outside on the day, or the fact that it was significantly warmer the previous weekend, this is really the first sign that spring has come to Montreal. We’re all outside for a decent period of time together and we’re enjoying it.

And we can do that on de Maisonneuve just as well as we can on Ste-Catherine.

* The 195th Annual Montreal St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts at noon on Sunday, March 18th

Hooray! It’s the last week of winter. Time has sprung forward, the clouds are starting to part ways, and even though it’s still cold outside I swear I saw these dudes wearing florescent shorts the other day.

Montreal, as usual, has tons of live shows going on. We made a special effort to fine tune our list for some truly relevant picks that we believe would be of special interest to you, our dear readers. We got pop, we got heavy, we got psychedelic, we got folk, we’ve got the political and more!

Oh and the prices are quite attractive for all the shows, I’d even venture to say that some of these are being had at bargain basement prices. So don’t let some great opportunities pass you by and enjoy our pics of the week!

The Moonlight Club: A Show Not To Be Missed

Montreal’s own The Moonlight Club plays an intimate show Thursday March 15th @ L’Escogriffe to launch their first LP. If you’re in the mood for emotive dreamy music with a hefty dose of 80s new wave hooks, you’ll be kicking yourself for missing this one.

This raw authentic power trio doesn’t play shows that often so you’ll want to jump on this one. We had the pleasure of interviewing the band. You can read it and then head down to l’Esco for an early show.

The Moonlight Club LP Launch is at l”Escogriffe, 4461 St-Denis, Thursday, March 15, 5-8pm, FREE

Earthless: Tight Power Trio With Heavy Grooves And Lots Of Vocals This Time Around

Hailing from San Diego, instrumental band Earthless combines classic & psychedelic rock, modal jazz (think Miles Davis) and krautrock. Don’t get the wrong idea, though, these guys are not stoner rock. In fact, they don’t even smoke pot and would rather opt for a refreshing iced tea.

They’ll be supporting their newly released album, Black Heaven, playing at L’Astral on Thursday March 15th. The band recorded the album in Joshua Tree, California, with Eagles of Death Metal’s Dave Catching producing.

Although Earthless has been mainly an instrumental band, this is the first album where the majority of the songs have vocals. If you are into bands like Rocket From The Crypt, Nebula, Hot Snakes, you’ll want to see these guys play live.

Oh, and the new vocals sound fantastic. Here’s a sample:

At $24.75, attending this concert is a real steal.

Earthless with Kikagaku Moyo and Jjuujjuu perform at L’Astral, 305 Ste-Catherine Ouest, Thursday, March 15, 8pm. Tickets available through Evenko

Beth Ditto: Outspoken Singer Graces The Stage In Montreal

She’s got vocal pipes of steel. She can keep up with the likes of Janis Joplin, Tina Turner and Eta James. The former singer of punk band Gossip Beth Ditto will belt out dancy uplifting tunes at Theatre Fairmont Friday March 16.

She’s also an outspoken against body shaming and a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights and isn’t shy to be known as “a fat, feminist, lesbian from Arkansas. “A real refreshing take on pop music:

Beth Ditto with SSION performs at Fairmount Theatre, 5240 Ave du Parc, Friday, March 16th, 9pm. Tickets are $34.05 and available through Evenko

Hobo Party: A Beautiful Evening of Acoustic Based Music With Music Sang From The Heart

Truly a feast for the ears. This is my personal underdog show for this week; and what a diamond in the rough. Listening to the music, I’m just amazed how soulful these two local acts are, a real treat at a price a fraction of what the show is worth.

Fingerpicking goodness resonates from Ol Savannah with music sung deep from their southern souls. They’ve been honing their sound since 2008, first as a duo and then expanding into a five-piece with three albums under their belt.

