When it comes to Tom Green, “expect the unexpected” is pretty much a given. Still, nothing could prepare me for the star of Freddy Got Fingered reciting all the Prime Ministers of Canada since Confederation in order.

But that’s exactly what he did at the end of our phone interview plugging his one-night only show at Just for Laughs. He got it right, too (yes, Wikipedia and I fact-checked Tom Green) and would have done the US Presidents, too, if it wasn’t time for him to move on to his next interview.

Green said that this history lesson will be part of his one night only show at Just for Laughs. Last time I caught him perform, modern US politics were center stage, too, as it happened in the lead-up to the last US Presidential Election. This time around, though, don’t expect him to focus on the current state of US politics.

“I don’t like my audience to think they are coming out to hear somebody preaching against Donald Trump for two hours,” he said, “because that’s not really what my show is about.”

Green feels that politics are all anyone is talking about in the States these days, including him, so while he does do a few minutes on the topic, he focuses more on “social issues and talking about the absurdity of life in today’s world, all of the things that aren’t directly associated with politics but are still kind of interconnected with them.”

Green has been performing stand-up since he was 15, with a break to get famous on MTV and in movies. For the past decade, though, he has been making live audiences laugh pretty much full time.

While he always has old and new material in his head and a tentative plan for the show, it’s never set in stone. He edits his show in his head depending on where the crowd wants him to go.

“When I do a joke that may be a little, let’s say, outrageous and if I feel that the audience loves that sort of outrageous commentary, maybe I’ll do a few more jokes like that,” he noted, “but if they’re getting tired of a certain type of subject matter, I’ll know maybe before they do and switch.”

While Green admits that many comics employ improv and audience work like him, what sets him apart are the different energy levels he brings to a show.

“It’s not just about the material,” he said, “it’s about how I’m saying the joke, the speed that I’m going. I’ll literally have nights where I’m doing standup and I’ll realize that this crowd wants me to be more weird, so I’ll change my personality on stage. Then there are some nights I’ll be performing in Las Vegas where I’ll notice the crowd wants me to be a bit more normal.”

But did all those TV stunts Green pulled off with people on the street influence his approach to stand-up?

“It’s almost in reverse,” he said, “people forget that I did stand-up for several years before I started The Tom Green Show. They don’t really necessarily realize that all that stuff on the street, that was rooted in stand-up. The rhythm of me walking down the street with a hand-held microphone talking to people on the street kinda came from me doing stand-up in a comedy club and talking to people in the crowd.”

Green does admit that they definitely both have influence on each other as he has brought his years of trying to pull comedy out of people on the street to the stand-up stage. He even tells people interested in his live show that only know him from TV and movies:

“It’s kind of like those bits I do on the street, except it’s happening live with people in the front row.”

Having seen him perform live once, I can attest to that. This time, though, the people in the front rows should probably brush up on their Canadian and American history.

* Tom Green: One Night Only, part of the 2018 Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, is Wednesday, July 25, 9:30pm at Maison Théâtre, 245 Ontario Est. Tickets available through hahaha.com

Francisco Ramos is a newcomer to Just for Laughs. A Venezuelan who moved to the United States in his teens, he has a unique perspective on what it’s like south of the border for immigrants, something that is prominent in his comedy and which has surprisingly remained constant even in the current political climate.

“I thought it was going to be more especially when Trump became President,” Ramos said in a phone interview, “but it hasn’t. It’s kind of been the same in terms of stereotypes that people have not for Venezuelans but for Latinos in general. I still use it to get my comedy out there and get the stereotypes out.”

Ramos, who will be performing in this year’s JFL Ethnic Show, doesn’t feel that American comedians, in particular those from visible minority backgrounds, have an obligation to address the current state of US politics. He has noted, however, that he never experienced racism or discrimination in Venezuela, but has since he arrived in the US.

“I think that when you’re an ethnic comic, especially in the States, and I know a lot of them, we don’t talk about it because we need to or we have to,” he observed, “ it’s stuff that has happened to us and we have some kind of experience and then we talk about it.”

While Ramos’ comedy does touch on politics, it’s not the main point.

