It’s a sweet 16 for MEG, Montreal’s longest running summer festival completely devoted to electronic music. The truly great thing about MEG, despite the festival’s growth in popularity following the commercialisation of electronic music in recent years, is it continues to showcase the up-and-comers — especially on the local level — and remains on the cutting-edge of a genre that can often feel lost in the mainstream.

MEG’s programming this year is stellar (as usual) but it’s impossible to see everything so here we present our top picks for the 2014 edition.

FRIDAY, JULY 25

Sango + Andre Power + Eden Hagos + Da-P + Yung Gayance @ Le Belmont

Michigan’s Sango is championing the so-called atl-R&B scene but he rises above the rest by combining Latin music influences into his work, blending baile funk with trap and hip hop layered on top of his minimalistic electronic beats. His debut full-length album, North, dropped earlier this week and can be heard in full via the Soulection bandcamp page.

Show starts at 10 p.m.; tickets cost $18.50 in advance and can be found at Atom Heart, MOOG Audio and Laïka or online via MEG.

SATURDAY, JULY 26 2014

Essaie Pas + Apigeon + Syzzors + Mathématique @ Divan Orange

Montreal’s Essaie Pas is dark, depressing and cinematic. What initially drew me to them was the psych influence in their earlier releases. They’ve since incorporated more dreamy synth sounds into the mix with good results.

Show starts at 10 p.m., $11 in advance via MEG or $15 at the door.

Suuns + Technical Kidman + Seoul @ SAT

My pick for the entire week would have to be Suuns and Technical Kidman. Both are fantastically acclaimed Montreal acts that have really come a long way in the past few years. Suuns have joined the big boys now and have gone touring across North America and overseas several times since the release of their debut Zeroes QC in 2010.

Technical Kidman released the follow-up to their 2011 self-titled debut earlier this month. On A Stranger Voice, the band departs from more traditional instrumentation in favour of charting untrod electronic territory. This summer, they’ve been doing the festival thing, playing NXNE in Toronto and Sled Island in Calgary. They’ll soon embark on a short Canadian tour so this is your chance to see them before they set off.

Show starts at 9 p.m.; tickets cost $17 in advance and can be found at Atom Heart and MOOG Audio or online via MEG.

SUNDAY, JULY 27

MEG x Piknic Électronik @ Parc Jean-Drapeau

MEG owes much of its success to its tradition of collaboration with other musical institutions, both at home and abroad. In addition to its annual showcase at Osheaga, MEG will be commandeering this week’s edition of Piknic Électronik. Hailing from across the pond, headliner French Fries will be joined by Paul Trafford, Manaré, Aleqs Notal, Woulg and a surprise guest. Oh and this is a Christmas-themed event.

Show starts at 2 p.m., $15 at the door. MEG festival passes are not valid for this event.

THURSDAY, JULY 31

The Gulf Stream + Melodule + Groj @ Divan Orange

This is a good example of what MEG does best: taking fresh, young, local talent and putting them on the map. This is a night featuring Montreal’s fastest-rising stars in the genre: The Gulf Stream, Melodule and Groj.

Show starts at 10 p.m., $10 at the door.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1

MEG x Présence Autochtone presents Electro-choc @ Place des festivals

This year’s free event in the Quartier des spectacles’ Place des festivals features the genre-defying Cris Derksen. Derksen is a classically-trained, award-winning cellist of Aboriginal descent. She blends classical and folk music with electronic elements and the result is unlike anything you’ve heard before.

Parisian duo Acid Arab offer up their own blend of seemingly clashing genres, blending electronic music with traditional Middle Eastern and Northern African folk music.

Show starts at 8:30 p.m., free.

Honourable mention: MEG Boat feat. Benjamin Damage + Acid Arab + MMF & AKTA. I’ve relegated this to ‘honourable mention’ status because, come on! Partying on a boat in the St-Laurence river to some of the best DJs out there? No contest.

The 2014 edition of MEG Montreal runs until Saturday, July 2. Read an interview we did last year with festival founder Mustapha Terki.

