Suoni Per Il Popolo’s Eclectic Sixteenth

A Smattering Of Local Cuts at Montreal's Experimental Festival

Casa del Popolo. Suoni il Popolo posters. Photo Rachel Levine Casa del Popolo. Suoni il Popolo posters. Photo Rachel Levine

Quintessential Montreal festival Suoni Per Il Popolo is back for its sixteenth edition. I’d say sweet sixteen if that didn’t conjure up images of Monsanto-fed dolled up high school princesses on so-called “reality TV”. Of course, in reality, the gang at Suoni have always ventured to the frontier’s of music, shaking hands with the avant-garde, submerging themselves in experimental waters, giving recognition to those who deserve it. Theirs shows don’t pigeon-hole genres, such that you’d find solo piano acts opening for post-metal bands. The following are just some local area picks are out of 18 days of musical goodness (June 2nd to June 18th). Remember, while all shows have individual ticket sales, you may head to the festival box office at 4871 St. Laurent for festival passes. More information here.

USA Out Of Vietnam


Montreal band USA Out Of Vietnam kicks thing off. Heavy yet accessible, this band is everything on the spectrum between metal and psychedelia. With hard-hitting drums, vocals that evoke evangelical pleas, droning guitars, this looks to be a cathartic show.

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June 2nd. $8/$10 at Casa del Popolo. More details here.

Jef E. Barbara

Back into the Montreal live scene, Jef E. Barbara’s Black Space will tackle issues related to race. This will be Suoni at its finest, with the band coming off a bilingual single ‘Sexe Machin / Sex Machine’ that is as spacey as it is funky. Concert goers can expect an electro-pop show with an injection of rebellious spirit. They will be backed up by a band of Montrealers of Sub-Saharan African descent.

June 3rd. $8/$10 at La Sala Rossa. More details here.


In conjunction with Slut Island, Suoni will host three bands identifying with “queers, female identified/gender fluid people.” 4-piece band Ursula label their music as punk but it never threatens to implode into smithereens. Cool and composed, some of the bass lines on their album ‘finish already!’ are rattling.

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June 4th. $10 at Casa del Popolo. More details here.

Thus Owls

THus Owls

Thus Owls

This band has been a mainstay of Montreal as of late. Husband and wife Erik and Simon Angell look to bring their Björkish pop to our ears. Never limiting themselves to a particular sound, expect strings and brass over their dark synth waves.

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June 4th. $12/$15 at La Vitrola. More details here.

Willy Mitchell

It wouldn’t be Suoni without with some First Nations representation.Whatever conceptions you have of First Nations music, leave them at the door. Safe to say that genre doesn’t matter here as Willy Mitchell from Dolbeau-Mistassini delivers history as well as stories.

June 5th. $13/$16 at La Sala Rossa. More details here.

La Forêt Rouge

For improvisational kicks, La Forêt Rouge offer up ambient music made with slightly less conventional instruments such as the melodica, berimbau, and bamboo flute. The band will be launching their album Hygiénique et noble. The atmosphere is generally solemn and ghoulish, but in the between pauses of the bass guitar, there’s some peace to be found.

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June 8th. $7/$10 at La Vitrola. More details here.


I won’t pretend to know much about industrial music but Phÿcus seem as interesting as they come. An industrial/experimental band that was prominent in the 90s, their output was phenomenal (check out their immense page of music here). Brian ‘Damage’ says they’ll be performing songs from their brainmower era.

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June 12th. $8/$10 at Casa del Popolo. More details here.

BCH + C h

My jazz pick headlines the Small Scale Presents showcase. This four-piece features guitar, bass, drums, and saxophone. Their live album Taking A Shot is a treat. ‘Part I’ is like a human cannonball rolling down St. Laurent, causing wreckage and turning heads yet unstoppable. Michael Bay should take note. However, ‘Part II’ is a quieter affair, depicting the giant when it sleeps. The jazz is free but the show isn’t.

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June 14th. $10/$12 at Casa del Popolo. More details here.

10,000 Horses

Quieting down my list of picks, 10,000 Horses are the duo Velvet and Lady Nite. If that sounds like a frat pack’s visit to a seedier part of town, the music is actually very charming. Guitars at river cruising speed over a bed of synths, this band is perfect dream pop. So, by the way, is their description of themselves: “In dreams, sisters Velvet and Lady Nite were visited by the spirit of Khutulun, Kubla Khan’s niece. This warrior princess vowed to marry the man who beat her in a wrestling match, losers would pay her horses. Unbeaten, she amassed 10,000 horses.”

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June 16h. $8/$10 at Casa del Popolo. More details here.

The Suoni per il Popolo festival takes place from June 2nd to June 18th. All shows have individual ticket sales,and  you may head to the festival box office at 4871 St. Laurent for festival passes. More information here.