“For me the main thing is to always be funny, he commented, “I’m not going to talk about anything that’s not funny. I do hit it but I don’t go so direct to it. I will be talking about it but it’s give them the funny first. I also don’t try to divide people. Everybody’s got their own beliefs and I try and respect that. I will tell my point of view, but in a funny way.”

One thing that does come out quite a bit in his comedy, and surely will at The Ethnic Show, is the all too common misconception in the states that Latino means Mexican.

“I mean I get it,” Ramos observed, “because the majority of Latinos in the US are Mexican. If that’s what you grow up with, that’s what you think everybody is. For me I’m trying to go ‘yeah, there’s Mexicans, those are Venezuelans, those are Colombians and we’re similar but we also have our differences’. I try to take it as a whole as hit on those universal things that I can do with my comedy. If I hit that, more people will be interested in seeing me and hearing more about the other stories they haven’t heard of.”

Ramos majored in the admittedly un-funny fields of Finance and International Business and started working at an investment firm after college. Then, after what he describes as a “quarter-life crisis” he moved to LA to do standup.

This journey has led him to the JFL stage for the first time. He is thrilled to be here, and when asked about the current state of US-Canada relations:

“I’d say, well now you feel how we feel. I’d say to Canada ‘keep doing what you do’ because you’re doing a great job with your prime minister and everything.”

* Francisco Ramos performs as part of The Ethnic Show in the Just for Laughs Festival starting Wednesday, July 11. Tickets available through hahaha.com

It’s festival season in Montreal and FTB is ready for it. Once again, we will be covering Just for Laughs, the world’s largest comedy festival, now under the stewardship of Howie Mandel among others after founder Gilbert Rozon was forced to step down after several women accused him of sexual assault and harassment.

The festival released a new anti-harassment policy today. While  they promise a better environment behind the scenes, they certainly seem to be staying the (successful) course on stage.

There are the big names like Trevor Noah, Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart, David Cross, Tiffany Haddish, William H. Macy (I had no idea he did standup) and the aforementioned Mandel. There are also the up-and-coming comics and eternally solid comedians populating the OFF-JFL stages. Festival staples like The Nasty Show and The Ethnic Show are back, too.

Our four-person coverage team is off and running even before the festival kicks off. In the next few days, expect to read Samantha Gold’s interview with Francisco Ramos performing at The Ethnic Show, Ellana Blacher’s conversation with The Nasty Show’s Ms. Pat and my Canadian History lesson from none other than Tom Green. Hannah Besseau will round out our pre-festival coverage with some audio interviews.

Then the real fun begins!

Just for Laughs runs July 11-29. Check hahaha.com for the complete schedule and to purchase tickets and check FTB for our coverage!

Say what you will about Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante’s first eight months in office, when it comes to animals, her Projet Montréal administration has been doing exactly what they said they would. Even her staunchest opponents can’t argue that fact.

Soon after taking office, they scrapped former mayor Denis Coderre’s much-maligned pit bull ban and promised a new, thorough animal control bylaw based on research. This past Thursday, they delivered.

Here are some of the highlights of the proposed plan, already approved by Montreal’s Executive Committee and up for vote by the full City Council tomorrow:

Calèche Ban

Montreal has issued 24 permits for horse-drawn Calèches to operate this year and in 2019, but won’t be issuing any more. As of 2020, horses pulling tourists through the streets of Old Montreal in the hot sun will be a thing of the past.

This follows several videos in recent years of horses collapsing on the “job” as well as years of opposition to the practice from Plante’s party and over a century’s worth from the Montreal SPCA. The plan also involves:

  • A move towards electric-powered calèches
  • Funding renovations of the Griffintown Horse Palace and converting it into a museum and potential living space for horses (something started under Coderre)
  • Finding new homes for the horses currently being used, which counters the calèche industry’s claim that the horses will have to be slaughtered

Rescue Not Breeders

As of July 2019, pet stores in Montreal will only be permitted to sell dogs, cats and rabbits that come from animal shelters, not from breeders. This is certainly a bold move that will prompt resistance, mostly from pet stores, but the Plante Administration is surely prepared for that.

What’s really fascinating and encouraging here, though, is that Montreal is effectively turning adopting a rescue pet from an ethical choice many currently make into the most standard and efficient way to bring an animal home in the city.

