While their film festival still has a few years before becoming a viable presence, the music side of Pop Montreal has firmly established itself as one of the best the city has to offer. After missing out for a few years I was happy to be back at a pop music show on October 2nd which was co-produced by one of my favorite Montreal artist collectives, Indyish.
The dance troupe Wants and Needs performs their first number (photo Stephanie Laughlin)
Indyish Producer Paul Aflalo served as an energetic host who presented a fun and eclectic evening that involved rap, burlesque and of course good old fashioned indie rock. I’ve never really been a fan of rap, but last night I was completely blown away by the performance of Ira Lee, without a doubt it was the stand out performance of the night.
His subjects were intensely serious, raging from poverty, single mothers, his abusive grandfather and struggles with loneliness. But his undeniable stage presence and the fact that each piece was performed with such raw honesty, sensitivity and even humor made me realize how intelligent, thought provoking, and fun rap can be.
Ira started and ended his show with the dance troupe Wants and Needs whose first piece was a fun 50’s themed number and closer was a performance piece that involved allot of baby powder. It may have been strange, but the whole venue smelt great afterwards.
Ira Lee presents his set to the Pop audience (photo Stephanie Laughlin)
There were two other dance performances that night, one a fun Star-Trek themed burlesque show and the other was an awesome (and sadly way too short) show by the Dance Animal troupe. The proof that Dance Animal had a great energy as they performed was evident when suddenly a group of apathetic looking hipsters started dancing along with them.
Hexes and Ohs were another band that played that night and while I’d heard of them before it was the first time I saw them live. Plenty of people were digging them (as evidence by all the drunk girls who hit the dance floor) but the set was a little too loud for my old timer ears. I used to love that ringing you get from a loud set, proof that I got to rock out, but the truth is I don’t have the patience for it anymore and so I found myself going outside allot during the Hexes and Ohs set.
Unfortunately I had to take off before the headliners The Unsettlers, who came on at midnight. On the whole, though, it was an extremely fun evening and I look forward to seeing many more shows when Pop returns to blow people’s minds next October.