You can hear them harnessing the sounds of Appalachian hill music and delta Mississippi blues. This show will be a launch for their new EP Hobo so make sure you get your CD/download. Check out their superb rendition of Nobody’s Fault But Mine:

Opening act bluegrass/folk/punk/pop Bats In The Belfry is an all female string trio that play songs that are truly haunting and heartwarming about the human condition with superb vocals. An engaged fan came up with the best description yet of their style: Darkgrass. Here is a track from Hounded; an album that truly stirs the soul:

This is a benefit show to support Montreal’s Sun Youth. So bring canned goods, and some unused clothing to donate and get $2 off the $10 door price.

Once again, what a steal this show will be, and combined with a great cause, you can’t go wrong.

Ol Savannah with Bats in the Belfry perform at l”Escogriffe, 4461 St-Denis, Thursday, March 15th at 9pm (following The Moonlight Club). $10 at the door or $8 with a donation

Gutserversary: A Night Of Heavy Music and Optional Debauchery

It will be loud. It will be heavy. Gutser will be headlining their fourth anniversary show presented by CJLO and GrimeyMTL on  Friday.

Although billed as a band “too lazy to break up” their album Gutser Sucks (2016) is tight, and well defined and screams hard working musicians:

If your in need of some catharsis, you’ll enjoy Venomenon’s dark heavy grooves. With its tight rhythm section and prominent vocals, you’ll enjoy this high quality local band:

Aggressive, no holds barred, Jesus Horse will blow your eardrums out with their harsh aggressive bombastic groove-alicious tracks:

KATO rounds off the bill; although we couldn’t find a demo, they have a cool name and that counts for something, right?

Four Year Gutserversary is at Casa Del Popolo, 4873 Boul St-Laurent, Friday, March 16th at 8:30pm. Tickets are $5 in advance or $7/PWYC at the door

* Featured image via Earthless on Bandcamp

* 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. Our week goes from Thursday to Wednesday, so let us know by the preceding Sunday, though not too much in advance, or you may get lost in the shuffle. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

The Moonlight Club is a Montreal based power trio with exceptional songwriting craft that released their first LP on Feb 2nd, 2018 including two official singles. They possess a refreshing and energizing signature sound that demonstrates strong hooks combined with inspired creativity.

You don’t want to miss their intimate album launch at L’Escogriffe this Thursday.

Fact Sheet

Time spent in studio: 9 days
Number of songs on LP: 7
Number of musicians: 3
Sound: lush jangly guitars with a generous helping of 80s new wave hooks
Band formation: 2010
Artist Development Support: Indie Montreal
Past work: 2 EPs (2015, 2016)

They look like typical indie rockers you’ll spot walking the shady streets of the Mile End; beards, jeans, tattoos and semi-hollow guitars. But what distinguishes this power trio are its songs: energetic, authentic, with an unusual intensity.

The indie three-piece drew inspiration for the band’s name from a club in London’s West End Lane that showcased bands that were part of the New Romantics club scene of the 80s including Joy Division and The Specials. The fact that psychedelic electronic act The Stone Roses played there before the beloved club closed down added to its mystic appeal.

Primary songwriter, guitarist and lead singer Francois Royer Mireault and John Pankert (bass and vocals) each jammed with a lot of musicians over the years but it was really their chemistry together that fueled their passion to embark on a musical journey that captured the attention of artist development firm Indy Montreal.

That chemistry remained strong and lead to the creation of their first EP, Words in Gold, in 2015, and then again to their next big step which was recording their first debut self-titled album in 2017.

Francois draws inspiration from The Stone Roses, Neil Young and The Kinks.

“These bands write beautiful timeless songs that leave you dreaming for days. They record songs in their own way with their own quirks and particularities. These artists write songs that come from an honest place.”

Frank Rousso’s agile expressive drumming and John’s groove laden deep bass lines draw inspiration from bands like Half Moon Run, Plants & Animals and Leif Vollebekk.

An Obsession With Songwriting

Francois’s approach to songwriting is organic and free flowing, where there is no start or finish.

“I’m always observing reality and re-purposing it into a song.”

His phone is filled with little bits of ideas here and there. When the right time comes, he’ll use his backlog of 15-20 ideas and then he’ll hunker down and really focus on the details.

Both he and John, the band’s other primary songsmith, work on their concepts by themselves until a sketch is ready to show others. After that, its months of fine tuning with the objective ears of friends and band-mates and then a final spin with a producer.

