In November, the reality that you’re no longer ambling listlessly through summer days becomes undeniable. But thankfully M for Montreal (November 16-19), the city’s mini music fest, is here to save the season. Here’s a list of some of the bands you need to see…
M for Montreal was created by Sebastian Nasra (Vega Musique, Avalanche Productions) and U.K concert programmer Martin Elbourne (The Great Escape, Glastonbury, Jersey Live, and former agent of The Smiths and New Order) in 2006. The festival is essentially a talent showcase for journalists and industry types from all over the world to catch all the talent this city has to offer. M for Montreal has been a breeding ground for countless great Montreal acts including Think About Life, Braids, The Besnard Lakes and We are Wolves among others. There will be a nonstop onslaught of bands and DJs (both French and English) from November 16 to 19, so to help your planning, here’s a list of the bands you need to see and the bands you’ll likely be seeing more of in the future…
If you haven’t already seen Montreal’s very own power pop band Creature, you’ve made some sort of serious mistake. Thankfully you can right this wrong at Cafe Campus on November 16 at 9:30pm. They put on a phenomenal live show of pure pop bliss. The darling lead vocalist is as fiery and cute as they come and the band has the perfect amount of on stage chemistry to really take it to 11. The band doesn’t take things too seriously and their live shows always turn into giant dance parties, with tunes this catchy how could they not?
Cadence Weapon is a rapper, producer and past poet laureate of Edmonton, Alberta. He’s the spawn of a DJ and has style and swagger in spades. He’s a seasoned performer so his shows are always a thrill and he cut his gold fronts touring with the likes of Jurassic 5 and Final Fantasy, so he knows what he’s doing. Making Jay-Z look lazy, Cadence Weapon plays the SXSW showcase on November 17 at 8:30pm at Sala Rossa.
Montreal all stars Bran Van 3000 will be gracing the stage this year as well. They’ve come a long way since they were drinking in LA, but according to popular lore the original lyric was “what the hell am I doing drinking in Longueuil at 26?”, which makes way more sense. Bran Van will be playing songs old and new and proving once again why they’re one of Montreal’s favourite bands. James Di Salvio will be presenting an “indie-house-opera” which will feature a mashup of songs from their latest offering, The Garden, and some old favourites. The show will feature former members as well as some fresh blood. Be at Club Soda for the show at midnight on November 18.
TONSTARTSSBANDHT is a must-see duo, especially if you’re into Animal Collective, having a far out time and psych pop. They’re originally from Florida but now call Montreal/Berlin/NY home and they should be thanked for keeping the Montreal music scene fresh. Do yourself a favour and check them out at the CMJ showcase presented by Blue Skies Turn Black at Sala Rossa on November 18 at 8pm.
Finally, being on Montreal’s record label Secret City means one thing: you’re really good. The Barr Brothers, with their rare mix of musical prowess and raw energy, are no exception. While in The Slip, a previous incarnation of their band, the brothers played a show in Montreal and a fateful series of events led them here permanently. The Barr Brothers hail from Rhode Island but hang their hats in Montreal, with harpist Sarah Page and the versatile Andres Vial. Catch the siblings play rustic rock and roll with their band on November 19 at 8pm at Metropolis.
M for Montreal, November 16-19, 2011