This winter (which we’ll call, for these purposes, now until March), Montreal will be host to some big names concerts from The Black Keys, Van Halen and Megadeth, as well as shows from much beloved locals like the Sam Roberts Band, Sean Nicholas Savage and Plants and Animals. Here’s your Montreal winter music preview…
On the cutting edge of the best of the Montreal music scene are the folks at Arbutus Records. They’re the ones responsible for bringing you Grimes, for instance. One of their other champions is Sean Nicholas Savage, who plays January 31. As far as I’m concerned, that date can’t come soon enough.
Sean Nicholas Savage has garnered lots of attention, achieved critical acclaim and won the hearts of many for his amazing new album Flamingo, which is a testament to his wild musicality and effortless charm. Go see one of the best and brightest entertainers Montreal has to offer at Il Motore.
It seems that the month of February is unofficially heavy metal month in Montreal. Or at least that’s what the concert listings suggest. The seminal bands Megadeth and Motörhead are playing on February 3 at the Bell Centre. Check them out if you need to channel your anti-winter rage, and of course, if you like to rock.
A lot of people I know have a huge crush on Alison Mosshart. You can find out why on February 5 because The Kills are playing at L’Olympia. Finally you’ll be able to see megababe Alison (also one of the founding members of The Dead Weather- schwing) and Jamie Hince in Montreal for the first time in a few years.
Remember that song that was a huge hit even though the chorus was complete gibberish? If that doesn’t narrow it down, maybe MMMbop does. But, it might be wise to avoid any mention of this to the revamped Hanson, playing on February 11 at Theatre Corona - just in time for Valentine’s Day! They’ve cut their hair, become men and serious musicians with their snappy tunes and newly shorn look. Go for old time’s sake, or just go to feel old.
Montreal heartthrob and generally swell dude Sam Roberts and the imaginatively named Sam Roberts Band are playing songs off their latest album, Collider, on February 10 at Metropolis.
Simple Plan bring the pop punk noise to the Bell Center on February 23. They’ll be playing songs off of their latest, Get Your Heart On!. It’s always fun to see a band as huge as this one make sweet musical love to their hometown crowd.
The venerable Plants and Animals have a new album out this year. The End of That drops on February 28 and it’s being released by Secret City, which is the gold standard of Montreal music these days. Check out the trio on March 10 at Cabaret Mile End.
Finally, Brit Floyd comes to Montreal! There are two dates at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier on March 2 and 3, which basically means it’s going to be insane. Brit Floyd is a UK-based Pink Floyd tribute band that boast a wild stage setup that includes an extravagant light show, pyrotechnics and inflatables. Brit Floyd are said to be one of the best P-Floyd tribute bands in the world and are something of a supergroup, as the band contains members of the Australian Pink Floyd outfit. Obviously going to be fairly epic.
John K Samson has branched out from The Weakerthans and has started his very own group with the help of The Provincial Band. If you’ve got a hankering for literature rock and mournful ballads, check out one of this country’s most beloved musicians. He’s Canada’s sweetheart and a prolific songwriter. See for yourself on March 9 at Sala Rossa.
Akron, Ohio’s Black Keys will be visiting Montreal. They’ll be playing raunchy, blues-soaked rock and roll from their latest album, El Camino, produced and co-written by Danger Mouse. The album has launched the band into the realm of superstars and their rock anthems will find a home at the Bell Centre with the Arctic Monkeys on March 13.
The band that brought you Hot for Teacher are playing on March 15 at the Bell Centre. That’s right, Van Halen are back with a reunion tour. David Lee Roth will be featured in the lineup for the first time in 5 years and they’ve got a new album featuring Roth for the first time since 1983. Van Halen shows are always a spectacle no matter how you slice it, so go get your slice of rock and roll history.
Australian superstars Cat Empire take on Metropolis on March 30. If you haven’t seen Cat Empire live, then check out this six piece band. The members of Cat Empire are seasoned musicians who come alive during live shows. Their sound is a fusion of jazz, ska, funk and rock with a heavy Latin bent.
The Magnetic Fields have a new album out on March 6 on Merge Records. Could this be a new dawn for Stephin Merritt? Either way, he’s always up to something. Whether you like the classics or you’re jazzed to see what he’ll do next, Merritt is a perpetual showman. See him in the flesh on March 31 at The National.