POP Montreal has spent 16 years bringing the indie scene to the fore. The festival not only includes indie music but also indie art, indie flea market, and indie films. It’s a lot of indie, but it’s only an indication of just how many creative people with something worth sharing.
This year’s POP Montreal is shorter than previous years, offering just five action-packed days in the city’s venues. The usual flea market, Puces POP, is at Église Saint Denis. Film POP films can be seen at Cinema du Parc ($11 each). Art POP, featuring works by a wide variety of artists including Josh Dolgin, Dominique Sirois, Kathy Lewis, and Jay J-Berd Keating is at Quartiers POP, with some satellite exhibitions at Never Apart and the VAV Gallery. In Mile End, one can also hit up the POP Clubhouse, where there are eats, DJs, and an all around chill space. This year, there is also a secular meditation studio, referred to as Mind POP, at Présence Meditation (207 St. Viateur). Details HERE.
The festival’s heart, though, is the music, and this year’s 450 musical acts and headliners are accessible and attract a dedicated following. Some come from afar, many come from near-by, and there’s always some band in a line-up that will be a welcome addition to your music radar.
In particular, here are a few shows well worth checking out.
Opening Party at Quartiers POP
Quartiers POP is usually a zoo on the opening day of the festival, with a regular stream of visitors to check out the music, art, and bar, in whatever order one wishes. There’s a BBQ starting at 2 p.m., and all day expect music: Wake Island, Eva Tolkin, Algodon Egipcio, BOSSIE, Pelada, Oonga (DJ set) and Jay ‘J Berd’ Keating. This is a free event.
9 p.m. show : Mr. Walter, Pallice, Slight, and L CON at Balattou, $10
This line-up is everything POP Montreal should be. The line-up is mostly local and they are good musicians with interesting sounds. Slight is an art-pop project with Michael Hahn and Danji Buck-Moore at the heart of the psychedelic, hi-fi sound. Pallice performs nicely harmonied, folkish pop. Mr. Walter is ambient, dreamy pop with plenty of synth. We spoke to the very lovely L CON (Lisa Conway) HERE and her songs are just invigorating and huge, in the best of ways.
More BBQ goodness at the Quartiers POP with Belel Game, Marrakesh Slight, Zoe Sky Jordan performing starting at 2 p.m.
8 p.m. show : Austra, Doldrums, and Forever at Theatre Rialto, $25
Montreal-based Forever plays the kind of music one can turn on and never want to turn off again — sexy, soulful, and kittenish. Doldrums, the alias of Airick Asher Woodhead, is a world-trotting producer-DJ types who seems to be much beloved in the UK even though he’s from around here. Think drum machines and found sounds. Austra is the electronic music headliner that makes groovy beats.
8 p.m. show :The Dears play No Cities Left and The Acorn at La Tulipe, $22
Fans of Montreal’s orchestral pop band, the Dears, will be glad to revisit the Dear’s much beloved album, No Cities Left. The band has gone through many evolutions and revolutions, but Murray Lightburn’s mournful voice and Natalia Yanchak’s keys have always been at the core. Ever popular with the college kids, The Acorn is innovative and hard to pin down, but always an emotionally satisfying.
9 p.m. show : Common Deer at Phi Centre, $15
Lush and layered, Common Deer is a band on the rise. Their sound is folk pop, blues, and Americana — simply lovely.
9 p.m. show: TiKa, Hua Li, The Sorority, Charm Taylor, hey! dw at Divan Orange, $10
Inspiring, big, sounds from all over the place — TiKa is super fun. Hua Li takes no shit from anyone. She’s a party everywhere with her club tracks that bring you through the haze. Women reinvent hip hop with The Sorority. Charm Taylor is a vocalist extraordinaire and there’s a touch of new Afro Futurism with her. Hey! dw is all about the Brit beat sound. Love it.
10 p.m. show : Alison Wonderland at the SAT, $35
Have you noticed a preference for electronic music yet? Electronic music tours easily, I guess. Australian DJ/producer plays warehouses. U wanna dance? Yes U do.
8 p.m. show : Ouri (live), Raveen, soclose, Joey Sherrett, and MUNYA at Casa del Popolo, $10
Electronic dance party featuring talented ladies who make RnB like its nobody’s bizness. Bring the glitter to this spirited grouping. Ouri normally does electronic and bass driven stuff, but with a classical piano training she is a power house not to miss. Raveen is an electric trio, while soclose is a soulful rnb duo. Sherrett makes beats.
9 p.m. show : Gary’s House, Nehiyawak, LAPS, and Nina Segalowitz at Rialto Hall, $12
POP Montreal fills Mile End and the Plateau with music from September 13 to the 17. Click here for details about tickets and showtimes.