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Hot music for a cold winter concert guide

What better way to warm your soul in wintry weather than by checking out some of the hottest rock, pop, hip-hop and more – from the likes of Bastille, Blue Rodeo, Green Day and Dinosaur Jr. – at many of Montréal’s most amazing venues? Let the following be your guide to great music and good times in the cool coming months. Elevation Montréal, January 27 (Bell Centre) EDM fans get their New Year’s prayers answered early when the first edition of Elevation Montréal brings the bass for a massive dance partaaay. Brought to you by the fine minds behind summer dance music fest ÎleSoniq, Elevation will feature headlining house duo DVBBS as well as Australian bass duo Knife Party and U.S. livetronica group Big Gigantic. Mogwai, January 31 (Théâtre St. Denis) Glaswegian post-rock monsters Mogwai make a rare Montréal appearance in support of their latest release, Atomic, which consists of reworked versions of tunes they composed for the acclaimed 2016 BBC documentary Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise. The soundtrack is said to “encapsulate the nightmare of the nuclear age.” Fun! Blue Rodeo, February 8 (Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts) It’s always a great day when these legendary country rockers come to… / Read More →

Kiss 2016 goodbye with our New Year’s Eve party guide

It’s only fitting, in light of what’s shaping up to be 365 days of partying for Montréal’s 375th birthday next year, that we should kick it all off with what’s always the single biggest night of celebration in la belle ville, New Year’s Eve. We offer the following guide to help get you going in the right direction on the road to ringing in 2017. Speaking of big… The Merry Montreal-organized outdoor New Year’s Party in Old Montréal’s Place Jacques-Cartier and the quays of the Old Port, now in its fourth year, will once again be by far and away the largest gathering of New Year’s revelers in the city. Last year tens of thousands of celebrants turned up for the free concerts by top-tier Québec performers, the midnight countdown and massive fireworks display, as well as the all-night DJ dance party afterward. The free concert and party gets going at 7 pm. (And let’s put it out there right away that getting around will be a breeze on the Eve since the metro – Montréal’s subway – will be open all night.) Une photo publiée par Hotel William Gray (@hotelwilliamgray) le 6 Oct. 2016 à 6h15 PDT Speaking of… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: September 30 to October 6

It’s finally fall in Montréal, and we’re celebrating the change of seasons with outdoor activities (from garden walks to Oktoberfest), a city-wide weekend cultural event, new art, film, theatre and dance, and live music for classical afficianados to late-night dancers. Action and adventure Explore exotic greenery lit by the soft glow of 1000 lanterns at the Botanical Garden’s Gardens of Light exhibition – the Chinese Garden features the Forbidden City while the Japanese Garden provides a contemplative setting. Or discover urban public art in a walk among the skyscrapers. The graceful power of figure skating hits the ice as top athletes compete at the 2016 Skate Canada Autumn Classic International, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. The on-ice action continues at the Bell Centre as the Montréal Canadians take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 6. Show your true colours in 5K The Color Run Night at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Oct. 1. Tour the universe in animated film We Are Stars on the 360° dome at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium at Montréal Space for Life.  And seek out new tastes by sampling craft beer from Québec microbreweries at Oktoberfest at Atwater Market, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. It’s also Litty Italy Pizza Week Oct. 3-9! Art and culture Free… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: September 23 to 29

As the fall season begins in Montréal, the warm weather holds as art and entertainment abounds: walk through lantern-lit gardens and markets, see the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, watch world-class dance, rock out at POP Montréal, and even run a marathon. Warm days, bright nights Nature meets the soft glow of lantern light at the Botanical Garden’s Gardens of Light exhibition – start your walk at sunset for the full effect. Excellent food, drink and entertainment (especially on Friday nights) await at open-air markets Jardins Gamelin and Village au Pied-du-Courant downtown, Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port and Les Jardineries at Olympic Park. Croisières AML cruises offer laid-back brunch and gourmet dinners on the Saint-Lawrence River. See the city in a different way during the Montréal Rock’n’Roll Oasis Marathon on Sept. 25 as over 20,000 runners wind their way from Île Notre Dame through Old Montréal and into the Plateau, finishing at Parc La Fontaine. And the Canadiens start the NHL pre-season with games at the Bell Centre, Sept. 26, 27 and 29. For more, see our guide to Free things to do this fall in Montréal. POP sounds and city beats Music and arts festival POP Montréal celebrates 15 years of fun with shows, talks, art exhibitions, Puces POP craft fair, films, kids events… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: September 16 to 22

Mid-September eases between summer and fall in Montréal – the sun keeps shining on open-air markets and outdoor performances while a major Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition and Opéra de Montréal’s AIDA wow and POP Montréal keeps Montréal nightlife wild. Outdoor time Beautiful day and night, the Botanical Garden hosts its annual Gardens of Light lantern exhibition – walk through the Chinese and Japanese gardens after sunset in a soft glow. Montréal’s favourite terrasses stay open for meals, drinks and revelry – don’t miss the FoodLab terrasse at the SAT, where the Omnivore World Tour offers one-of-a-kind feasts, workshops and more, Sept. 16-19. You’ll also find excellent food, drink and entertainment at markets Jardins Gamelin and Village au Pied-du-Courant downtown, Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port and Les Jardineries at Olympic Park. Take a cruise along the Saint-Lawrence River with Croisières AML for a laid-back brunch or gourmet dinner. For more activities, see our guide to Free things to do this fall in Montréal.  City-wide POP entertainment The 15th edition of POP Montréal starts its engines on Wednesday night with dozens of music shows along with talks, art exhibitions, the professional-level Puces POP craft fair, film screenings, kids events and more until Sept. 25 – get the low-down in our Survival Guide to POP Montréal and… / Read More →

