Monday, October 2nd, 2006
(Pop) Montreal Grand Prix
So I’m off to Pop Montreal this Thursday and am getting quite excited about it, if for no other reason than it means that one way or another the deadlines at work have passed and I am out of this burg for a few days at least. And though it’s just five hours away, I haven’t been to Montreal in about… 30 years. So that’s also exciting.
Besides the festival, I’ll be participating in this panel at the Future Of Music policy summit, which should be interesting and terrifying at the same time. But back to the festival. There’s obviously lots of talent in attendance, but no really big draws for me personally – at least no one that I’d have otherwise travelled five hours to see (and anyways, most of the will have played in Toronto immediately before or after their Montreal gig).
But ask me who I’m most excited to see and I’d tell you Denmark’s Under Byen. whom I wrote up a little while back. In conjunction with the first North American release of one of their records – Samme Stof Som Stof, out October 10 – they’re conducting a short tour of Canada that includes two Pop Montreal shows, one in Ottawa and one in Toronto on October 9 at the Horseshoe. The first Pop Montreal date is opening for Joanna Newsom so you know they’re going to have the opportunity to impress a packed house. The second, and the one I’m planning to attend, is with sometime-collaborator Howe Gelb who will be performing with Giant Sand. That’s the same bill that’ll be in T.O. on Thanksgiving, and if they blow me away and if I can muster the energy, there’s good chance I’ll be at that show as well.
As for the rest of the fest, because of how the Pop Montreal RSVP system worked for media folk I basically had to pick out my main shows for each night a week in advance. While there’s nothing that says I can’t change my mind and see something else, but percluding club-hopping these are the lineups that I’ve signed up for:
Thursday, October 5:
The Hot Springs, Tokyo Police Club, Portastatic and Snailhouse @ La Sala Rossa
Sloan, The Yoko Casionos and Flames! @ Theatre Nationale
Hexes & Ohs @ Preloved
The Diableros, Andre Ethier @ The Green Room
The Soft Disaster @ Casa Del Popolo
Dragonette @ L’Hemisphere Gauche
Basia Bulat @ L’Escogriffe
A Northern Chorus @ O Patro Vys.
– I’ll probably take the Hot Springs over Sloan. I haven’t seen Sloan in 12 years or so but also haven’t really cared about them in 4. The rest I will simply spin the bottle and see what comes up.
– The Big Sleep is the big draw for me here. I will probably head out after them to give hometown kids Henri Faberge some long-delayed attention. But as you can see, I’ve got a pretty light sched for Friday so far. If you’re going to help me out with any night, make it this one.
Saturday, October 7:
Giant Sand, Under Byen and Mike O’Brien @ Cabaret du Musee Juste Pour Rire
Laura Barrett @ The Green Room
Dirty On Purpose @ Quai Des Brumes
Charlamagne @ Missy Bar
The Besnard Lakes @ Club Lambi
– Sort of a shame I’m dead set on the Giant Sand/Under Byen since there’s a fair bit of other interesting stuff going on at the same time. Alas, sacrifices must be made.
– I didn’t actually manage to get an RSVP in for the Constantines, but am hoping to be able to see both the Acorn and the Constantines regardless. But if all else fails, I do have an RSVP for the Regina Spektor gig… of course, I won’t find out I can’t get into the Constantines until after Regina Spektor starts… right, we’ll play this by ear. But for the record, Schooner sounds VERY promising.
And that’s what my weekend looks like. Seems like a lot, but compared to my schedules for SxSW, this is a cakewalk (or a promenade de gateau, as they say in Quebec). Of course, recommendations on who else I should see in addition to (if not in lieu of) what I’ve already picked out are welcome. There are free downloads from many Pop Montreal artists available over at Puretracks – do yourself (and possibly me) a favour and check them out.
Naturally, the local media is all agog with festival features – The Montreal Gazette talks to festival organizer Dan Seligman and also chats with FMC keynote speaker David Byrne, the Montreal Mirror previews some of the performers and hour.ca wonders where all the big names in this year’s lineup are.
And also, while a goodly amout of my time will be spent at the Future Of Music summit and Pop Montreal events, I will also (hopefully) have time to play tourist a bit. What should I make a point of seeing/doing? Remember – 30 years since I’ve been there.
Speaking of Howe Gelb, according to The Independent, he may be working with Isobel Campbell next. Okay, maybe this is a good time to mention I’ve never heard any of Howe Gelb’s music in any of his incarnations. Does this make me a bad person?
Toronto is going to Montreal… and a little bit of Montreal is coming to Toronto. Malajube will be at Lee’s Palace on November 25. Tickets $10.
Saturday night was the first-ever, Nuit Blanche city-wide art installation in Toronto, and while I didn’t do the all-night thing like some – I had to go in to work Sunday morning – I did hit a number of art installations in “Zone A”, aka the University of Toronto campus and Yorkville. I saw some really cool stuff (Fujiko Nakaya’s fog sculpture across Philosopher’s Walk – though really seemingly not more than some smoke machines – was amazing to experience) and some awful stuff (author Russell Smith, clad in leather pants, reading from his second-person, female-protagonist, pseudonym-published book of erotica? Not as bad as you might think – it’s worse) but the rain held off, the crowds were out and it was a very cool and un-Toronto vibe all around. Some photos at my Flickr and in the Flickr group. The Toronto Star reports back on the event.