POP Montreal The Indie Art and Music Extravaganza

POP Montreal HQ. Photo Rachel LEvine POP Montreal HQ. Photo Rachel LEvine

For 15 years(!) POP Montreal has been delighting the city with its annual mostly Plateau-Mile End take over of indie music. Venues that are either closed, secret, or rarely open suddenly ooze cool, along with old familiars. Every year, the indie festival sticks a few new goodies in the bag: Film POP, Puces POP, a record fair, POP symposium, Art POP, Fashion POP, Kids POP, a club house on Parc, and a headquarters on St. Urbain.


POP Symposium

This year, the highlights are many. The POP team never forgets artists and creators who helped shape music. This time, co-founder of the Velvet Underground John Cale, Throbbing Gristle’s Genesis P-Orridge, and reggae great Shinehead will be speaking at the POP Symposium. Others to watch out for include founder of Rough Trade records, Geoff Travis. For info on POP Symposium programming click HERE.

Film POP

If film is your passion, Film POP premieres several films, in addition to its music focused programming. FONKO, a Swedish documentary film about the merging of urban club music with traditional African styles. Another premiere is Contemporary Color, where Talking Heads’ David Byrne synchronized 10 pieces that combine dance routines with flags, rifles, sabers, Saint Vincent, Nelly Furtado, Ad-Rock, and Ira Glass. In a more activist theme, Swedish film Kiki looks at a group of LBGTQ youths who form a safe gathering space. To see the complete list of Film POP, check out HERE.

Pop Montreal sign. Mile End. Photo Rachel Levine

Pop Montreal sign. Mile End. Photo Rachel Levine


49 different artists will showcase work at Art POP. While it’s great to check out the gallery at the POP Headquarters (3450 Saint Urbain), it’s often more fun to catch the vernissage on Sept 1st from 6:30-8:30 p.m. If not, come by for the Quickie Art Tours every day at 5:30 p.m. from Sept 21-25. In particular, keep an eye out for Jayson Musson’s hip hop alter ego Hennessy Youngman, who makes Internet addresses called “Art Thoughtz.” Youngman, as you might guess, takes a fairly unschooled approach to art, and as a result has become a work of art himself. Check that out September 22. American video and performance artist, Kalup Linzy will be performing on September 23. Other artists to watch out for are Laurence Philomene, Rebecca Storm, and Seth Bogart. For more Art POP programming, click HERE.

Other POP

Fashion POP at the Theatre Rialto (5723 Parc) on September 21 showcases works by six local artists. A jury of nine will pick the winner of the Young Designer award. The Record Fair on September 24 and 25 at the Theatre Rialto (105 ST Viateur W) provides an opportunity to pick up some vinyl. There are always DJs spinning to keep the crowd alert, and some of the vendors are hard to find anywhere else. Puces POP runs September 23 to 25 at Eglise St. Denis (454 Laurier E) and it always has a fantastic selection by artisanal vendors. For more information on any of these, click HERE.

Puces POP 2015. Autumn. POP Montreal. Photo Julia Bryant.

Puces POP 2015. Autumn. POP Montreal. Photo Julia Bryant.

POP Montreal Music

POP Montreal is of course a festival of music. With 600 different acts, it’s impossible to see them all. Prices for tickets hover around the $10 mark for most shows, making most shows accessible. A few good ones to check out:

September 21

The Kills and L.A. Witch

POP Montreal doesn’t attract as many “big” names as it once did, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The Kills, though, are one of those American-British indie bands that have an intense following with their blues meets punk sound. Ash & Ice, their fifth album, is out now. The more rocking side of punk can be found with openers L.A. Witch. Metropolis. $32.

Esmerine and Fantome de Rockland
These post-music types can create ambiance and chaos all in the same phrase. Esmerine is a chamber music group that includes members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion. Fantôme de Rockland is a local band that mixes old and new technologies. These two will build you a soundscape to get lost into. Rialto Hall. $15.

September 22

Little Scream, Cold Specks, Diana, Fragile Feet
Laurel Sprengelmeyer (Little Scream) has been wowing Montreal with her art rock since 2008 and her performances are triumphant journeys. A more recent Montreal creation, Fragile Feet, is an electronic pop duo. Cold Specks and Diana round out with a dose of Toronto’s latest. Sala Rossa. $15.

Holy F*ck and Fake Palms, and Technical Kidman
Electronica awesome dance amazingness is the best way to describe Holy F*ck. The band gladly goes places that others don’t by avoiding traditional techniques to create their sound and making use of things like a film synchronizer and toy phaser guns. They get into the music in a gorgeous way. Technical Kidman is intense and psychedelic. Again, high energy is the watchword. Also working with unexpected instruments, Fake Palms, are reminiscent of 90s introverted synth sounds. Fairmount. $17

September 24

Emilie and Ogden and David Simard
Emilie and her harp Ogden play jazz fests and folk fests, but really, she can play whatever she likes. Like a Taylor Swift cover. Who knew you could play it on a harp? David Simard is folk and emotion. Every song he writes is well-crafted artistry. La Chapelle. $30

Will McClelland, The Sadies, L’il Andy, Beatrice Arnatuinnaq Deer
launch of Will McClelland’s book about a Canadian dystopia, entitled The Minted. He’ll be reading, along with performances by dark folk/alt-country types The Sadies and L’il Andy, along with inuit singer Beatrice Arnatuinnaq Deer. Fairmount. $18

September 25

Phoenix Pagliacci, Giselle Numba One, Dynesti Williams and Donzelle
These ladies know how to command a room with their dynamic presence. None of them stick to a single style, so expect hip hop, rock, psychedelic, and general genre bending. Mademoiselle. $10

Jef Ellise Barbara’s Black Space and Fredy V.
The death of Bowie left a cosmic sized hole in many hearts, while purple rain shed down when Prince joined him. Both constantly redefined cool and were untroubled by convention. Who better to do an homage to these two music constellations than Jef Barbara? Piccolo Little Burgundy. free.

Free Shows?

If money stands between you and the music, worry not. There are plenty of free events as well. The POP Montreal Headquarters has music nightly, starting with a BBQ with OOnga and later on the opening party with dj flugvél og geimskip at the HQ on Sept 21. On Sept 22, the afternoon BBQ has Wiklow, NO Aloha, Joyce N’sana, and Guy Madonna, while later in the day see Orkestar Kriminal at Espace Gamelin.
Music is also provided nightly at Le Clubhouse POP. L’il Andy leads a Bluegrass BBQ with Katie Moore and Moonshine Tex Buckeye on Sept 23. On Sept 24 catch Shauit, Philémon Cimon, and Maude Audet at the 2 p.m. BBQ. And on Sept 25, Hua Li, LA Foster, and Harris Shper perform in the same place.

POP Montreal runs from September 21-25. For information, click HERE.

About Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine is the big cheese around here. Contact: Website | More Posts