Pop Montreal has come to an end, and after countless bands in multiple venues throughout downtown Montreal it's time to start sifting through the hundreds of photos and try to make sense of it all. A festival like this can be taxing, especially for those who aren't blessed with a good sense of direction. Though tiring, there's nothing like traipsing around a new city and with a festival like Pop Montreal going no matter how lost you are, you'll find something good around every corner.
Day 1 took form of gathering credentials and attempting to familiarize myself with the area of St Laurent, which contained most the venues. A beer and a game of "Baby-foot" at the Notam house, where they divvied out passes, was a warm welcome for staff, media and artists. Not knowing where to go from there I followed an artist who I only know as Peter, who oddly makes a living hand drawing the temporary tattoos sold in vending machines, to watch a workshop with Mahala Rai Banda in Hungarian gypsy style music. The Tubas were a bit much so I opted to check out the ramp at Underworld's private team ramp. It's understandably not open to the public since it took a lot of hard work to get it into the tiny basement room, or rather get the boiler that the room contained out. Stories of Alex Gavin and a Backside 360 kickflip are nearly unbelievable considering the transition rivals that of the Big O.
After a bit more wandering, Murder by Death was the first band I managed to see. They exude true southern charm with a country drawl combined and the dark, intense instrumentation of cello, piano and guitars. Then it was a quick skate to Mission Santa Cruz where I had to sweet talk my way into a sold out Dears show.
Day 2 it rained, and not just a little bit but hard Vancouver rain that I was certain was exclusive to the west coast. Soaked to bone, since I didn't bother bringing a rain jacket to Montreal, I took refuge to in Fédération Ukrainienne where I found theatre seating and some amazing arrangements by Clare and the Reasons followed by the great Van Dyke Parcs. Not a show that was on the top of my list but it was close to the Metro station and the possibility of a wet camera was a growing concern. Everyone who took the stage that night were true professionals, trained at the highest level. Something that is always impressive no matter what your cup of tea. By the time the show was finished the rain subsided and I was on my way to Espace Réunion, aka The Pop Loft, where I caught Sebastian Granger's new band Bad Tits, along with Holy Fuck and Houston's Indian Jewelry who are on their way to Vancouver and will be playing the Rickshaw on Oct 12th.
Day 3 I devoted to No Joy, a great band who should be featured in the next issue of Color which quickly leads to day 4. I can't even remember who I was planning to see at Little Campus since my photos are my only testament to what I saw, but I ended up watching Aurora, Ontairio's Ruby Coast who show promise with a sound resembling the Cure and maybe a bit of Bloc Party. The band name Sex Life got the best of my curiosity where I witnessed some fun disco tunes from the Portland trio at Jukebox. Then a few doors down I stopped in to say hi to the guys in Bend Sinister at their show at Les 3 Minots where an amazing set from brother and sister band The Balconies lured me to stay for The Golden Dogs, a decision I didn't regret for a second. After that it was back to the Pop Loft for a surprise set by Deerhoof.
Which bring me to the final day, which aptly consisted of the alt country stylings of Drag the River, a band from Colorado formed by former members of All. A perfect closing to Pop Montreal with music to ride off into the sunset to. The entire festival was a great experience and the perfect introduction to Montreal. For those of you that live in Montreal, don't miss the color magazine 8.4 release party tonight at Salon Officiel.
Adam Turla, Murder by Death
Jasmine White-Gluz, No Joy
Ashley Long, Sex Life
Jacquie Neville,The Balconies
The Golden Dogs
Deerhoof at Espace Réunion
Chad Price, Drag the River
Satomi Matsuzaki, Deerhoof