Pop Montreal

Concert Review – Amy Millan and Bahamas @ Pop Montreal [Sept 30th, Ukrainian Federation]

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything, Pop Montreal | Leave a comment

The Ukrainian Federiation is like a church hall/gymnasium, but with movie theatre style seats. It was really nice to be able to sit down and watch a show. As I entered I asked the volunteer at the door who was on. She told me that “Some cute boy who is really overly self concious”. Really, I thought, then I made eye contact with the girl standing next to her, who simply looked back at me and said “Bahamas”. Merci. A trend throughout the festival was that the Pop volunteer staff were pretty to look at, but mostly useless when it came to knowing anything about the event they were actually volunteering for.

It became very apparent that I would not like Bahamas, othewise known as Afie Jurvanen, as soon as I got there. He was sporting a goofy mustache, a lumberjack jacket that was too large for him and he had amusing charming banter with the audience between each of his catchy and mostly acoustic songs. Yes, Bahamas is going to be rich and famous and be able to get any woman he wants. Screw him. Do you like Hayden? Do you like Peter Elkas? Then you are going to love Bahamas. I liked the story about how his song Hockey Teeth is about how he would always knock teeth with a girl he used to date when they kissed. It happens.

Next up was Amy Millan. Backing her up on horns was Butterscotch Ripple (is that what they refer to themselves as?), a three piece horn section fronted by Even Cranley. That guy is always backing up somebody. It is only a matter of time before Evan releases his own solo project.

Amy played a varied selection from her two full length releases. After the first verse of Run For Me she paused and then eventually quit the song becasue she couldn’t remember the lyrics. She commented about it being her Cat Power moment and then told us that what Cat Power would do in this moment is just say that she didn’t feel like playing this song now. She came back for an encore to finish it. It was cute. Her voice has goosebump power. It was pretty awesome. All in all, it was a totally enjoyable evening.

Bahamas and Amy Milan are back in Toronto at the Mod Club on October 14th. If you go to this show, you will be entertained and leave smiling.

Concert Review – The Phenomenal Handclap Band @ Pop Montreal [Sept 30th, Le National]

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything, Pop Montreal | Leave a comment

Get ready for some Pop Montreal reviews. Even though I was only there for the first two days of the festival, I was able to check out some quality shows and get a feel for what the festival was all about, kind of.

My trip started off in Toronto by meeting two dudes on Yonge Street to share a ride to Montreal. Horary for Craigslist rideshare!! My two new buddies and I made the trip to Montreal in just over 5 hours. Arriving safe and sound my spirits were high after meeting up with two strangers and enjoying some pleasant conversation without being touched in my icky place.

After grabbing my press pass and my drink tickets I quickly started trying to sort through the shows. As previewed earlier, The Phenomenal Handclap Band were playing on Wednesday night at Le National. Their band write-up in the program read as follows:

“…Like Broken Social Scene but with better harmonies and more awesome hippiness.”

Really? Anybody who knows me knows that I have been listening to BSS since 1991. Back then they were known only as Scene because they hadn’t been broken yet. To compare your New York band to BSS is a pretty tall order. So I went to the show to judge for myself.

TPHB were playing at Le National. It is kind of like a cross between the Mod Club and the Phoenix, but with a slanted floor, which really helps us out who tend to hang out at the back. The sloped floor was not needed on this night as the audience was thin.

TPHB are an 8 piece band who know how to groove and shake a tambourine.
Their song, 15 to 20 has been in my head for the past week. It reminds me of the first time I heard The Go Team. It has that catchy, hookey, dancy vibe to it. It is anthum-isk. Ricky posted the video HERE a few days ago. The rest of their songs were very clappy with a strong emphasis on the tambourines. As for their comparison to Broken Social Scene, well, they seem like a dance and groove band who want to be cool like Broken Social Scene, but arn’t quite there yet. I don’t see it. If I was TPHB, I would contact my publicist and change the band bio. As for their performance, I wouldn’t call it phenomenal, but it was pretty close to phenomenal. Once I got over the whole BSS thing, I was able to hang low and enjoy the show. It was really fun and a great fist show to kick off Pop.

The Phenomenal Handclap Band visit Toronto on November 6th with Simian Mobile Disco at the Mod Club. Worth checking out. I’m gonna go see them again, hopefully the venue will be packed and I’ll be able to get the full TPHB party experience.