You there! Go see these shows this week!

SATURDAY, JULY 19

Cult MTL anniversary party: The Posterz + Heart Streets + Le Trouble + Seoul + Saxsyndrum + Folly & The Hunter + Safia Nolin @ SAT

Beloved Montreal publication Cult MTL turns 2 this year and everyone is invited to watch bands and enjoy good food courtesy of Labo Culinaire Foodlab.

Event starts at 3 p.m., 5$.

COUSINS: The Re-up + Cadence Weapon + DJ Rapid Fire @ La Sala Rossa

Doors open at 10 p.m., $5.

SUNDAY, JULY 20

Atsuko Chiba + Shy, Low + thisquietarmy + Obstcls @ La Vitrola

Doors open at 8 p.m., $8.

THURSDAY, JULY 24

MEG: Pulses + Milton Clark + The Driver @ Le Belmont

The 16th edition of MEG Montreal kicks off this Thursday with three different shows. My pick for the night is local A/V techno master duo Pulses at Le Belmont.

Show starts at 10 p.m.; tickets cost $15 in advance and can be purchased online via MEG Montreal, at Atom Heart and MOOG Audio or $20 at the door.

Elsiane & Doom Squad

Elsiane & Doom Squad
Elsiane & Doom Squad – Photo by Pascale Yensen

It was a sweaty night in the small venue of Le Divan Orange for the MEG festival, but the music made it all worth it. Montreal’s own Elsiane headlined the late night show with Doom Squad playing just before them, setting the stage for a great night. People got the were crowded into the packed venue by the time Doom Squad started at 10:30, flooding the room with their psychedelic ambiance.

Elsiane & Doom Squad
Doom Squad

The band, consisting of three members each on different instruments (varying from the drums to the flute to the recorder), all had the feel of the music pumping out of their bodies. As their beats played they swayed to the sounds that couldn’t help but get people moving and dancing. The crowd was obviously satisfied with their non stop energy and it was apparent that the band was having just as much fun as they danced the night away. These guys know how to put on a show, get the crowd going and have a good time. A great set opener for the lovely Elsiane.

Elsiane
Elsiane

This Montreal native started out her show with just the sounds of her signature howl, her drummer and a keyboard. We could tell she was a crowd favorite as soon as she got on stage and I heard the screams. People were ready to see Elsiane. Her naturally high pitched voice beautifully highlighted the mixture of sounds we began to hear and then the beat dropped and the adventure began. She sang from the soul as her voice rattled listener’s bones, echoing Elsiane’s Peruvian rootes.

After a few songs she admitted to being thrown off a bit by how amazing the crowd was before bringing out her guitarist. The rest of the set was  and the full band began pumping out a melodic and enticing sound. They did not play her music exactly as on the album, but you could tell that all three members were so tight that they could easily play with the boundaries of improvisation.

MEG Boat

MEG Boat

Last Saturday, over 800 hundred people stood waiting in line at dock 13 of the Alexandria pier in Montreal’s old port to board a cruise ship for a four hour party on the Saint Lawrence river. Flashes from cameras and smartphones popped under the sky, illuminating the enormous line as people posed for photos with their friends, drank and kept yelling “I’m on a boat!” over and over again.

Now in its 14th year, the MEG festival (Montreal’s Electronic Groove) has proved that it can compete with Osheaga, as the closing festivities are the same weekend. MEG Montreal’s focus is different then that of Osheaga in that they specialize in showcasing local artists as well as much more electronic music. The two music festivals actually worked together this year putting on MMOI (MEG Montreal Osheaga International) events showcasing local talent.

The Boat party got underway with Jesse Rose who hails from London. Beginning the night on the main floor with Chicago house, Rose got everyone dancing to his amazing collection of electronic tunes. No stranger to Montreal, Rose played the SAT in 2011. He will be releasing two new EPs on his label Made To Play this year. Ed Bangers’ Breakbot delivered an equally impressive mix of electro mashed up with Motown to end the night.

