Spring in Montreal seems to have been a quick one – with temperatures already hitting mild-summer levels, everyone’s got their sunglasses and sandals on already, prepping for the season this week with time spent relaxing outdoors, in good restaurants, in galleries and museums, and at live music events…
(outdoor living) Montreal’s public bike system, Bixi is ready to roll for another year, giving Montrealers and visitors alike a faster way to get from A to B to C and back again in the urban outdoors. Another option for seeing the city in such temperate times is to take a bike or walking tour around Old Montreal, the Plateau, and other neighbourhoods full of shops, cafes, restaurants and more. For the family, out at the Space for Life, visit the Botanical Gardens where trees are flowering and the grounds are quickly becoming green again.
(food talk) Talk of food, restaurants and the culinary world is on everyone’s lips on May 5 during An Evening with Anthony Bourdain, Frédéric Morin & David McMillan. The Travel Channel star, chef and author shares stories with Montreal’s Joe Beef chefs about all of their views on food and its place in our lives, from cultures around the world to the professional kitchen to our homes – at Place des Arts. In the spirit of No Reservations and plentiful good eats, find out for yourself what the best steak in the city might be. And learn more about seasonal Quebec cuisine at the FoodLab’s springtime menu dinners, on until May 10 at the SAT.
(tea, art & culture) The thousand-year-long history behind what seems like a simple cup of tea is unveiled in The Tea Roads, a new exhibition at the Pointe-à-Callière museum. The exhibition shows visitors the ancient and sometimes still-used travel routes used to transport tea leaves, over 200 works of tea-related art, many of the tea rituals in practice around the world, and entreats us to never underestimate the importance of tea – 15,000 cups of it are consumed around the world every second! Also while at the museum, check out the Beatles in Montreal exhibition, packed with music, memorabilia and more. Meanwhile, free at the PHI Centre, May 4-25, are two new exhibitions: Wonders of A Transient Universe, by photographer and multimedia artist Gabriel Coutu-Dumont, and interactive video system Cereus: Queen Of The Night, by artist Philomène Longpré.
(electronic arts) This year’s Elektra Festival, to May 5, features over 40 local and international artists who specialize in high-tech electronic music and art performance. On Friday, May 3, see and hear German artist-producer ATOMTM’s live performance of HD, his latest album on Raster-Noton, along with works by Swedish filmmaker Joel Dittrich, artists Nohista and Tasman Richardson. The evening of May 4 focuses on Japanese electronic music label Atak, with musicians/sound artists Evala, Keiichiro Shibuya and Takashi Ikegami. The Sight and Sound Festival wows with new creations that blend art and technology, in installations and performances beginning May 9 at Eastern Bloc. And make your own music with 21 Swings, an interactive, literally moving musical experience at the Quartier des Spectacles.
(classical & contemporary) Spring is in full swing for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra as the new OSM chamber choir sings medieval and gregorian music in Fauré & Duruflé: Two Requiems on May 5, while on May 7, award-winning virtuoso violinist Itzhak Perlman performs with the orchestra, playing works by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. On May 4, the voice of none other than Engelbert Humperdinck returns to Montreal’s performance hub Place des Arts in a show that stylishly bounces from pop to rock and gospel. And get a preview of the upcoming Chamber Music Festival as the Frolic Brass Quintet plays free shows May 4, 7 and 8 at 6:30 p.m. and May 5 at Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme, centrally located in Place des Arts.
(live music) In the recent wake of his latest brilliant album on Constellation Records, saxophonist Colin Stetson plays to captivated crowds at La Sala Rossa on May 3 with Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld and on May 4 with Saltland. British singer-songwriter Alexi Murdoch – think Nick Drake for a new generation – and Montreal’s Brad Barr sooth our souls at Cabaret Mile End on May 3. Quebecoise pop-rock star Marie-Mai comes to dance and sing away at the Bell Centre for three nights, May 4-6. On May 4, pop-punk band R5 and many more have a good time at Theatre Corona, while Montreal indie-rockers We Are Wolves go wild at Cabaret Mile End. On Sunday, May 5, Billy Bragg plays songs from his new album, Tooth & Nail, and classics from years gone by at Club Soda, and London’s The Veils play Sala Rossa. Tuesday, May 7 sees Swedish metal band Ghost and Ides of Gemini at Theatre Corona. On May 8, San Francisco’s rockin’ Black Rebel Motorcycle Club rides in to Théâtre Corona, or get into the reverb zone with Austin, Texas slow-psych-rock band Pure X at Club Lambi, or go experimental psych-rock with California’s Foxygen at Il Motore. And rounding the week out Thursday, The Presets & Dragonette play Le National.