“Songwriting isn’t just a craft, it’s an obsession. There is no recipe. You can copy tricks from famous songwriters and pop stars but it won’t feel authentic. Your audience knows instinctively when a song is authentic and when it’s not.”

Living Life Large At Breakglass Studios

The band burrowed themselves away for only nine days in the studio to emerge back into the world with seven brand new songs. They chose to record at famed Breakglass Studios nestled in a loft in the hills of Montreal’s leafy Plateau.

With 5000 square feet, vintage Fender Silverface amps, a 70s Ludwig drum kit, a grocery list of ribbon microphones, and a 1968 Neve Pre 80 Series input console; the boys were in good company. Guided by the wisdom of talented producer David Smith (Elephant Stone, Patrick Watson, Leif) the band went on a musical journey and discovered what they were made of.

Spacious Dreamlike Sounds From The Ether

In the vein of less is more, The Moonlight Club demonstrates that a lot can come out of simplicity.

Although they already recorded two EPs before this album, their core signature sound has remained the same. If anything, they’ve refined the arrangements for recording their first LP demonstrating an increase in confidence and willingness to reveal more.

With less fills, less distortion, less speed and more space for vocals, and the addition of agile drummer Francois Rousseau, the band has channeled the spirit of raw authentic bands like Neil Young and Joy Divison, celebrating their own unique take of an expansive energizing sound.

“Our sound is a natural response to the overproduced music on the airwaves right now. It’s just not good for your brain or your soul.”

The band opted for a raw sound for other reasons as well such as limited studio time and being a three piece power trio, but perhaps even more importantly:

“It’s way more fun to just plug and play,” Francois noted, “when the band plays live, what you hear on the record is what you hear on stage.”

Future Endeavors

Plans for 2018 include several shows already booked in Montreal for the upcoming months, filming some original video clips for some of the songs as well as creative side projects for various members of the band. Also, there are some live sessions with local radios in the pipeline. In addition, the band has their eye on getting on the roster for outdoor summer festivals to gain exposure to a wider fan base.

You can catch them launch their album and perform this Thursday, November 15th, at l’Escogriffe, 4461 St-Denis, from 5 to 8pm. Until then, check out their site or give a listen to their first single:

Nuit Blanche, for me, is all about checking out as many random things as I can with friends, running into people I haven’t seen in a while and taking the metro home at a time it doesn’t usually run just because I can. This past Saturday was all tgat, but also a chance to celebrate and remember the unforgettable Montreal poet, songwriter and icon Leonard Cohen.

After some time spent at a church and the obligatory run through the Belgo Buildings, we braved the sea of humanity in Place des Festivals to make our way to the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (or the MAC) where the exhibit Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything was showing. The line looked daunting at first, but moved quickly for a Nuit Blanche line.

The first room we entered turned out to be the one we would spend the most time in. It was all about Leonard’s music career, with concert footage from each era mixed in with interviews and archival photos and video simultaneously projected on three walls.

It was on a loop but it took about an hour for the whole loop to start again. It was chock full of great footage and I saw a good chunk of the crowd singing along at several points and caught myself doing the same.

After being treated to a quality mini musical doc, we checked out the rest of the exhibit. There were rooms with presumably equally as thorough videos on Leonard’s poetry and writing and one with an organ where each key played a recording of Leonard saying something.

I would have liked to spend more time in these rooms, but the Nuit Blance bustle and the fact that it was close to closing time (pun intended) for the museum meant I would have to do that some time in the future (okay, enough, two is pushing it). Seriously, though, I will make a point of returning to fully immersing myself in this exhibit before it closes.

While the use of technology was impressive throughout, there was one section, separated into two rooms, that took it to the next level. In the first, there was one screen with a choir singing Leonard Cohen songs (what else). Rather, they were singing parts of Leonard Cohen songs.

When you went around the corner, there was a larger room with what seemed like over 20 screens in a circle facing inwards. Each one had a different person on it and they were all singing or speaking different parts of the same song the choir in the other room was singing, in sync.