Concert Review: Hot Chip, Pop Montreal, Oct 1, Metropolis

Posted on by Mark in Concerts, Pop Montreal | Leave a comment

Hot Chip

Montreal – So there I was in Montreal for the Hot Chip show last Wednesday at the Metropolis. Before I talk about Hot Chip, let me first tell you about the Metropolis. Even though I haven’t yet been to many of Montreal’s live music venues. I can tell you one thing, the Metropolis rocks!

The Metropolis is an amazing old building with a balcony. It’s large enough to host a decent crowd but can still offer a relatively intimate live music experience. First constructed in 1884 as a skating rink, the Metropolis has also moonlighted as a movie theatre, a theatre house, a discotheque, and even a porn house! Is there anything this building can’t do? The answer is no.

So anyway, before I talk about Hot Chip, let me next tell you about Pop Montreal. Pop Montreal is a great 5-day international music festival in our favourite sister city: Montreal. There’s all sorts of great live music over the city in great venues. After experiencing Toronto’s music festivals like CMW and NXNE, I have to say that my first impression of Pop Montreal was that it was a relatively grassroots and low-key affair. Most of the venues I went to were extremely intimate, and the tickets were very accessible in terms of price and availability.

OK, so how was Hot Chip? The show was certainly one of the more anticipated shows at Pop Montreal this year. This London-based band showcased their brand of very danceable rock to a crowd of enthusiastic fans. I kind of wish that “Over and Over”, being an amazingly fun song to dance to, would have occurred somewhere later in the set (or in the encore) instead of mid-set. But apparently they always do that, so I suppose they’re not going to mess with a formula that works. Their encore included a rendition of “Nothing Compares to You”. A nice little retro throwback combined with sly wink that this up and coming band doesn’t take itself too seriously. Nicely done.

Metropolis: 5/5
Hot Chip: 4.5/5
Pop Montreal: 4.5/5

Concert Review: Sunparlour Players, Pop Montreal, Oct 4, Cagibi

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Pop Montreal | 6 Comments

Montreal – If you had listened to our podcast, you would know that both Wade and Brian had suggested I go see a Toronto based band called the “Sunparlour Players” in Pop Montreal. This was before they called me a whiner. Bitches. Seeing how I hold their Canadian-Indie music opinions in high regard, I decided to risk it all and take my friends to see this band for their Pop Montreal showcase on Saturday. So you had two people from Toronto, visiting Montreal, taking two other people, who are from Toronto but moved to Toronto this year, to a show in Montreal,featuring a band from Toronto.
The show was a at a placed called Cagibi‘s, located in a neighborhood known as “The Plateau” or maybe “Le Plateau”.

I think it’s the hipster area of Montreal. Let me tell you, Cagibi’s is a fantastic place. I was expected a dark and dingy bar similar to the Horseshoe, but you know what Cagibi is? It’s like this hipster coffee shop/bar that features old school furniture that seem to not care whether they are in proper shape or not, board games that had probably been there for a decade and creaky wooden floor. My best comparison to this place would be the restaurant Aunties and Uncles, if it was a lot bigger, and served beer.

I only had one real complaint about the place. The thing about hipster joints is that the workers there are totally indifferent to things such as serving customers with any sort of efficiency. They walk around in their laid back ways, casually make the espressos or lattes or mixed drink that someone ordered, make inside jokes with other coworkers who are there, talk to their friends who are at some table, then finish the customer order. For a person who is used to efficiency, such laissez-faire attitude to service just bugs the beejesus out of me. Took us a good ten-fifteen minutes in line to get our booze. Ian and I both agreed that If we were the owner, we’d fire everyone in that store.

The Sunparlour Players have quite an interesting setup, there are three members, two of them have snare drums and are multi instrumentalist. I can’t say for the third guy because my view was obstructed. What is their type of music? I would say, good ole Canadian-esque rock and roll along the lines of mellowed out Joel Plaskett. The lead singer delivered his lines with great intensity, and switched from guitar to drum to banjo thru out the set. The other dude was even crazier, going from guitar(or bass) to accordion to drums, sometimes all over the course of one song. Words cannot do justice to their music instrument playing styles. They are like a swiss army knife of music.

The songs were all pretty strong lyric based tunes, I remember some tune that was about barley and thinking “damn, that’s Canadiana”. I then started thinking about Saskatchewan. Maybe Brian will leave a comment with more info on the band.

I really enjoyed the show despite the fact that I did not know any of the bands material beforehand and also, despite the fact that the venue was overcrowded to the point where I was thinking it was a fire hazard (i had already plotted my route to the nearest door, and who I would have to push/run over to get there). It was definitely an intimate affair, and the band’s music style definitely catered to this type of show.