It’s the Owner, Not the Breed

While Coderre’s Pit Bull Ban is now a thing of the past, the Plante Administration hasn’t forgotten about what prompted it in the first place: a woman who died because a dog attacked her. The new bylaw deals with dangerous dogs by focusing on specific dogs that are violent and their owners, not with blanket targeting of entire breeds.

Under the new plan, if a dog bites a human, the dog’s owner is required to report it within 72 hours and muzzle the dog when outside until experts trained by the city do their job. These inspectors will classify the dog as either normal, potentially dangerous or dangerous and determine what restrictions, if any, need to be applied. The owner pays for the evaluation.

This is clearly one area where Montreal’s new administration is sticking to their promises while backing them up with logic and research.

* Featured image by Jean Gagnon via WikiMedia Commons

Aaaahh, June in Montreal. The time when you can’t walk around any part of the city without running into a local show or even a full-blown festival. There’s so much going on, we can’t possibly whittle it down to just a few listings, but that’s exactly what we’ve done, so let’s get started:

Folk Fest on the Canal

There are three things that make this festival stand out:

  1. It’s called the Folk Fest and the lineup is largely, wait for it…folk music. Sure, there are some acts that verge into somewhat less folky territory, like this year’s indie rock headliners Plants and Animals, but there is always a clear line back to folk. In a town where the (anything but) Jazz Fest reigns, it’s a refreshing change.
  2. It’s community-oriented and clean. It takes place entirely in the Sud Ouest Borough and mostly along the banks of the Lachine Canal. Also, the port-o-johns are spotless and so are the festival grounds. Like Osheaga but with people picking up after themselves.
  3. It’s Free! While donations are encouraged and there is a VIP area this year you can buy into, access to the festival and its three stages is free.

You have three options to head on down to the Canal and catch some tunes in the great outdoors. It’s a folk-ing great time!

 

Montreal Folk Fest runs June 15, 16 and 17. For complete schedule visit MontrealFolkFest.com

Naghmeh and the Southern Shores

We’ve mentioned Naghmeh and the Southern Shores in this column before, but you can never get enough of this local band’s blend of Persian melodies with rock and folk and notably interesting lyrics. They’re playing again tonight, this time at Grumpy’s, so check them out in a very intimate though always rocking space.

Naghmeh and the Southern Shores perform at Grumpy’s, 1242 Bishop, Friday, June 15, 10pm. FREE

Queer Songbook Orchestra

On Tuesday, the Queer Songbook Orchestra will take the audience at Sala Rossa on a musical journey through the last century of uplifting queer narratives in popular music. It’s their mission to celebrate and perform obscured LGBTQ2S historical narratives, as well as tell the personal stories of members of the community and the songs connected to them.

Guest vocalists Safia Nolin and Beverly Glenn Copeland as well as storytellers Louis Negin and Gabe Maharjan will join the Toronto-based 12-piece chamber pop ensemble on stage. This event is part of the Suomi Per Il Popolo Festival.

Queer Songbook Orchestra perfrorm with Darren Creech as part of Suoni per il Popolo at Sala Rossa, 4848 St-Laurent, Tuesday, June 19, 8pm. Tickets are $10 and available through lfttckt.com

Dennis Ellsworth

PEI native Dennis Ellsworth has been making music for over 20 years. He describes his sound over those decades as “dark, smooth, romantic alt-country-ish type songs” but he felt like he needed a change with his latest album, the aptly titled Things Change, produced by Joel Plaskett of The Emergency.

Here’s some of his latest sound:

Dennis Ellsworth performs with Esther Hazy and The Pangs at Barfly, 4062A St-Laurent, Tuesday, June 19, 9pm. $10 at the door

* Featured image via Queer Songbook Orchestra

* 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!

Montreal Fringe is one of those events that truly has something for every theatre go-er. You like burlesque? They have shows for that. You love drag queens and drag kings? There are shows for that too. You want drama? Comedy? Something different? Fringe has got you covered. If you’re willing to look, you’re bound to find many diamonds in the rough.

The Montreal Fringe Festival prides itself on creativity, diversity, and accessibility so even the shows that producers consider unsellable get a shot at stardom by having a chance to take the festival stage. One of the best ways to sample local talent is to take in the Fringe for All event that happens the first night of every festival.

