Saturday, September 12, 2015

POP Montreal 2015: The Best Concert Ever

My dream of heaven is a giant stadium where all my favourite musicians gather to perform the "Best Concert Ever" for all eternity. Even though this is my own personal selfish afterlife, in my mind if heaven existed it would have no concept of space, time, or direction. All spirits would be welcome to attend the concert as they, and the bands performing, would be experiencing their own personal version of heaven at the exact same time—except there would be no "real" time as we experience it now, and that would be trippy, man, having an unlimited number of experiences all at once. The really good news is, in my version of heaven the tallest guy at the venue wouldn't be standing right in front of you, finally giving you a perfect view of the stage. Heck, you'd even be ON the stage playing right along with the bands. Sounds amazing, right?

What does this have to do with POP Montreal? Well, this year there happens to be a stellar lineup of artists playing the festival who are actually on my list of bands that would play the heavenly "Best Concert Ever". Montreal island will turn into one big stadium when POP Montreal rocks this town starting Wednesday, September 16th until Sunday, September 20th. Event and ticket information is available on the POP Montreal website.

Festival-goers are always so excited about the headliners. Hey, don't get it twisted because I'm also super stoked to catch Motörhead and The Sonics, and we'll get to them later, but first let me start with the locals. These performers give our beautiful city of Montreal its flavour, and they'll definitely pull your heart strings. #POURVRAI #FORREAL

There are so many bands to see and places to be during POP Montreal, and my mind was set on catching Shuggie Otis in conversation with Jamie Thompson during POP Montreal back in 2013. To take in as much of the festival as possible, I dropped by the Rialto to catch Li'l Andy 3D on my way to the Symposium, and I have to say the multi-talented and tall Li'l Andy, his awesome band, and special guests moved me to the point where I just couldn't leave. I stayed for the entire performance, missing Otis completely, and it was totally worth it. Those who were there remember the treats we experienced that night! I highly recommend that you make plans to catch Li'l Andy on Saturday, September 19th at L'Escogriffe for his brand of Ole Opry country and traditional folk-style tunes.

Prince Palu from The Go-Go Radio Magic Show turned me on to local band Le Kid & les Marinellis a few years ago, and what caught my attention was their filthy garage tunes en Français, front-man Cedric's sailor costume and his various stages of undress. Yes, I've seen his ass and that's OK, we're all adults here! This year sent the band touring the U.S. and Europe with their latest album, Île De Rêve (P. Trash), and they dropped "le kid" to the aptly named Les Marinellis. The underlying question is, does this mean the band is all grown up now? Find out on Thursday, September 17th at Théâtre Fairmount.

Commander "Andy" Clark hit my radar last year back when he was fresh-eyed, new to town, and thrust in conversation with podcasters Psi Factor & the Cougar at their POP Symposium with Ty Segall and Mikey Heppner. Since that day, I've seen this Commander Clark dude everywhere around town, most recently smiling something fierce outside PA grocery on du Parc. Clark even called in to Champions of the Local Scene when I was interviewing the gang from Nancy Pants earlier this year. I have yet to see him perform but, admittedly, I'm compelled to catch his show on Friday, September 18th when he opens for Ohara, and I don't know why! Why am I so curious? Maybe it's because Commander Clark just seems so happy all the time... Alright, who's in? The show is on Friday, September 18th at Empire Exchange

Nanimal is fronted by a hopeless romantic who would never admit to composing sweet love songs for his actual girlfriend and posting the demos to a secret bandcamp, only to be shared with the lady and a friend or two (don't be mad at me for sharing your secret, kid, I thought that bandcamp was so rad!). A few years have passed, and I'm really glad a couple of those secret demos eventually made it to Nanimal's publicly-released debut earlier this year. Presentation (self-released) is a great pop album, smooth and polished, but you can expect something faster, angrier, and more nanimated at a live Nanimal show (see what I did there?). The band plays on Friday, September 18th at Quai des Brumes.

UUBBUURRUU is one of those bands that everyone tells me I need to check out. They say, "Stephanie! You will love their music! Trust me! Exclamation point!" So I add the band to that laundry list of recommendations given to me by friends, and I know I have to listen to them, but never get the chance until the band has already broken up and I can't find their records anywhere. The year 2015 is going to be different. It is written in the cosmos that I'll finally discover UUBBUURRUU at POP Montreal. There are five guys in the band (Hail Eris), and they want to "communicate with astral entities" (All Hail Discordia), and their music has "X amount of Fuzz and Y amount of Reverb" (Her Apple Corps is strong). Fuzz, reverb, outer space? Yup, sounds like the band for me. The UUBBUURRUU show is on Friday, September 18th at Bar le "Ritz" P.D.B. The band is launching their new EP, too. Support local music and buy their stuff.

Hamilton, Ontario slacker-musician B.A. Johnston writes pleasant, ridiculously smart, and uncomplicated lyrics. I mean, who else can write a convincing love song that compares his girlfriend to a hot dog from IKEA? An energetic performance with a bunch of silly songs that'll make you smile... that is what to expect from a B.A. Johnston show. Be sure to catch him on Thursday, September 17th at l'Assommoir.

The old adage "Lemmy might not be God, but God wears a Motörhead t-shirt" has been ringing in my tinnitus-inflicted ears ever since I overheard someone saying it on Saint-Denis the other day. I'm more than happy to risk further hearing damage by attending the Motörhead show on Friday, September 18th at Théâtre Olympia with Anthrax! But word on the street is the band has been cancelling gigs due to Lemmy's [alleged] health problems, so we'll see if that happens. In the meantime, you can check out his new line of sex toys and hope this particular show goes on. Get well soon Lemmy!

Something has happened that I must tell you... there's something about me you don't know. I am a Waver, have been since the '90s, and you have no idea how excited I am to finally get to see Built to Spill live. Couldn't afford to go to shows as a starving student back in the day, but I've been a big fan of the band since their debut album Ultimate Alternative Wavers (C/Z Records) in 1993, and Untethered Moon (Warner Bros.) from this year is pretty solid. Did I mention my undying love for Doug Martsch's work with Calvin Johnson in the Halo Benders? "Canned Oxygen" is such a jam! 69 to 5, Built to Spill plays POP Montreal on Saturday, September 19th at Club Soda.

Speaking of the '90s, I have it on good authority that the plaid shirts and baby doll dresses you snagged from your parents' old wardrobes will come in handy this fall because [tongue firmly placed in cheek] Grunge is back! Again. Eye roll. Minneapolis, Minnesota all-girl punk band Babes in Toyland have reformed, and POP Montreal is bringing their raw, heavy-hitting sound to Théâtre Rialto on Saturday, September 19th. Don't get bound-and-hagged you cob nobbler, leave that harsh realm! Grab your fuzz and throw on your kickers because this show is gonna be score. All joking aside, Babes in Toyland is an important band to us girls, so I truly hope to see some women out there in the pit and that the show will inspire them to pick up a damn guitar.

Let's go back to the beginning, to my own personal heaven, back to the Best Concert Ever. The Sonics from Tacoma, Washington are on that heavenly list of bands, and they're most definitely on my list for the "must-see" acts of POP Montreal 2015. It is believed by many a music fan that The Beatles influenced rock and roll for generations, but for me and my peeps it's The Sonics. This band, spearheaded by a then teen-aged Larry Parypa, was there for the birth of punk rock, and their hard-edged and aggressive style obviously inspired every punk band that came after them. Catch these garage legends on Wednesday, September 16th at Théâtre Fairmount. What a great way to kick off the fest! Heaven's coming a little early, and I await my maker.

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