If you got close enough to one screen, you heard that person either taking part in the song or moving around, rustling pages or clearing their throat quietly. It was very intimate and human and technologically slick at the same time.

Pretty sure all or at least most of the people were local, too. I recognized one person I know and a few others seemed very familiar.

And then there was the hologram. Yes, in a room made up to look like Leonard’s from some non-specific time in his lengthy career, there was a balcony with a Leonard Cohen hologram sitting down and looking out on the city.

While everything on Nuit Blanche was free and this exhibit normally isn’t, I don’t mind paying to take it in again and fully experience it. From what I already experienced, it’s unique, a great tribute and worth it.

Really glad that Leonard was part of my Nuit Blanche this year.

* Featured image by Stephanie Laughlin

** Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything runs at the MAC until April 9, 2018

Protesters in Montreal are no longer required to provide a route to police. The Quebec Superior Court invalidated section 2.1 of Municipal Bylaw P-6 which was added at the height of the Maple Spring student protests in 2012 by then-Mayor Gerald Tremblay.

Over the past few years, Montreal Police (SPVM) used this provision to kettle and ticket protesters and to stop marches minutes after they started. The annual Anti-Police Brutality March being a frequent target.

The Quebec Superior Court had already invalidated Section 3.2 of the bylaw, the provision banning masks at protests, back in 2016. In the same ruling, the court put some restrictions on 2.1, but didn’t eliminate it entirely.

Not content with a partial victory, the plaintiffs, which included protest mascot Anarchopanda, decided to appeal. Today they won and the problematic parts of P-6 are gone and the court’s decision is effective immediately.

“Let’s not forget that this victory belongs to our comrades who take to the streets and risk police and judicial repression to fight for all our rights,” Sibel Ataogul, one of the lawyers fighting the appeal said in a Facebook post, adding: “Despite victories, judiciarisation is not the solution. Only the struggle pays.”

* Featured image by Chris Zacchia

An allegedly progressive university that cannot deal with the victims of campus sexual harassment and assault is not as progressive as it claims. A culture of victim-blaming, administrative delays, and refusal to hold the perpetrators to account is indicative of rape culture that only profits the most sinister patriarchal forces in a school in dire need of change. No local example demonstrates this quite so well as what is going on at Concordia.

Concordia has a sexual harassment and assault problem.

It is a problem that exists despite the university’s policy regarding security which applies to students, employees, and visitors. According to said policy, effective as of September 2002 (and thus unchanged):

“[N]o person shall…engage in violent behavior, threaten violence, or engage in any other illegal behavior on campus.”

In addition to a security policy, Concordia has a stand-alone policy on sexual violence that came into effect at the end of May 2016. Like the security policy, it applies to all members of Concordia.

Its purpose is to provide a safe environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors in which sexual violence will not be tolerated, while providing support for those impacted by sexual violence. It also provides definitions of such terms as “sexual violence” and “consent”.

Unfortunately, the policy focuses primarily on the victim and fails to state what consequences a perpetrator would face for sexual harassment and assault. If Concordia truly has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and assault, the penalty for such behavior should be stated clearly from the start.

Historically rules that are vague are prone to misinterpretation, abuse, and a lack of enforcement and this is sadly what has happened at Concordia. Their current policy leaves the choice of action almost entirely with the victim, which increases the risk that their abuser will get off easy if they successfully scare their victim(s) into silence.

It is to Concordia’s credit that they have recently allowed student government to participate in the drafting of an official sexual assault policy, but is this too little too late?

In November 2015, after numerous complaints to Concordia about the racial discrimination and sexual harassment she’d endured at the hands of fellow members of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) of Concordia University, “Mei Ling” with the help of The Center for Research Action on Race Relations (CRARR) and the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, reached a settlement with ASFA.

Then there is the case of “Cathy”, who spoke to this reporter anonymously about her ordeal.

