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Live Music in Montreal

Montreal has been a musical mecca since the 1920s, when its famed burlesque and jazz clubs offered audiences something that couldn’t be found anywhere else. Given that this coincided with U.S. prohibition, that “something” may in large part have been “booze”. But the cities’ attachment to live music has never waned and its jazz scene eventually begat the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the largest of its kind in the world. Fast-forward to the present and, internationally, the city has become known for its electronic music (Mutek is the local fest devoted to the genre) and an indie music scene that has delivered Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, Malajube and more to the world’s ears. Many of which have played Pop Montreal, the indie fest that has expanded to include a bit of everything. Again the city itself plays some role in this phenomenon: low rent attracts musicians and artists from all over, and the creative bonhomie keeps them here and collaborating. Or maybe it’s just all the attractive women. Montreal is a city that likes to go out, to eat, drink, see and be seen, so you could do worse than wandering around without a plan. But if you’re looking for… / Read More →

Osheaga + MEG = Awesome

If you’re in town for Osheaga, Montreal has more than enough nightlife stuff going on to keep you dancing before, during and after the massive two-day concert at Parc Jean-Drapeau. From Thursday straight through to Sunday, be it in the city, in a park or even on a boat, Montreal is having tons of fun… A big part of the reason that Osheaga has taken commanding control of the first weekend in August is their partnership with MEG (Montreal Electronic Groove). Now in their 11th year, this 4-night electronic-of-all-types festival features its own stage at Osheaga, club events, live music showcases, some 5-a-7s and one not-to-be missed party on a boat – a great way to get to know Montreal while having a blast. From late afternoon to early, early in the morning, read on for the run-down…

Montreal and Osheaga: Coldplay, Beastie Boys…

If you haven’t noticed yet, Montreal is a city that loves its festivals. From the huge (like the Montreal Jazz Festival) to a bit more off the radar (like Les Nuits D’Afriques). So, when a new fest comes to town it needs to a way to stand out. Enter Osheaga, the music festival that launched in 2006, which is happening on August 1st and 2nd. It has two major wildcards up its sleeve: it brings musical acts like Coldplay and the Beastie Boys to Montreal and it’s hosted on Parc Jean-Drapeau, a beautiful outdoor space that seems to have been designed with this very fest in mind…

Montreal Jazz Festival: 5 Must-See Montreal Acts

There’s no shortage of shows to see during the Montreal Jazz Festival. In fact, trying to see everything you and your ears want to hear is near impossible. What you need, then, is a way to cut through the program and pick out something special… My suggestion is to start by checking out some of the best Montreal-based musicians that the Jazz Fest has to offer. From soaring piano pop to funky film scores, this year’s lineup proves that the diversity and love for music that helped create the Montreal Jazz Fest is alive and well in 2009…

Montreal Folk Festival on the Canal

If you’re looking for some beautiful music in a beautiful setting, the Montreal Folk Festival on the Canal is the thing for you this weekend. The second edition of this great, one-day-only mini-fest is going down this Saturday, June 27th, on the St-Ambroise Terrace of the McAuslan Brewery, which is nestled on the banks of the Lachine Canal…

The Montréal International Fireworks Competition

Everyone likes fireworks. For some, they enthrall because they use the beautiful night sky as a canvas on which to paint a shimmery, ever-changing masterpiece of colour and light. For others (mainly men and small children), they are awesome because they go boom. Montréal is a city that loves fireworks. So much so that every weekend from now until the end of the summer, Montréal welcomes with the world to its skies with the Montréal International Fireworks Competition…

Outremont: Attractive Waitresses and Arcade Fire

I love when a whole evening can be had in one small corner of Montreal. Though this is a city easily traversed by bus, metro or bike (and now Bixi), there’s something special to planting yourself and some friends somewhere and seeing what comes… No corner better fits this description than the intersection of Fairmount and Hutchinson, where the hip Mile End neighbourhood turns into the quietly upscale area of Outremont. This trifecta of fun boasts two of my favorite restaurants and one of my favorite places to see live music…

Dance in Montreal: An Introduction

This may come as a shock to you, but I’m not a big dancer. I think it’s been the years of working as a music critic, where the job entails standing at the back of the venue, often beside the other Montréal music critics and taking in the music and crowd analytically. Or, that’s what I tell myself anyway – maybe I’m just a bad dancer… But I do recognize that many of you are dance-happy and, though you might not catch me on Montréal’s most happening dance floors, I definitely know where they are…

Mutek Montrealers: Ghislain Poirier

He’s attracted international attention through his remix work (Les Georges Leningrad, Clipse, Lady Sovereign and more) and his albums for Chocolate Industries and Ninja Tune. But Ghislain Poirier imprinted himself on my Montréal music radar after I attended one of his legendary Bounce Le Gros nights, where his distinctive mix of hip-hop, dub, dancehall, baile funk and more collided. At the time, it was a mix of hip-swiveling dancefloor mayhem unlike anything I’d ever heard. Fast-forward several years, and Ghislain has become one of Montréal’s dancefloor ambassadors, beloved at home and coveted by party people everywhere….

Drink in Montreal: Absinthe at Bily Kun

After an incredible four-hour meal on Mount-Royal at the lovely Au Cinquième Péché, a culinary marathon featuring a seal appetizer and smoked pork served still smoking, it was clear that no ordinary after-dinner drink would suffice. Only a round of absinthe at Bily Kun was up to the task…