As of 3 p.m. on Friday, March 27, the usually dead bar of Bistro de Paris livened up with a pop art vernissage of Margot Bussière’s work. Margot (also known as Margotella), with her bold clothing and fine silhouette, looks as though she herself has jumped to life from one of her own paintings; a generic, somewhat discordant art style can suddenly become quite interesting when transferred to brightly painted shoes, purses and other common accessories. Main bartender and decorator of the charmingly grungy Le Bièvre Bar, Margot is charismatic enough to know what many awed people deem as “everyone in town”. Therefore, it was not difficult for her to gather about a whole line-up of musicians to perform at her March 27th vernissage, as of 8 pm. And naturally, Margotella, a visionary in her own sense of the word, succeeded in assembling an incredibly talented and eclectic set of artistic characters to musically liven up her exhibit.
The self-explanatorily named event “Crazy Friday” hosts some of the finest musicians one can possibly witness playing in Montreal for free. That said, the absence of an entrance fee is probably what gives audience members most of their incentive to actually show up.
The show begins with Krazy “Kyle” Lapointe, whose hard job it was to warm up a somewhat drowsy crowd for the rest of the performers. However, his fresh enthusiasm and perpetual interactions with the audience quickly gets the viewers enthralled and laughing to his dark sense of humour. Kyle’s songs satirize people and relationships with purposefully offensive comedy. His anti-folk-punk style is engrossing with its lo-fi sound quality and witty lyrics. He tends to engage in hilarious and sometimes bizarre exploits on stage, such as that one time he wore a defrosted octopus (Steamy Nicks, the Defroctopus) on his head while performing one of his only “politically correct” songs: Fish Love.
Although during his Bistro de Paris show, Krazy Kyle did not do anything distinctly “krazy” or circus-like, he still marvellously performed his comical songs Alcohol, Chlamydia and one of the newest additions to his repertoire: Babies High On OxyContin Have Nothing On You. My favourite song by Krazy Kyle would be the morbidly priceless “Gloria”, the story of a broken-hearted sadist who is unable to scare his latest victim, Gloria. Nevertheless, a real crowd-pleaser is Kyle’s Christmas List, a tune partially written by the audience on the evening of the show. The song writing process involves asking random people from the audience to write verses that rhyme and begin with “I need a girl…” Starting off with corny stereotypes (“I need a girl who’s cute as a button, who really loves me…”), Kyle’s Christmas List escalates drastically as he reads the perverse, often vulgar lyrics written by his spectators on a giant poster (“I need a girl to shit on my face/The type of girl who will lick every trace…”). Essentially, Krazy Kyle’s dynamic stage presence and unexpected song lyrics defy the solo act cliché of a musician lamenting miserably upon his lonely guitar.
Next comes French rapper MC X & Rekta, who from his stage name alone became a huge source of confusion for many a soul: does Rekta derive from rectum or erectile? Sadly (or maybe even luckily), no concrete words are discernable from him spitting into the microphone, resulting in a highly forgettable performance. I still recommend looking into this artist in case he has talent and was simply a victim of the classic but destructive “my equipment is cheap and shitty” epidemic.
Subsequently, Margot’s son, Mars Trinity, sings and plays guitar to the backing tracks of some good ol’ rock-and-roll. Highly reminiscent of the ‘80s, Trinity has the stage persona of an aging rock star, with his Keith Richards’ headband and Mick Jagger-esque pelvic thrusts. Although Mars is one of the most genuinely talented musicians of the evening, with his crazy guitar solos and exceptional vocals, this artist seems unable to move on from an era that is slowly dying… It is tragic to see so much genius stagnating because of an artists’ inability to adapt to the constant evolution of music.
Afterwards, the evening becomes a lot rowdier once the punk rock band Straight Escape performs. Evoking the Dead Kennedys through their fast rhythms and chaotic vocals, the music naturally entices all youth present to pseudo-mosh. Although I personally find it quite hard to focus on the actual content of the music – the lead singer is quite riveting with his masculine power and stunning tattoos – the turbulent dancing gets the best of me; it is quite the rush to sweat and sway like a madman without a care in the world.
Regretfully, I have to leave right after the punk band – there’s only so much time one can spend at a bar with only around twenty people, and Straight Escape offer what could be a glorious finale. I thus have very little to say about the next band, Project Voidance with Bree Rockbrand, since I do not see them live. However, the sexiest couple in the universe is part of Project Voidance so I bet their sets is at least quite visually stunning.
Finally, Mike Russell closes the vernissage with an industrial set that I’ve seen a couple of times before. Industrial music is incredibly difficult to define as a genre, especially when Mike gets into his passionate yet ambiguous explanations about it. What I understand of industrial is that it is a genre of music that uses mixed mediums to create sound. In Mike’s case, his equipment (that takes almost an hour to set up) involves a synthesizer, a million colourful buttons (that I will never be able to name) and heavy metal coils that he throws on the floor to drum on when he gets particularly emotionally invested in a song. Although I always have trouble discerning any concrete melody or organization to his music, Mike’s work definitely has an effect on its audience because he lets his emotional intensity run its full course. It is fascinating to see so much concentrated raw emotion, especially when one gazes into the sensitivity and insanity of Mike’s dark eyes. Essentially, Mike Russel’s set offers his viewers a strange sense of catharsis.
For the “Crazy Friday” Bistro de Paris event, Margot Bussière succeeds in rounding up quite a heterogeneous collage of artists, each as colourful and audacious as her own artwork. Krazy “Kyle” Lapointe, MC X & Rekta, Mars Trinity, Straight Escape, Project Voidance with Bree Rockbrand and Mike Russell’s industrial set all compliment Margot’s flamboyant paintings in an overall setting full of cheap beer, half-hearted pool games and lethargic bystanders. I really recommend visiting Margot at Le Bièvre for Wednesday Open Mic Nights. Even during the most lifeless evening of the week, there is still hope of catching some of the musicians listed above, casually performing a couple of their songs at Le Bièvre (also know as The Beaver by Anglophones).