Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga…this post has nothing to do with any of those people and everything to do with the real, genuine music coming to Pop Montreal this year. But hey, I won’t tell Google if you don’t…
The headliners that POP MONTREAL brings to town every year are not the boldfaced names that you might see being ridiculous at an awards show. What they are, most often, is a range of people who are leaving an indelible imprint on the corner of the music world that they occupy. While some of these names may not jump off your computer screen like Lady West and Kanye Gaga do, that’s entirely a good thing.
Here are some Pop Montreal shows you really should spend an evening with…
BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE: There is little that the woman born on the Piapot Cree Indian reserve in Saskatchewan has not done. Musician, songwriter, social activist, artist, academic, Buffy Sainte-Marie rose to folk fame in the 1960s but has spent her time since then as an educator, artist and champion of North America’s First Nations people. During Pop Montreal, you can catch her not only at Montreal’s Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste on October 2nd, but as a keynote speaker at Fest’s Symposium.
LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III: The patriarch of the Wainwright family (father of Rufus and Martha), he may not even be the most well-known and/or respected person at their Christmas table, but there’s a very good chance you know a bit more about him then you think. Depending on your age, you might know him from acting work in either MASH or The 40-Year Old Virgin, but his well crafted and Grammy-nominated music, much of it humour-filled , is what will be on display at Montreal’s Ukrainian Federation on October 1st.
LEE FIELDS & THE EXPRESSIONS: The absolute-yet-under-the-radar type of legend that Pop MTL specializes in, Lee Fields first put his sweet-sounding soul and funk music on record in the late 1960s. “Junior J.B.” wisely disappeared for most of the 80s, but came back to some sort of prominence as someone who both pays homage to and has updated the classic sound of soul. He plays October 2nd at Sala Rossa.
YO LA TENGO: The group from Hoboken, New Jersey, have never been major chart-busting stars since forming in 1984, but that has not hampered the fervent love that their fans hold for them. They are one of indie rock’s early cornerstones, and 25 years down the road, they roll in Club Soda on October 2nd with a new album, Popular Songs, in tow.
DIAMANDA GALAS: I’ll admit to really only having heard her name and little more before a friend of mine explained what an un-missable show this will be. Blessed with a largely unequalled operatic vocal range, she writes emotionally charged, often politically/socially oriented lyrics. She and her piano will fill the cozy Théâtre Outremont on October 3rd.