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Posts by Jamie O'Meara

Montréal pro-sports season round-up

It’s no accident that Montréal is home to one of the most legendary professional sports franchises in the history of pro-sports, the Montréal Canadiens. Montréalers are passionate about being, well, Montréalers, and love for the city’s sports teams and annual competitive events – the Canadiens, Alouettes, Impact, Rogers Cup and more – is DNA-deep in the identity of the city’s inhabitants. It’s a love that’s going to see its full expression over an action-packed pro sports schedule in 2015. The National Hockey League’s Montréal Canadiens (or “Habs,” from the French word “habitants”) are always the biggest sports story in town at this time of the year simply because we’re in the final stretch of the regular season. In decades past, now is when the Habs Nation would normally break out in a rash of collective anxiety. Not this year. Against pre-season expectations, The Habs are currently alternating for top spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, in large part due to the next-level net minding efforts of Carey Price, who’s spent a good part of the season writing the book on Zen and the Art of Goaltending Greatness. And despite a recent lapse in scoring, and a Western Conference road trip… / Read More →

Montréal’s 2015 Osheaga festival line-up is out!

As 10-year-olds go, Montréal’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has again proven itself to be one of the most precocious kids on the block with a 2015 line-up – including the likes of Florence and the Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Weezer, Ben Harper and many, many more – that’s all smarts and smiles. From very modest if ambitious beginnings 10 years ago in 2006, the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has grown from a two-day festival pulling in some 25,000 folks totally to a three-day monster of music awesomeness that now sells out 45,000 tickets per day as a matter of routine. This is in large part due to superlative artist programming since the outset, and the promise of a festival experience – at the treed and pathway-lined Parc Jean-Drapeau on Montréal’s scenic Île Sainte-Hélène – that is second to none. This year’s 10th anniversary of Osheaga, from July 31 to August 2, keeps that promise. Over 100 bands and performers will grace the festival’s six stages, among them several key Osheaga alumni. Exciting for many of us who were at that very first, baby-stepping edition of Osheaga in 2006 is the return of then-headliners Ben Harper, who has reunited with backing band The Innocent… / Read More →

Montréal’s many globetrotting DJs – all hands on decks!

Whether it’s Montréal or Miami, Berlin or Brisbane, for over two decades, Montréal DJs have been a fixture, as it were, lighting up nights at many of the biggest, bangin’, beat-driven events around the orb – whether you knew they were from the Montréal or not. The following represents a cross-section of the many DJ names you may have heard, from pioneers to up-and-comers, repping Montréal dance music both at home and abroad. We’ll kick-off with the man who has the best real-life-human name, bar none: producer/DJ Lunice, known to his parents as Lunice Fermin Pierre II. This Montréal native brings a music aesthetic typified by electro-synth riffs over deep, deep drum and bass while incorporating elements of “trap” (an early, particularly intense strain of d’n’b). He produced the track Runnin’ for Azealia Banks and co-produced Blood On the Leaves for Kanye West, among many others. Also on a post-trap trip is High Klassified, who takes a more ethereal, even a bit eccentric, approach to synth line layering on dreamy, hypnotic tracks as evidenced on his Palindroma EP of last year. Born in Haiti and raised in Montréal, at only 22 years of age, Kaytranada has already made an international name for himself as… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Philippe Demers

Montréal’s MASSIVart and Chromatic co-founder Phillippe Demers is living proof that avant-garde art, international business, punk rock parties, cross-country skiing and next-level doughnut-loving are not mutually exclusive pursuits. The 28-year-old Demers is one of the original minds behind Montreal’s highly regarded and hugely active MASSIVart collective. MASSIVart was created to showcase art (and by extension the artists) by making it more accessible through special events and by taking it out of traditional art spaces to places where one might not otherwise expect it. This mission evolved into the model for Chromatic, an annual arts party/festival showcasing some 150 artists which takes place at the summit of Mount Royal. The social mandate of Chromatic – which also has a commercial services arm that provides events planning and art integration – is to promote artists and make sure their work is accessible to everyone. This year Montréal will be represented at the very first edition of Chromatic in Paris (April 2 to 4). Now let’s meet Demers. When at work, who are you? “I’m the general manager and the co-founder of both Chromatic and MASSIVart.” What’s the coolest thing about your job? “The coolest thing is that it’s never the same. I do… / Read More →

Montréal creators connect at inspiring spring festivals

You could say that many hands will be making light work in Montréal in the coming months. It’s fitting that UNESCO has proclaimed 2015 the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies because spring in Montréal is going to be so bright with possibility, you’re gonna wanna wear shades. Montréal is a world leader in creativity and connectivity, and the annual Chromatic festival is the embodiment of that assertion. Touting their 360-degree perspective on art, Chromatic has literally been to the mountaintop, and they’ll be going back again for their sixth instalment, May 22 to 27. The week-long celebration of Montréal imagination will once again take its place at the top of the town, in the classic stone-and-wood chalet at the summit of the city’s iconic Mount Royal. The scenic lookout will host a myriad range of arts – visual, digital, audio, performance, interactive, interdisciplinary and more – with a program that features over 150 artists and events, including concerts, exhibitions, screenings, workshops, parties and activities for all ages. Powered by Montréal’s respected MASSIVart collective, who specialize in event creation, production and design, the goal is once again to connect audiences with the artist. And new this year is a… / Read More →

