Good concerts heading in Montreal’s way. All the time.
Earlier this year I spent a bohemian week in Paris. Oddly enough, the first people I made friends with included a girl who had studied at McGill (yeah it is a small world, and yeah McGillians, we are everywhere). One of the first things she said to me was: "Montreal has such a good live music scene" and then something of the sort that you can see a lot of good shows for not that much money.
Her words literally lit a light bulb in my head. It’s easy to ignore the music scene when you’re out of school, slugging though the corporate world and have been living in Montreal since … well for ever.
We Montrealers just forget that the music scene is out-there. The best example is the Mirror’s RantLine: supposedly an open mic-type article, where you can call in and give your opinion about Montreal’s music scene. Except that the only calls the RantLine gets are about all kinds of sexual topics, from who’s hot and who’s not, to group sex on the Mont-Royal; and only from time to time someone calls in to say how much Montreal’s music scene sucks. Regardless, the RantLine is still the only section I read in the Mirror; it is by far the most entertaining.
But the reality is that, university kids, kids from outside the city, from smaller places, from somewhere Ontario and small-town upstate New York, these kids notice the music scene, because they’ve never seen one before.
We Montrealers tend to forget it.
But it is there, and it is kicking and growing and changing. We lost the Spectrum, but there are tons of smaller and better show places: Le National, la Salla Rossa, Divan Orange, O Patro Vys, Dièse Onze and many many others.
And this music scene is inhabited by a heard of artists, from small to big, from independents to internationally huge. The obvious name for huge is Arcade Fire, but in the eclectic spectrum of talented musicians who are making a name for themselves there is Plants and Animals, Kid Koala, Patrick Watson, Priestess, Handsome Furs and the list keeps growing.
As for out-of-town artists, Montreal is a major stop for most artists; and what’s even better is that you can catch some big names playing a relatively small venue like the Metropolis, whereas in some other cities they might play a much bigger (and less intimate) venue.
All this to say that, the music scene in Montreal is alive and kicking, and kicking harder than it has in a long time. So get out of your basement and hit one the venues above, most nights they have live music. Make it a habit to check the music listings, and when bored, combine the pleasures of drinking a beer with the pleasure of listening to a real human being playing music, performing art in front of you. Live.
Unfortunately for you, Montreal-Clubs.com is not where near technically advanced enough to provide you with an updated and accurate music listing service. But the “real media” that is Le Voir newspaper has a very extensive live music listing.
But at least we can tell you about 3 interesting shows coming up very soon: Tuesday the 21st of September, the rebel M.I.A will be at the Spectrum, Monday the 27th Best Coast will be at Sala Rossa and Sunday the 3rd of October UK super-band Gorillaz will be at the Bell Center. Three good shows in three weeks, that’s not bad at all. And there are probably much happening at the same time, just keep your eyes opened.
PS: For those who haven’t seen it yet, here is M.I.A's Born Free video (which I call "ginger kids" video); good metaphore for passing a serious message, too bad South Park did it a while ago already.
Photos of M.I.A from Spin Magazine.
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