Saturday, October 6th, 2007
Pop Montreal 2007 III
If there was ever a day I needed to take it easy, it was this one. A bit tough to do when you’re in the middle of a big music festival, but it can be done. I opted to head downtown along Rue Ste-Catherine, Montreal’s main shopping drag, to maybe do a little shopping but primarily to catch Elk City play an in-store at Urban Outfitters.
As discussed back in April, the initial appeal of Elk City was as the new band for ex-Luna axeman Sean Eden. Considering the last time I saw him play was in Chicago some three years ago, I was pretty excited to get to see him again – even if it was on a landing in a giant clothing store. And while the environment was a bit odd to say the least, the band sounded great. Like really great – even better than expected. Hearing Eden toss off his brilliant and distinctive guitar solos whilst surrounded by pants was of course a treat, but singer Renee LoBue also sounded terrific and I think I’m going to have to give New Believers another spin when I get home. It definitely put me in a better mood, even with shoppers constantly passing in front of the band between floors. Of course, it didn’t hurt that they were almost all preternaturally attractive girls. What they say about Montreal? C’est vrai. I also got a chance to talk to Sean after the set about what’s going on with his Weeds Of Eden project (coming along slowly) and to top it off, I got 80% off a couple of shirts. That’s a good afternoon.
As the day went on, my plans for the evening got more and more compacted – it was obvious the old bones were not going to be up for another night of roaming the Plateau so instead, it was going to be a single-stop night at the beautiful Cabaret du Musee Juste Pour Rire – the perfect setting for Patrick Wolf and – bonus – barely a 10 minute walk from my hotel.
First up was Bishi, a Wolf collaborator and tourmate for this Autumn jaunt. To call her style unique would be an understatement. Backed by an iPod and wielding a sitar, Bishi melded old English folk songcraft with South Asian sounds and textures, her powerful voice and towards the end of her set, discofied dance rhythms. It sounds like a strange blend but in her hands, it really works.
Photos: Bishi @ Le Cabaret du Musee Juste Pour Rire – October 5, 2007
And then it was time for Mr Wolf. I went into his show in Toronto back in May a curious outsider and came out a huge fan. His live show was so giddily over the top with glitter and glam and (almost) nudity you couldn’t not love it – The Magic Position is a pretty terrific record as well. His band was dressed up for the occasion in formal wear and Wolf himself bounded onstage in a natty blue tunic and, of course, his little boy shorts and knee socks. Relative to the El Mocambo show, this time Wolf seemed a bit more… serious, for lack of a better word. He was still a one-man carnival but the set list and delivery was heavier, more intense and rockish – “Accident & Emergency”, in particular, was delivered with an aggressiveness I’d never have expected. And while the clothing still came off as the show progressed, he didn’t even approach nudity by the time the main set ended after a surprisingly short fifty minutes or so. I was even more surprised when he returned for the encore without any costume change for a reading of “Magpie” with Bishi standing in for Marianne Faithfull. But all fears that Wolf had gotten too serious in the last few months were gone when the band returned for a second encore and as the intro to “The Magic Position” swelled, out came Wolf, shirtless, boa-ed and covered in glitter body paint. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Sparkles and streamers flew, Wolf dazzled and I called it a night.
And I should mention that Wolf is one of my favourite artists to photograph and the Caberet easily one of the best venues I’ve ever shot in so I’m pretty happy with my photos from the show. Do check them out. And read these interviews with Chart, The Montreal Mirror, The Columbia Spectator and The Ottawa Citizen. Wolf is playing tonight at Lee’s Palace in Toronto. You should be there. Really.
Photos: Patrick Wolf @ Le Cabaret du Musee Juste Pour Rire – October 5, 2007
MP3: Patrick Wolf – “The Magic Position”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Accident And Emergency” (YouTube)
Video: Patrick Wolf – “The Magic Position” (YouTube)
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Bluebells” (YouTube)
MySpace: Patrick Wolf