Cathy was assaulted by a fellow Concordia student at her home in 2014. The police were called and the man was arrested. She then sought medical attention for her injuries. The courts took action, knowing that victims of domestic abuse are often coerced or bullied into silence and applied laws that indict domestic assaulters regardless of whether or not the victim withdraws the charges.

A month after the assault, having been informed that domestic abusers often re-offend, she told Concordia Security about the restraining order. Her actions had no effect, for the student assaulted her again, this time on campus, in 2015.

Unfortunately for Cathy and in spite of the school’s security policy, the only recourse she could take with them against her assaulter was to seek recourse from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. She found that what this amounted to was a formal or informal complaint that she would have to put her real name on, despite the intimate nature of the assaults and the likelihood that he would try and hurt her again.

She presented letters from a social worker and the court explaining the risk of her assaulter reoffending, and Concordia did nothing with them. They offered to have security escort her around campus, but Cathy knew it would just draw attention to her from other students, including her abuser, putting her further at risk.

At this point, Concordia seems to have given up. Despite a policy that bans violence and threats on campus, Concordia gave up on Cathy.

It took the breaking of stories of sexual and racial harassment survivors like Mei Ling and what happened to Cathy and so many others in the media to finally wake the university up.

Unfortunately for Cathy, the consequences of her assault and the university’s actions have been long term. The assaults gave her a severe concussion resulting in difficulties reading and writing and she lost hearing in one of her ears, requiring the intervention of neurologist and an ear, nose, and throat doctor.

The assaults and Concordia’s toothless responses to her ordeal ravaged her psychologically. Cathy now struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), has constant flashbacks, and she is terrified of meeting new people and trusting them.

The health consequences of Cathy’s ordeal hurt her academically and changed her career aspirations. To this day she never feels safe and cannot return to Concordia. She no longer feels university is for her and is afraid that going back to school would result in her being assaulted and dismissed again. She said of her ordeal:

“This is happening at universities all over the country, and I don’t feel like I could risk going through this again for any reason. I’d worked really hard to get to post secondary education and it had always felt like education was what would open doors, as long as I worked hard and put effort into it. Effort isn’t enough when the institutions responsible don’t support victims or make it safe for them to come forward. I’d love to keep studying… but the only way through is university.”

Cathy’s abuser got off light for his crimes.

He pled guilty and was given a conditional discharge, a restraining order to keep him away from her, and thirty hours of community service at Concordia for threatening and violent conduct.

He should have been expelled from the university.

Outrageously and despite his legally documented threat to students, he was not only permitted to stay at Concordia, but he wasn’t even disqualified from an Academic award he won.

In 2015 when the Mei Ling scandal made news, Concordia University president Alan Shephard announced in an open letter that the school considered student safety to be “paramount”. Unfortunately, the words were empty ones as Concordia took its usual tack of doing nothing for the victims.

In 2015 when the Mei Ling scandal made news, Concordia University president Alan Shephard announced in an open letter that the school considered student safety to be “paramount”. Unfortunately, the words were empty ones as Concordia took its usual tack of doing nothing for the victims.

In January 2018 when harassment complaints against a professor at the school’s Creative Writing reached the press, Shephard said that the university would “treat seriously” allegations of sexual misconduct. The Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) called for an independent inquiry while the university announced the establishment of a Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence.

Their plan to cooperate with students on this is a good one, but it needs to be enforceable and enforced in order to work. Concordia is trying to do better by its students, and they’d better.

FTB was contacted by a representative of Concordia requesting that the article be rewritten. While I added a policy update and some steps taken by Concordia not mentioned in the original version of this article, I stand by the central theme.

The rep also pointed out that there are penalties mentioned in their 2017 document, including expulsion, well, more specifically “a recommendation of Expulsion, subject to confirmation by the Provost and VicePresident, Academic” is listed as a potential consequence. On page 25 of 38. At the end of a long list of possible outcomes that begins with a written reprimand.

Not only is this a far cry from a logical policy, say immediate expulsion for anyone who admits in a court of law to assault, it also, as I mentioned above, comes only at the end of a process that is difficult for those, like Cathy, who fear reprisals, to enter into. It’s basically a second trial.

