It doesn’t get more quintessentially Montreal than the new music festival, Under the Snow (March 14-18), which emphasizes alternative genres of music (shoegaze, post rock, experimental music, electronica and more) produced in Quebec and beyond. Aside from the great live shows, there’s also a record fair happening soon after for those that liked what they heard…
Under the Snow is mainly split between two great Mile End venues, La Sala Rossa and Casa del Popolo (a couple of the shows are being at the Divan Orange). Sala features a great Spanish restaurant, if you’re into a pre-show dinner or tapas, just downstairs from the beautiful venue with a lovely dark bar and an elevated stage. Because the capacity is greater than Casa del Popolo (which is just a hop across the street) larger bands tend to be booked at La Sala Rossa. If you’re across the road at Casa del Popolo, the atmosphere is more cozy and intimate.
During the festival, check out Elfin Saddle on March 15. They’re sharing the bill with Fire/Works and the Monday Night Choir. When you go to an Elfin Saddle show, you never really know what to expect. All you really can count on is that you’ll feel bewitched. They play a strange sort of avant garde folk that is haunting and mesmerizing. Singer Emi Honda is so disarming that you’ll instantly fall in love with her, or maybe she just cast a spell on you.
Next Pat Jordache is playing at Sala Rossa on March 17 with Mac Demarco. This is a seriously sweet bill considering these two are the driving forces behind today’s music scene in Montreal. You can expect Pat Jordache to sing washed-out vocal melodies while shredding on his bass. Mac Demarco is stepping out from his band Makeout Videotape to fly solo with his new side project, but the result is the same. No matter what moniker Mac Demarco chooses, he still plays perfectly crafted songs and is as charming as ever.
Canada loves Julie Doiron. She truly is Canada’s Sweetheart. Bruno, Saskatchewan even declared a “Julie Doiron Day” after a sold-out show she played there. Maybe Montreal will follow suit after her show on March 16 at Sala Rossa. Julie Doiron cut her teeth in the band Eric’s Trip and subsequently branched out on her own where she garnered critical acclaim for basically everything that she did. Julie Doiron sounds like a tougher Feist with a cripplingly beautiful voice. And the girl can shred.
If you’re loooking to spice up your record collection this spring, try the fest’s Record Fair at l’Eglise St. Denis, March 17-18. There will be records to be bought, industry people to meet, artists to see, musicians to hear and labels to love. When you’re done all that, sit down in the church, grab a bite to eat and pat yourself on the back for supporting the music scene in Montreal.
Under the Snow, March 14-18, 2012
Record Fair, L’Eglise St. Denis, March 17-18, 2012