This week in Montreal, we exit a heat wave and enter the end of June with grand celebrations of Quebec pride and glory, Jazz Fest prowess, theatrical excess, baroque bombast, a decade of Piknic Electronik dance parties, and lively music…
(Quebec love) Quebec’s own national holiday, akin to Canada Day and Independence Day, is always a party – and a BBQ and a spectacle and even a parade. St-Jean Baptiste, a.k.a. Fête Nationale du Québec celebrations happen all weekend, June 23-24. The family-friendly Grand Spectacle comes on June 24 at Parc Maisonneuve, with music from Ariane Moffatt, Adam Cohen, Misteur Valaire and more. The Olympic Park also gets in on the celebrations on June 23 at 8 p.m. when the Quebec National Holiday bonfire returns, while Sir Wilfrid’s Beautiful Sundays with the orchestra Union musicale d’Iberville plays June 24.
(all that jazz) Yes, it’s officially that time of year: The 33rd Montreal International Jazz Festival starts at the end of this week and fills Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles with jazz, blues, rock, art and people, locals and tourists alike, until July 8. The incomparable Janelle Monae, in her own style, starts the fest a day early on June 27 at Metropolis, while James Taylor plays Place des Arts. On June 28, Ziggy Marley brings his Wild and Free Tour to the same venue and guitarist Bill Frisell at Club Soda. Outdoors, the many free-for-the-listening stages hop with local and international jazz, dixie, dance DJs and more. For all the details on artists and tickets, see the Jazz Fest site.
(theatrics and musics) The Montreal St-Ambroise Fringe Festival heads into its last weekend of theatre and music with hundreds of local and international theatrical, comedy, circus and dance productions. Listen to music at Fringe Park Friday night, 5-9 p.m. with Teen Sleuth, while Saturday afternoon gets electro-dancey at a Fringe-sized Piknic Electronik, and Pop Montreal takes over on Saturday and Sunday evenings, with Caroline Keating, Elgin-Skye, Freelove Fenner and more. In other theatre news, Music Theatre Montreal stages Cabaret, June 22-30 at D.B. Clarke Theatre; Tableau d’Hôte Theatre puts on Timothy Findley’s Elizabeth Rex at the Segal Centre to July 1; and in comedy, Eman headlines a night of stand-up and cheap beer at Cabaret Playhouse Cabaret.
(go for baroque) It’s only in its 10th year, but the inspiration for Montreal Baroque Festival is from much further back in history. Transformation and revelation abound at the music fest, on until June 24 at various venues, including a King’s Carrousel (Carrousel du Roy) – a French-court-dress equestrian ballet to the tune of an orchestra – and parade at 1:30 p.m. on June 23 at the Old Port. The concert series includes works on the themes of apocalypse (Biber, Schmelzer, Vejvanovsy, Graupner, Georg Philipp Telemann), transformation (including an attic storytelling of Beowulf and works by Haydn), and revelations (troubadour songs, songs from the 16th century about the end of the world – good times – and works by Bach, Corelli, Palestrina, Satie and Beethoven).
(dance party) With a pretty much perfect-looking weather forecast for Sunday, June 24, everyone inclined to dance should be heading to Piknic Electronik – and not only because it’s the outdoor dance party’s official 10th anniversary! On the main Moog stage starting at 2 p.m., DJs Maus and Soundshaper tag team until after 9 p.m. while on the Guru stage, listen to MacGuffin and The Gulf Stream. The 10th anniversary celebrations continue all summer, including a Friday, June 29 gig with Major Lazer! Speaking of dancing, or at least watching people dance, Montreal’s young, hip contemporary dance community rallies around the Piss in the Pool event, taking place at (empty) swimming pool Bain St-Mathieu, June 22 and 24.
(music makers) Grammy-Award winning Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan and guest Ani DiFranco let their voices into the light outdoors at Mondial Loto-Québec de Laval on June 23. The underground sounds of the Suoni per Il Popolo festival ends with a bang with Institutional Prostitution, Dreamcatch and Nimalan Youganathan on June 22 at Casa del Popolo, drummer extraordinaire Chris Corsano with Bill Nace and Steve Bacczkowski at Casa del Popolo on June 23 while across the street at La Sala Rossa, Marc Ribot does his great jazz solo thing. For more alt-jazz-folk-noise, see Hexen Trio at La Sala Rossa on June 26 and Land of Kush on June 27. Chill out in country style on June 24 at Divan Orange with Sunfields, Mike O’Brien and Dave MacLeod. Swedish garage rockers The Hives buzz about Metropolis on June 25, while Vancouver’s Japandroids and Cadence Weapon get down at Il Motore. And witness the spectacle of Roger Waters: The Wall Live at the Bell Centre on June 26.