Nuit Blanche: Montréal’s all-nighter lets your wild side be your guide

A wild night out might include a zip line or an ice slide. Or rock climbing, rock concerts or underground adventures. Maybe a veritable gourmet buffet, nighttime acrobatics or a dance club ski lodge and spa. But what about all of those things, and much more, on one single night? It would have to be, by anyone’s measure, the wildest night of the year. Welcome to Montréal’s Nuit Blanche. Starting on Saturday, February 28 and wrapping up pretty much whenever you want it to wrap up in the morning hours of Sunday, March 1, this 12th edition of Montréal’s “white night” is practically incandescent with activities. Nuit Blanche puts an exclamation point on the city’s MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival, closing out the annual extravaganza with an all-night citywide party. Some 211 separate activities – 178 of which are absolutely free – will be spread out across three city districts: Old Montréal, most of downtown and the Plateau/Mile End. And don’t worry your head about transportation. Montréal’s metro system will be open all night long, and a free shuttle service (4 routes and 65 stops) connecting the aforementioned districts will run every 10 minutes from 8 pm to 3 am. But more importantly, the fun stuff. Montréal… / Read More →

Activities for all ages during Spring Break in Montréal

“Spring Break” is a misnomer – it should be called “Spring Blast.” Whether you call it Spring Break, March Break or as we say in French, “la semaine de relâche,” the weeks ending February and beginning March in Montréal are exploding with entertainment and events tailored to the kids and the kid in you. It begins with the end of massive winter arts and culture festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE (February 19 to March 1), which takes place in the Quartier des Spectacles in downtown Montréal. The festival presents an action-packed program of performing arts, culinary creations and a dynamic range of outdoor activities. The free and family-friendly outdoor site is alive with interactive installations, dining areas, a Ferris wheel, ice slides (one each for adults and the little ones) and, new this year, zip lines that run the length of the festival site. MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE concludes with the epic Nuit Blanche all-nighter on February 28, which consists of more than 200 (mostly free) activities including live music, film, performance art, interactive installations and visual arts. Nuit Blanche takes over three districts of aboveground Montréal (served by shuttles) as well as underground Montréal. In fact, the city’s renowned “Underground City”… / Read More →

A self-guided tour for the Montréal Canadiens faithful

Hockey in Montréal is, in a word, sacred. It’s an almost religious fervour that the Montréal Canadiens’ fans reserve for their beloved Habs, short for “Les Habitants.” Indeed, what other team has had a “Saint-Patrick” (Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy) or a “Sainte-Flanelle” (referring to the team’s “holy” jersey)? So it is that hockey is deeply enmeshed in both the identity and history of Montréal, and for fans of Les Canadiens and hockey generally, the city offers unique opportunities for the faithful to undertake a pilgrimage of sorts. Time is always of the essence, and if you only have a weekend to explore Habs lore, the following two-day self-guided tour offers a chance to check out the team’s living history while hooking up with a few of the ghosts as well. Day 1: It’s only fitting that one would start at the epicentre of Habs hockey history for 70 years (1926-1996), the Montréal Forum, on the western edge of downtown at the corner of Atwater and Sainte-Catherine streets. Once referred to as “the most storied building in hockey history,” where some two dozen Stanley Cups were won, the original building is now an imaginatively re-purposed entertainment and resto complex that pays grand tribute… / Read More →

The Top 10 must-see major concerts of 2015 in Montréal (so far)

Here is a “top 10” list of must-see concerts – from pop to rock to jazz and metal – that are set to make 2015 one of the most memorable years in Montréal music history. Montréal has always had a special relationship with radio rockers Fleetwood Mac, a mutual love affair that spans four decades, beginning with the release of 1975’s self-titled, multimillion-selling breakthrough LP, Fleetwood Mac. Now the band is on tour again, and this time with all five members of that hit-making 1975 lineup, including singer/keyboardist Christine McVie, who completes the Mac attack after a 16-year absence. The “On with the Show Tour” pulls into the Bell Centre on February 5. Love ’em or hate ’em (or love them and hate them, depending on the day), multiplatinum rockers Nickelback are firing up their massive rock’n’rollercoaster of a tour machine and will be heading out in support of their eighth studio album, No Fixed Address. The 61-city tour will touch down in Montréal at the Bell Centre on February 18. And there’s even more Canadian rock royalty on deck when the pride of Kingston, Ontario, pay tribute to their Diamond-selling (that’s a million) 1992 release, Fully Completely. The Tragically Hip are… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Laurent Saulnier

Laurent Saulnier is arguably one of Montréal’s most powerful musical tastemakers. It’s a notion that would doubtless make the amiable and unassuming Vice-President of Programming and Production for three of the city’s largest festivals – MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and Les FrancoFolies – erupt in a fit of his signature laughter. Saulnier began working for the festivals 15 years ago after sharpening his skills as a music connoisseur at French-language alt-weekly Voir where he was music editor. Now Saulnier applies those same discerning tastes to the selection of the hundreds of artists of all genres who perform at the festivals’ indoor and outdoor stages. He is, in short, the VP of your good time. Job: Vice-President of Programming and Production at MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and Les FrancoFolies. What exactly do you do? “I’m responsible for all the stages and what’s on those stages, both indoors and outdoors. So it’s about choosing the artists, but it’s also about the lights, the sound and everything that’s on the stages themselves.” What’s the coolest thing about your job? “The coolest thing is being able to bring new faces, new talent, new… / Read More →