Memorable moments at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

Patience and quick thinking are job requirements for Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (FIJM) organizers dealing with divas, egos, cancellations, no-shows and the inevitable musician being held up at Canada Customs. Here are some memorable anecdotes from the FIJM, the biggest and grandest music festival on the planet: After the FIJM fronted reggae icon Bunny Wailer $10,000 for his 1998 gig at Métropolis, Wailer pocketed the cash and blew off the show. FIJM co-founder André Ménard was outraged. Twelve years later, when Wailer was booked to headline the Montréal International Reggae Festival in August 2010, Ménard told me, “We’re not taking any action against Wailer because we don’t want to give him an excuse not to come a second time. Bunny Wailer posed to me as a man of integrity and principle. I still think he is a great artist. But a man of integrity? F–k it! I’m still waiting for his personal invitation to see him at the reggae festival. That will be the most expensive concert ticket I’ve ever paid for.” In the end, Wailer was a no-show at the Montréal International Reggae Festival that year too. When Tony Bennett headlined Théâtre St-Denis in 1985, his band took off with his… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: April 1 to 7

April arrives in Montréal as sugar shack season begins to wind down – get your fill of maple syrup and more food before it’s over – and award-winning restaurants revamp menus while the spring cultural calendar heats up with multimedia art, dance, theatre, orchestra concerts and all kinds of live music. April flowers Step into Montréal’s Botanical Garden to see the very beginnings of spring in bud and sample maple taffy on snow during sugaring off time (only until April 3!), while indoors butterflies go free and caterpillars cocoon, and the Botanical Garden restaurant’s special Sugar Shack menu keeps everyone well fed to April 24. If you’re extending your Spring Break in Montréal, consult our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style and Montréal nightlife guide for places to eat, drink, dance and chill out. If you’re here with family, our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide has some ideas for entertaining and even subtly educational things to do with kids. Throughout the season, find free things to do in Montréal – for families, for friends, for fun (speaking of fun, these great gifs illustrate the 10 Signs that spring has totally arrived in Montréal.) Do you love spas, fancy… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: March 18 to 24

As the snow melts away in Montréal, urban sugar shacks serve up delicious meals, spring break activities continue, film festivals and art events grant new perspectives, dance and theatre move us, and live music sets the weekly soundtrack. Spring starts Welcome spring with thousands of Montrealers at the city’s boisterous 193rd St. Patrick’s Day Parade, taking place downtown along Ste-Catherine Street starting at noon on March 20, and keep on celebrating the luck of the Irish at the city’s best Irish pubs. In sports action, the hockey season isn’t over for the Montréal Canadiens – they play the Flames on March 20 and the Ducks on March 22 at the Bell Centre. Whether you’re on Spring Break or not, check out our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style for places to eat, drink, dance and chill out. If you’re here with family, our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide has kids covered. And if the warmer weather has you itching to paint the town red – whether that means sampling local microbrews or going late-night dancing – Montréal’s nightlife has it all. Seasonal food If you’re in Montréal in March, you must experience the Québecois tradition of the sugar… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal March 11 to 17

As much as Montréal loves its winter festivals and snow sports, the city welcomes spring with open arms – we’re feeling a hint of it this week as restaurants roll out new dishes, film festivals and art events open our eyes on the world, our sports teams fight to the finish, and dance, theatre and live music keep us inspired. Spring sights and sports With winter festivals over and the city starting to thaw out, thoughts of spring are in the air – see our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style for high-energy nightlife and restaurant ideas or find all kinds of things to do with kids of all ages in our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide. Downtown’s underground city welcomes art lovers to do some shopping and see excellent contemporary art in expansive exhibition Art Souterrain. Celebrate the luck of the Irish on on March 17 at the city’s best Irish pubs, see the Olympic Stadium tower lit up in green, and stick around for Montréal’s legendary St-Patrick’s Day Parade on March 20. In sports action, the hockey season isn’t over for the Montréal Canadiens – they play the Wild on March 11 and the Panthers on… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 19 to 25

Montréal’s downtown sparkles with free entertainment this week at the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival, while indoors you can go butterfly spotting, play games at the games festival, watch hockey, and see stars of dance, theatre, film, art and live music shine. Snowy celebrations Montréal’s biggest family-friendly festival of the season is in full swing: MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE’s free outdoor site fills downtown’s Place des Festivals with music, multimedia shows, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, fabulous food and more, while the festival’s indoor performances highlight musical performances and theatre – let our MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE SURVIVAL GUIDE lead the way. Go for a scenic skate next to the Saint-Lawrence River at the Bonsecours Basin ice skating rink in the Old Port and at the Village MAMMOUTH at the Olympic Park Esplanade. Talk a walk through nature right in the city in Mount Royal, La Fontaine and Jean-Drapeau parks. And make it all easier with these Montreal-specific apps. Indoor activities Spring is truly in the air at the Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free event at the Space For Life (also home to the Biodôme, Insectarium and Planetarium) – this year butterflies share the spotlight with furry caterpillars. Game lovers of all ages can play board games,… / Read More →