POP Montreal is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, and what better way then to throw the best festival yet. Over the years, POP has exposed me to so many beautiful and bizarre acts, like an operatic live action performance of a Dinosaur Comic and more artsy music and film than you can shake your flannel shirt at.
In this write-up, I’m going to present you with a bit of everything. Bands you’ve never heard of, and ones you have, floaty dreamy hipster indie and crazy screamy electropunk. There are so many bands playing this week (POPMTL runs from the 19th – 23rd of September) that there’s no way I could have covered everyone. But here’s a sample platter, liberally flavoured with my bias.
POP Montreal starts of with a bang Wednesday the 19th. One of my favourite series for this festival is the Commission des Liqueurs’s Let Artists Meat. They’ve lined up not one but two free shows at their Plateau location, the 19th and the 20th, and the cincher? Free smoked meat from Shwartz’s, and free beer on top of it! (While supplies last, etc).
As for the musicians providing the background noise to you stuffing your face with freebies, on the 19th the Commission has secured Mélanie Boulay with her thin, dreamy vocals and her gentle indie accompaniment. She’s opening the night for Keith Kouna’s droning, growly electro beats-meets-little folk-rock ditties, and VioleTT Pi’s sexy, discordant, danceable, beautiful prog pop mess.
On the 20th the free meat and beer party continues, this time with Coyote Bill opening the night. An energetic and eclectic 9-piece, Coyote Bill’s music is epic, jazzy, and textured, with an awesome mix of electronic and acoustic sounds. On the same bill is FM Hi-Low’s smooth and soulful dub and MAK’s serene, melancholic, and complex hybrid sounds, drawn as they are from a wide array of influences like jazz to electro.
Both will be beautiful shows, and both will get you dancing, and I’m sure both will go amazingly well with the taste of costing nothing. The best spice.
Commission des Liqueurs: 4521 Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Shows start at 8pm.
Let’s get back to the 19th, shall we.
If the Commission show that night doesn’t grab you, Pop Montreal is full of options. Especially if you love gentle ephemeral pop–which, I’ll confess right now, I don’t. But there’s endless dreamy indiepop all over the city and I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk up some of it. Indierock veteran and once-vocalist for Stereolab Laetitia Sadier plays at the Ukranian Federation the night of the 19th, backed on the bill by bewitching Welsh psych-pop folkie Cate Le Bon and the diffuse, post-punk, surf-flavoured tunes of Orca Team.
For a night of minimalist low-fi, check out the packed bill at Brasserie Beaubien. Brave Radar makes sunny-sounding tunes with two guitars and a beat-up drum kit, while Mavo rocks a more garage punk feel, with diffuse vocals—sometimes in Japanese. Freelove Fenner is smooth, minimalist pop, and Cresting’s analog tape-loop experiments sometimes sound more like moments than music. Sheer Agony make smile-worthy pop and Chevalier Avant Garde rock their synthy, retro pop minimalism and layered vocals. A spacey and aurally intriguing night!
Now, if you’re into something with a little more edge, consider instead the show going on at Foufs the night of the 19th. The Koffin Kats open the night with their genre-bending psychobillie and the Street Dogs will deliver a dose of classic Boston-style anthem punk. Following up on the same bill is Roll the Tanks, with their musical, catchy style reminiscent of early UK punk. The night closes with Downtown Struts delivering their gritty punk that fuses 80s hardcore sensibility with post-hardcore flavours.
Or maybe you’ll be feeling the need for some raunchy funk and fun hiphop. DAM-FUNK will bring you all the synthy electro-funk he can manage, joined on the bill by the danceable 80s-style synth rock of Yacht Club and the raunchy, hardcore hiphop of Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire. They’re joined by les Anticipateurs, known for their funny, lyrically-driven hiphop bangers. Sure to be a night that’ll have you dancing and grinning, just make sure you bone up on your French before the Anticipateurs hit—it’s well worth it to catch their turns of phrase and witticisms! (And the show’s free, too!)
So that’s some samples from night #1. What’s night #2 got for us (aside from the free smoked meat discussed above, of course)? Check back later for more!
Almost forgot, Thursday there is a kick ass show in the afternoon being presented by none other then ForgetTheBox and Audio Blood at Divan Orange (1-7 pm)… and it’s FREE!
3:15pm – Cai.ro (http://www.wearecairo.com/)
4pm – Sandman Viper Command (http://
4:45pm – Amos the Transparent (http://
5:30pm – Dinosaur Bones (http://dinosaurbones.ca/)
6:15pm – Paper Lions (http://paperlions.com/)***FREE WITH A #ABLOVESPOP Tweet!
(limited space available)