Downstairs wedged between two massive bars & surprisingly line-less bathrooms, party goers were treated to Christine, a French duo from Rouen, France. Excited from having seen Justice play for the first time the day before at Osheaga, we chatted while their equipment was being set up.  They told me about how they had fallen in love with Montreal and were looking forward to playing Osheaga in only a few hours. Their brand of dark eletro combined with hiphop scratch was very well received. Montreal’s sweetheart Jenny ‘Vilify’ Carmichael who is originally from Toronto, delivered a powerhouse set to end the night as we drifted back to shore. Her brand of dubstep & dark deep bass can be heard every Wednesday at Belmont’s Bassdrive.

Overall a great night! Thanks for the cruise MEG Montreal, can’t wait till next year!

We’re giving away passes to MEG fest! We’ve got two passes for Elsiane & Doom Squad, playing Divan Orange this Thursday. Simply leave a comment below telling us who you’re excited to see at this year’s fest! And share with your friends for extra chances to win.
And if you want the full MEG schedule.

It’s no secret that Montreal in the summertime is a never ending festival. Either we’re talking about music, film or humor; the city just never seems to sleep. For the 14th year in a row, MEG Montreal is at our door and is about to take you on a two week musical journey, ending on August 5th. Once again, this year’s festival is giving the leading role to both French and Canadian artists. With so many venues and so many musical genres from folk to electronic music, it’s quite easy to get lost. Here’s my pick to help you get through the schizophrenic festival programming.

Our books & the Authors – Kids
I’ve been following this Montreal band for years and I got to say I’ve never been disappointed by any of their shows. The leader of the band, Gabriel D’amour, got this amazing pop sensibility combined with a great charisma that could be compared to Chris Martin but with more talent.
Saturday July 28th @ Club Lambi

Machine Drum- DDD 
Travis Stewart is a young up-and coming American artist who excel in IDM music. It promises to be a great night. I’ve heard that he gets so into his music that one time during his performance, his laptop couldn’t handle it and felt on the floor. Hopefully this time all his gear will be tied up on the table…
Sunday July 29th @ Piknik Electronique

Milo Greene – Don’t you give up on me
After an afternoon spent dancing under the sun, what is best then enjoying some indie-pop sensation at Divan Orange? Stronger from their self-titled first album, this Californian band is definitely going to break through in 2012. Don’t miss your last chance to catch them in a cozy environment.
Sunday July 29th @ Divan Orange

Le Matos- 58 minutes pour vivre
Being noticed a couple years ago with their remixes for Cœur de Pirate and #Numero, the Montreal trio have been less active recently. Nothing new beside a compilation of the “best hits” of their very young career and a single featured here. Let’s see if the 80’s inspired band has new material for us to dance to.
Thursday August 2nd @ Belmont

Jesse Rose- You know it 
According to his Bio, Jesse Rose was raised to the sound of Motown, soul and Jazz in London. It’s no surprise when you hear the deepness of his releases. If on top of that you tell me I’m going to be  on a boat listening to his sweet jams, I would be a fool not to go!

Saturday August 4th on the MEG Boat!

Gesaffelstein- Viol 
Meg festival will end on a very positive note for me since I’ll get my fix of dark electronic music. The French producer, Mike Levy, entered the scene with excellent releases on Turbo Recordings. It’s now time to see if he can deliver on a stage.
Sunday August 5th @ Club Soda

Brodinski – Let the beat control your body 
Here’s another reason not to miss the last night of Meg montreal.
Sunday August 5th @ Club Soda

Throughout the years, Meg Montreal has changed a lot. I kind of miss the good old days where they would feature artists like ESG or Maurice Fulton. Their mission is now different and I would say that it is a great opportunity to discover younger artists. It’s now time to open your ears and hop from one venue to another to discover your new favorite band.

To purchase tickets check out MEG Montreal. And watch for ticket giveaways here on ForgetTheBox!

We’re giving away passes to MEG fest! We’ve got two passes for Elsiane & Doom Squad, playing Divan Orange this Thursday. Simply leave a comment below telling us who you’re excited to see at this year’s fest!
And if you want the full MEG schedule.