September in Montreal: back to school reunions, wool socks, layered outfits, and… POP Montreal. There’s that one special week we all look forward to, where the cold weather blues are eased by the promise of back-to-back shows around the city. New talent and old, at affordable prices, invade pretty much all Plateau/Mile End venues for a few days– a music lover’s bliss. This year, for their Sweet 16, POP seems to have nostalgia as their theme, bringing us a collection of heart throbs from the 2000’s and up. As always we’ll be graced with tons of local acts, and some of the most buzzworthy, too. Here are 10 shows to get you on your bike and pedalling from show to show next week.
Photo: Joseph Fuda
Originally from Toronto, Montreal’s own Petra Glynt takes the stage alongside Bernadino Femminielli and others or POP’s #SWEET16. Her sound is of that haunting variety, where tribal sounds from down under meet her feisty witchy vocals. The result? A futuristic trance-inducing beat where Petra is our enchantress, our guide, our psychedelic musical empress in the sky. And us? Well, we’re all too eager and following, entranced by her visceral beats. Join us and get under her spell on September 13, 10:30pm at Piccolo Little Burgundy.
Remember Think About Life? Their playful take-nothing-seriously-and-make-everything-a-party electronic indie vibe came to us in the late 00’s, a time where we were all still confused that Y2K hadn’t taken us under. At this time where the pressure to start a new millenium off right was still on the to-do list, Think About Life lyrics like I decided to kiss you but it felt like a downer calmed us down, reminding us that life is nonsense anyway. Surprise, 10 years later we still need that poppy yet absurd soundrack to our life. September 16 at 11pm, Think About Life pairs up with Strange Froots and Eboni at Piccolo Little Burgundy. RSVP here.
Story-telling folk music for the realists, the romantics, the lovers of exquisite lyrics, but definitely not for the faint of heart. Mount Eerie, aka Phil Elverum has an introspective clarity of a rare calibre, and the vocals to match. His music tells the story of the passing of his late wife with a candor and honesty that hits that universal human nerve, making the ineffable heard and the excruciating somehow…irresistible. Thus is the magic of great music. Join him in what’s sure to be a raw, cathartic human experience on September 17th 8pm at Ukrainian Federation : Salle Exclaim!.
Cue the nostalgia hazy screen effect. 2011: the days of dark wave synthy goodness and brown Instagram icons. The days where we (okay, I) played Feel It Break on a loop for 8 hours while writing undergrad papers. Thanks Austra, you got us (me?) through a real rough patch there. Gratuitous personal annecdotes aside, Austra made that dark synth wave accessible with Katie Stelmanis’ frightening yet sweet vocals and catchy catchy beat in a way that few could do back then. I mean, Zola Jesus is a bit heavy to play 8 hours straight or slap on the family roadtrip playlist. But Lose It? Everyone liked Lose It. The good news is, this kind of synthy magic doesn’t just go away. Austra’s still going strong, and this year we get to see them at none other than the Rialto. Join us on September 14 10pm at Rialto Theatre: Salle St-Ambroise.
It’s no secret that the Dead Obies are Montreal’s bilingual hip hop darlings du jour. In contrast with the more… throwback-esque acts at POP this year, Dead Obies bring that current buzz to Metropolis on September 14. These guys are extra fun because they share the mic, taking turns in the spotlight– a dynamic that definitely pays off on stage. The party of six has not only rap battled, but battled with their fair share of language drama, after a sponsorship was pulled due to failure to meet the required percentage of French lyrics. Not only are the Dead Obies on trend with their sound, but in their politics: how to preserve the French language while both remaining true artistically and accessible to a larger audience? Theymay not have pulled it off in the eyes of the subvention, they’ve won Montrealers over. Catch us singing out loud to their lyrics about the city we know and love. See you there! September 14, Metropolis.
Philadelphia-based activist Camae Ayewa has been taking her message to art since 2012 with her Afrofuturist musical project Moor Mother. Her politically charged tracks cover social justice, race, and history by blending spoken word, rap, noise, and what she calls “blk girl blues”. She is beyond unapologetic, beyond “in your face”– she is a songstress with a purpose, deeply rooted in intergenerational trauma and crafted into a musical concoction we so need right now. September 16th, 8:30pm. Bonus: As part of this year’s Pop Talks, Moor Mother will be in conversation with Yves Tumor on September 16 at noon.
Known for his prolific quality, the Californian will be dishing out his tunes solo at Fairmount Theatre: Salle Shure, September 14th at 9:30pm. I once heard a 70 year old man say that Ty Segall saved rock ‘n roll. I’m not sure about that, but I do know that Segall’s mellow-af-but-still-screw-you garage sound is something I want to see live. Come catch this low-key version of Ty and soak up his songwriting genius.
3. SON LITTLE
Son Little takes us on a journey from the soul to the sensual with American rhythm blues like we haven’t heard in a while. There’s that gritty honey sound to his jams, transporting us to a warmer America than we’ve known lately. Instead of trying to recapture old soul and giving us another go at retro, Son Little takes in that old sound and spits out a 2017 piece–a nu-soul experience– true to its roots but true to today, too. For all these reasons and more, this live performance is one you won’t want to miss. September 14th, 10pm at Petit Campus: Salle Moog Audio.
Beloved weirdo John Maus is gracing us with his lo-fi self on September 15th at the Rialto. Known for his synth wizardry, rare accessible experimentalism, and pop-esque creepy melodies, Maus contributes to the Nostalgia theme at POP’s #SWEET16 by coming at us with a show on the eve of his first album in 6 years. Sure to deliver some surprising treats, definitely a low-key comeback you won’t want to miss.
“I’m not sure, but I’m almost positive, that all music came from New Orleans.” — Ernie K. Doe.
Whether you agree with Ernie or not, give these ladies one listen and you’ll end up down on your pretty knees thanking New Orleans for its very own Riff Raff. The Americana bluesy folk band pumps us up with powerful female vocals and a sound that’s so full of spunk and spirit it’s no wonder they’ve taken root in mystical NOLA, after their tough NYC days (see their killer track Living In The City for deets). If you’re one for women owning the stage, which of course you are, come see the action go down on September 17th, 11:30pm, at Piccolo Little Burgundy.