Montrealers are pinching themselves yet again as summer is here at last, with blue skies, warm weather and constant social and cultural action. Live music is the name of this week’s game, from French stars to Beach Boys to folk fests, avant-garde talents and local up-and-coming pop stars. Throw in some Fringe Fest theatre, digital art and a day at the urban beach and call yourself a true Montrealer too…
(french lessons) You don’t have to be a French speaker to become one with Quebecois and French culture – music works too, especially when it’s live outdoors at FrancoFolies this weekend. The fest takes over the Place des Festivals area of Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles with hip-hop trio Loco Locass and Jef Barbara on June 15, French musician Cali and Elvis Costello keyboardist Steve Nieve on June 15 and 16, Coeur de Pirate at Metropolis on June 15, rock n’ roller Claude Dubois is at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier on June 15, while Quebecois rocker Robert Charlebois and French star Julien Clerc play June 16. And closing out the festival on the big outdoor stage on June 16 is greatly entertaining Montreal band Malajube.
(folks rock) Relax and unwind outdoors at The Montreal Folk Festival on the Canal, a fun and family-friendly time for all, June 14-17, located just across from Atwater Market next to Charlevoix street in St-Henri, along the historic Lachine Canal. Performances start at 1 p.m. on Saturday with Gary Farrell and ending the night with Plants and Animals. On Sunday, the music starts at 12:30 p.m. and goes until dark, when you can catch a screening of film Café de Flore. Plus a stage for young performers, as well as plenty of food, beer and socializing.
(Fringe madness) The Montreal St-Ambroise Fringe Festival takes over the small theatres and make-shift venues of this town until June 24 with hundreds of local and international theatrical, comedy, circus and dance productions – there’s truly something for everyone, especially if you’re willing to experiment. Also check out free music shows at the Fringe Park and Beer Tent, at the corner of St-Laurent and Rachel: on Friday night, the Indyish and Yelp Montreal showcase goes from 3-10 p.m. – and they’re giving away kazoos too for a kazoo-along! This weekend, the Fringe coincides with Main Madness on Saint-Laurent, which sees the main thoroughfare closed to traffic from Sherbrooke Street all the way to Mont-Royal Avenue – a great place to stroll along, eat, drink, shop and people watch.
(fun in the sun) According to the handy Montreal Buzz Beach and Pool Guide, it’s officially summer when the pools and beaches open – and that’s this weekend! Thankfully, the weather looks fantastic for hanging out at the brand new, ultra-urban Clock Tower Beach in the Old Port (and on June 21, check out Red Bull’s Solstice party or at opening day Saturday (free!) at the beach at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The park’s big outdoor pool complex also opens on Saturday and is also free! If beaches aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of family-friend outdoor activity at the Olympic Stadium, where there’s a mini tennis centre, urban agriculture in action and on Thursday, June 21 from 4-11 p.m., RIO 40°, a carnival of Brazilian Capoeira, music, dancing on a huge wooden dance floor, Latin food kiosks and more.
(fun with art) So we’ve all heard that 2012 will bring the end of many things, possibly the world. Montreal’s McCord Museum has a little fun with that idea in its Cartooning Calamities exhibition, a collection of original works by Canadian editorial cartoonist, starting June 20. Immerse yourself in a different kind of reality at DHC-ART, with the detailed multi-media work of Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda astounds eyes, ears and mind. The digital also delights at the PHI Centre where Montreal artist Alexandre Burton’s installation IMPACTS uses Tesla coils and glass panes in a truly electric sculptural installation and Jean-François Mayrand’s Amentia tracks our reactions to a three-screened, interactive drama.
(summer music) What’s old is new again (again) at the Bell Centre this week, whether we’re talking the ’90s or the ’60s: Radiohead, who never really got old anyway and maybe never will, play June 15, followed by ambiance-maker Yanni on June 19, iconic, more famous-than-fame The Beach Boys on June 20, and the fab Neil Diamond on June 21. The Montreal International Hip Hop Festival presents none other than Yaslin Bey a.k.a. Mos Def at Olympia on June 15, with openers The Narcicyst, Nomadic Massive, Manchild and The Funkwagon. The innovation of Montreal bands is in full effect as Solar Year gets listeners to don bathing suits during their show at McGill’s swimming pool, while Sexareenos and King Khan front man Mark Sultan returns to Sala Rossa on June 15, both part of the awesome Suoni per Il Popolo music festival, to June 23. On Sunday at Parc Jean-Drapeau, Piknic Electronik makes us dance with UK DJ veteran Lee Burridge. Mogwai warms up at Metropolis on June 17. And the dear-to-my-own-heart Destroyer is in town with Sandro Perri on June 21 at the Rialto.