For up to two minutes, all the local performers get a shot at enticing attendees to come to their plays. It’s a slog, but for your stamina you see a lot of gems hidden among snippets that confirm people’s worst prejudices about independent theatre – that it’s pretentious, artsy, and consisting of symbolism lost on even the university educated.

I’m not going to bore you with those. Having witnessed bits of shows that look REALLY good, I’m going tell you MY picks for Montreal Fringe 2018:

Apocalipsync : Humanity Is a Drag

I should admit right off that bat that I LOVE drag, so the show intrigued me before I saw their bit. When they took the stage I was not disappointed. Their lip sync and choreography was immaculate as was the glam the genre requires.

The premise of the show is that – “CONSERVATIVES REJOICE!” – the left ended the world and the “Social Justice Road Warriors” played by drag queens Uma Gahd, Dot Dot Dot, and Anaconda are searching for humanity’s salvation. If you’re a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, you NEED to see this show.

Greasy: A Lesbian Love Story

True to the title, the show is riff on the classic musical play Grease but with a much naughtier touch. There isn’t just dancing, there’s riveting burlesque performances proving that you don’t need to be a busty toothpick to be sexy.

Also, this is the latest offering from Glam Gam Productions who produced Peter Pansexual, which set Montreal Fringe box office records last year and a group we at FTB have been following for a while.

Mid Knight

Mid Knight is a modern fairy tale about what would happen to Little (Prince) Charming if his parents got divorced. The snippet I saw featured a piñata with the word “childhood” on it getting smashed to bits by the show’s prince with a blunt sword. The audience got any candy that came out. It’s an interesting approach to the classic fairy tale that’s timely given the renewed public interest in medieval themes due to shows like Game of Thrones and Once Upon a Time.

CLIO: Puppets, Not Patriarchy

If you’re a heterosexual male who doesn’t believe in making sure your sex partners are satisfied in bed, this isn’t the show for you. It’s a puppet show about Clio, a clitoris on a journey of self discovery to find out what she is capable of, thus becoming “cliterate”.

The snippet I saw was funny and sweet so while I don’t typically go for shows about one body part, this looks intriguing, if only to marvel at how the puppeteer keeps a straight face through the performance.

What the Hell Happened to My Patio Furniture?!

I’m not normally a fan of one-man shows, but Joshua Budman’s two-minute performance in which he wonders how his patio chairs disappeared from his sixteenth-floor balcony to the song Dust in the Wind had me laughing so hard it looks like a sure thing.

#ashtag

This is an interactive show in which audience members are invited to participate using their cell-phones. It’s a format I’ve never seen before in theatre and it featured a male and female actor with perfectly synchronised dialogue. It’s worth checking out if you like high tech audience participation

Mme Brulé

Mme Brulé starring Evelyne Laniel is a French language play that embodies the frustrations of formerly idealist teachers everywhere. The snippet I saw was hilarious and heartwarming, making me want to laugh and cheer. If you have any teachers in your life, bring them to this show.

Drunk Live Reading: Bridesmaids

If you were a fan of the film, you need to check this out. Featuring Montreal’s own Cat Lemieux who co-hosted the Fringe for All with Kenny Streule and Dayane Nbaritukure, all proceeds of the event go to the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. Not only is that an amazing cause, but Lemieux’s snippet channeled Melissa McCarthy and the late Chris Farley in way that was hilarious and riveting, making this show a sure bet.

Les Aventures d’Humphrey Beauregret

Philippe Gobeille’s one-man puppet show surprised me. His puppet “Humphrey Beauregret” is a 1940s style P.I. reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart’s classic roles. Not only does the character tell stories, he sings songs such as Unbreak My Heart and All By Myself channeling the trope’s loneliness and taking it to amusing extremes. It was riveting and funny and a good sample of what’s to come in his show.

Montreal Fringe is on from May 28th to June 17th. As festival spokesperson and Fringe veteran Véronique Raymond declared in her opening speech: “It’s the only time when Francophone and Anglophone artists share the same stage.”

Check it out. It’s worth it.

The full schedule is at MontrealFringe.ca and look for our reviews over the next few weeks

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