Tuesday, November 24, 2009

M for Montreal:: Recap Day 2

Thursday was a chock-o-block full kind of day at M for Montreal. Starting with an afternoon schmooze session filled with managers/agents/promoters and more business cards than the free lunch bowl at any TGIFridays and shows going until the early morning, delegates were on the go.

That being said, Friday was just as busy. A few panels started the day - which I sadly had to miss to keep my day job rolling - but the afternoon church show/book launch was a perfect start for my Friday.

Mark Berube & The Few - Mark's the type of performer that can grab you as a solo artist, or shock you when he pulls countless friends onto the stage to thicken up the melodies of his touching indie-folk jams. Apparently, since moving to Montreal, he's settled into a nice three-piece (the addition of Kristina Koropecki on cello has really helped the tracks come to life), but at the end of the day, it's Mark's vocals that gives the audience chills.

Marks' traveled the world, and his observations and reflections really add a sincere, humane feel to the catchy melodies. The set time - an all too brief 15 minutes - didn't really let the band stretch their legs, but with some nice builds (Looking For Another), acoustic accordion that brought the crowd to a hush (Yebo Mama), and a driving closing track (Yesterday's Halo) Berube certainly made the most of his 15 minutes.

Elisapie Issac - We huddled into another room in the church for another quick set from former Taimu singer, Elisapie Isaac. Her new solo stuff, is more classic jazzy folk pop and with the support of two able men on keys/percussion/bass and guitar, she is given a solid foundation for her sultry vocals. Mixing english, french and her native tongue, the four song set might not have been my cup of tea, but it showed talent and I can see why people enjoyed her performance.

Valerie Jodoin Keaton - The highlight of the afternoon set was actually the fact that it was the release of Valerie Jodoin Keaton's photobook, Backstage. The former member of the Dears used her proximity to other musicians to photograph people moments before or after a show. While it might seem trivial, getting to see how a musician powers through the nerves or comes down from the adrenaline rush is quite amazing, especially when handled by a photographer with a keen eye and an understanding of what's going on. This book is beautiful - I've leafed through my copy a few times already - and being there while Valerie enjoyed the end result of years of hard work was amazing.

The night sessions were a bit more conventional. Starting with Two Hours Traffic, the evening session was full of hooks, synth pop, electronics and some of the most engaging indie rock Ive seen in a long time.

Friday Night - Two Hours Traffic, Silly Kissers, DD/MM/YY, Parlovr, Silver Starling, Le Matos and special guest BEAST.

Two Hours Traffic - We've been on the THT band wagon for as long as I can remember, so it's always a treat to see the PEI lads take the stage. Despite the differing opinions of Territory, without question the songs sounded crisp on stage. They tossed in a few classics (Nighthawks), but it was the new songs that took center stage. I actually like the track live more than on record - more bite, sounded much bigger and alive - but I'd be hard pressed to find fault with the band. In fact, I don't even want to try.

Silly Kissers - The synth poppers from MTL were up next, and despite their tender age and relative wet behind the ears appearance, the band did well considering the audience that stood before them. They tore through the songs on their EP, offering little banter except the guitar man's constant big-upping the local crowd, but the set was fun. I'm not sure they are quite ready for the spotlight, but they are on the right path for today's sound.

Probably the highlight - at least from an energy point - was having Cadence Weapon step on stage for a cameo. He cranked up the dance moves on You're The One and instead of kicking out the hyper sniper electro raps, he crooned along side Jane Perry is a playful love filled duet.

DD/MM/YY - more angles than a geometry test. Honestly, these guys cranked up the noise and got the crowd moving. The songs were driving, fragmented, proggy and the double drums, multiple keyboards, guitar blasts and bass really got everyone excited. This was the first point in the night where people were responding to a band. It was more than just delegates there to politely listen, it was people there who really dug the band and wanted to have a good f*cking time.

Parlovr - Honestly, this might be the set of the weekend for me. I loved Parvlor's self-titled (review), but they are a whole different, floppy haired beast live. Behind the strength of some heavy drums, the unique combo of surf rock, out-of-tune guitar, noise, pop hooks and energy brought the delegates and local fans to life for the first time all weekend. The human mic stand and constant smiles were just icing on the rock cake. If I had to pick a crayon fromt he Crayola box about how I feel about the upcoming 2010 release, it would be "waiting on baited breath".

PS - I know this pic sucks, but the blur and energy trapped inside is more representative of the set they played than another sterile black and white bad boy.

Silver Starling - I was excited for this set as well, only recently discovering their record (review). It was really beautiful, dark stuff heavy on strings and emotion. Truthfully, it's the type of songs that would have been unbelievable in the afternoon venue, taking advantage of the acoustics and intimacy to really let the songs sounds as big as they do on record. I thought the set started strong, but kind of got lost in the mix as people lost interest and wanted to dance.

Le Matos - Not much to say about these cats. They got the crowd moving, throwing in their own stuff and other people's jams. They were dressed to the nines and cranked the energy to the max. People danced, sweat was flying and really, what else do you want at 12 PM on your Friday night? For me, it was the perfect night cap, ending my long day of music on a high.

Wait! You left? I know some fans of trip-hoppers BEAST might be in awe, but to be fair, I'm not a fan of the band, so sticking around for the special guest set after party was far less appealing than the after party that involved me getting some sleep and trying to shake 8 hours of booze from my system.

MP3:: Two Hours Traffic - Territory

MP3:: Mark Berube - Yesterday's Halo

MP3:: Silly Kissers - You're the One ft. Cadence Weapon (Live @ M for Montreal)

MP3:: Delphic - This Momentary (Le Matos remix)

WEB:: http://www.mformontreal.com

Labels: , , , , Mark Berube, parlovr, Silly Kissers,

Posted at 12:15 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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