The Unicorns close out POP Montreal

The Unicorns

Like how much more epic of a close could POP Montreal come to? I myself had been up for 40 straight hours and was dressed to the nines, Ray Bans way past dark, you feel me!? I went downtown early with my best friend and chilled out in the ConU ghetto. Epic clouds at sunset. We were excited, plus it’s one of her favorite bands of all time. The girl had a super rare Unicorns shirt on— I felt a great sense of accomplishment just getting there and being awake!

So we got to Metropolis half way through the Light Fires set. I’ve written about Light Fires before— she’s dressed in drag and she kicks ass. Totally at peace up on the stage with nothing but high-hipped cut-offs, a halter top, pumps and her ipod. Light Fires makes really catchy beats and her stage presence is palpable, her witty quips and sex appeal on heavy display. We went and stood right beside the backstage exit, which is about 20 feet back from the stage. I was not getting in that pit, would have died. Between sets, Light Fires came out and I stopped her to say that the show was banging. Such a nice person. Do check out her jams.

Light FiresThe Unicorns, man! They came out in all their glory, still good looking and still tight as a cornrow. They had this cheesy loop of 90s screen savers being projected behind them. I’ve since had a conversation where someone said they weren’t feeling the backdrop, but I feel like it was in keeping with the band’s sardonic aesthetic.

There were a lot of people in the place at the start of their set. Because the band is “from” Montreal, and because they hadn’t played here in more than 10 years, the crowd was full of anticipation and even a thread of anxiety. Like, what if this band I’ve kept on a pedestal all these years shits the bed right now?

The sheets stayed good though. Everyone in this three piece sings and everyone excluding the drummer plays bass, keys, guitar. I love seeing a band of multi-instrumentalists, the trading off between songs, just the ability to own more than one instrument on stage is something for which I have a great respect. In no way did they disappoint. Although the set wasn’t long, it was full of bangers from the Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? album.

Nothing misplaced sonically. There is this observation, though— I could tell that they had rehearsed the shit out of this performance, they knew exactly what they were about. But I also felt a kind of rigidity to their renderings of the tracks, that waver of variation or improvisation wasn’t really coming through and that’s because they probably don’t jam every week, right!?

We were thoroughly impressed. The end was cool in that they did three encores that were one chord strums then a walk off stage. Just when the crowd was getting antsy, they took the stage with I was born a Unicorn. My friend turned back smiling and I knew that we were having a moment. That’s what it’s about. Yeah, the band was good, and generally the shows I cover are sharp and enjoyable. It’s all about living the magic, touching that feeling of being infinite intimately?

So, yeah— it got mystical, perhaps fittingly. We did make it to our respective homes, and God knows I needed serious nutrition and sleep— just so you know I’d do it all again if I could. That’s my take. Keep it flavourful, till next time. Peace.

Photos by Susan Moss courtesy of POP Montreal.

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