It’s also not well advertised. It took a PR rep showing us where to dig to find it. We’re media, we have the time. Assault victims generally don’t have that luxury.

An academic institution that doesn’t have an established punishment for admitted perpetrators and makes it difficult for victims to seek justice clearly isn’t doing enough to protect victims of assault.

Here’s hoping the new policy Concordia is drafting has more teeth.

* Featured image by deeelee via WikiMedia Commons

The City of Montreal put forward a controversial request to the Quebec government to amend the Quebec Highway Code to allow cyclists to perform a rolling stop – popularly known as the “Idaho stop”, named for the state that legalized it in 1982 – which would eliminate the need for cyclists to come to a full stop at stop signs, under certain circumstances.

This request has drawn the ire of many motorists, who already see cyclists’ generally unpredictable habits and disregard for the law as a threat to their comfort and safety. Common sense dictates that formalizing what is perceived as reckless behaviour would only succeed in putting lives at risk.

It must be said that what is considered common sense is not necessarily true or accurate, especially when it comes to risk assessment. Policies and practices that can improve safety are often counterintuitive, such as the example of mandatory helmet policies, which have been demonstrated to not improve overall safety.

Studies have shown that drivers are less likely to give cyclists a wide enough berth when passing, if the cyclist is wearing a helmet. Let me be clear that I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t wear helmets when cycling, but the kind of head trauma that helmets protect us from is comparatively rare to the other dangers faced on the road, and legislation should encourage rather than discourage cycling.

Which brings us to the Idaho stop.

Formally, the change will allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, meaning that we could slow down, gauge if there is oncoming traffic, and carry on if the coast is clear. Functionally, we already do. As an avid cyclist in the city of Montreal for the better part of thirty years (and more recently a driver), my habits are unlikely to change and the risk of being fined for running a stop sign on my bike has never been a deterrent, which is true of most cyclists in the city.

The reason is twofold.

First of all, cycling is a very physical activity, and maintaining efficiency is what makes it worthwhile. The amount of energy expended coming to a full stop, and then starting again from zero is significantly greater than maintaining some forward motion and balancing upright while scanning for traffic. Having to do this at every intersection would be a deterrent from riding at all.

City councillor and member of the Mayor’s executive committee Craig Sauvé knows this distinction.

“Pushing a pedal in a car to accelerate is not the same as moving one’s entire body to accelerate as a cyclist does,” he told me when I asked for his input.

This difference in acceleration contributes to the second factor: safety. As is often the case at an intersection on our crowded roads, I find myself next to a car, or stopped in their blind spot. And Montreal drivers aren’t exactly known for their consistent use of turn signals.

If I’m at a full stop, and a car – or worse, a truck – suddenly veers in my direction, I very likely will not have enough time to accelerate fast enough to get out of the way. However, if I maintain motion , I can accelerate or stop as needed very quickly, and will also place myself sooner in the driver’s field of vision, so they don’t accidentally clip or crush me.

Zvi Leve, a member of the Montreal Bike Coalition, views this kind of policy as a way to shift the focus of our enforcement efforts away from ineffective traffic calming methods and towards actions which are truly dangerous to others.

“We need infrastructure which is designed for the safety needs of vulnerable road users. We have designed our cities for vehicle circulation, and then we wonder why pedestrians and cyclists keep getting injured.”

Leve doesn’t suggest that this should be a free for all for cyclists, and is quick to point out that pedestrians are the most vulnerable, and need the most protections.

“Cyclists also need to understand the ‘rules of the road’ and to cede the right of way when necessary. In fact, that is what it comes down to: The ‘right of way’ can be ceded but it should never be taken.”

Hopefully, this mindfulness of courtesy regarding right of way will catch on with drivers as well. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to further infrastructural changes that will improve safety, and in a tangible way, save lives, and so is Sauvé:

“The reality is that the current highway safety code was made a half a century ago with only cars in mind. Society has evolved and there are more and more cyclists on the road every year. We have to change our highway code in Montreal to reflect that reality.”

* Featured image by Richard Mason/Cyclelicious via flickr Creative Commons