Pop Montreal 2010 Day Three Recap | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, October 23rd, 2020  

Black Feelings

Pop Montreal 2010 Day Three Recap - The xx, Bear in Heaven, and more

Oct 03, 2010 Photography by Myles Broscoe
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Divan Orange is the site of Pop Montreal’s afternoon shows, but in my now-daily three-step process (recover, report, refuel), I missed No Joy, aka Laura Lloyd and Jasamine White-Gluz. Formerly of Bad Flirt (White-Gluz’s longtime labour of love, which expanded from a solo project to a rock quintet that released a pretty hot LP in ’08), the ladies have whole-heartedly joined the shoegazing revival, submerging their pop tunes and black-angel vocals in dense, creaky noise. Their single is out on the Mexican Summer label, and their debut LP is being mixed by The Raveonettes’ Sune Rose Wagner. No Joy, I have a date with you at CMJ.

Speaking of evolving local bands, anyone remember art rock cineastes Les Angles Morts? The band featured two members of the earliest incarnation of Arcade Fire, and while those guys have receded into the shadows, singer/drummer Owain Lawson and guitarist Kyle Fostner formed Black Feelings, also featuring bassist Brian Mitchell. The trio’s chiming riffs, forceful rhythms synth dollops (care of special guest Andy White), and sweet vocal whine reverberated through Divan like a cranked up Devo/Cramps crossbreed. They evoke a classic era without sounding passé or particularly derivative, and emit a dark energy with smiles on their faces.

On a totally different wavelength, Brooklyn trio Bear in Heaven pulled off a rarely seen feat, with moustaches. I’m going to assume that Jon Philpot was using a vocal effect on certain songs, where his Supertramp-esque emissions suddenly sounded like Fever Ray in her highest register. Testicular clamp, maybe? In any case, the band’s neo-prog undulations, anthemic pop cores, spacy synthetic ambience and noisy rock tendencies converges nicely in front of what had become a packed, sweaty house. Even my beer was warm.

On the nocturnal front, The xx appeared on the last leg of a two-year tour in support of their widely hyped debut album, X. Their previous gig, which was their first ever headlining show in Canada, sold out the 2,500-capacity Metropolis, so playing the fancy-shmancy Place des Arts was a triumphant return, to say the least. They had no trouble charming the crowd, but a few key songs, such as “Crystalized,” were curiously slowed down, a dubious choice for an already low-key, downbeat band.

Meanwhile, local ’70s glam-punk legends The 222’s played a comeback gig opening for local ’80s hardcore legends The Asexuals. Though they started with a bang with “Female” (“female, female, you look like a female, female, female, but you fuck like a man!”), it took a few songs for the older crowd and older band to really heat up. Singer Chris Barry, who was barely legal when he first joined the band, sounded more like Iggy than ever, and tunes like “Fun Fun Fun,” “First and Third Round” and “I Love Susan” were played with rock ’n’ roll groove and punk gusto, as was their rendition of “Slip Into the Crowd” by the band three of them formed in the ’80s, The 39 Steps. And a smattering of young fans, who’ve come to know them on the strength of YouTube and the 2007 compilation Montreal Punk 78–81, looked stoked and satisfied.

After briefly venturing into the steamy high school hell of Le Belmont, where The xx’s Jamie Smith and Bonjay’s Alanna Stuart were DJing, I headed north to Casa del Popolo to catch Cotton Mouth, a local band formed by producer Martin Horn, rounded out by all three members of Parlovr. Emo hair flew as keys rang, guitars sang and vocals quivered and crooned à la David Byrne. Even though a pigeon had reportedly crapped on the keyboard earlier in the day, Cotton Mouth delivered a solid set, and Black Feelings (two of whom were tending bar) delivered a solid gin and tonic, bringing day three full circle. (www.popmontreal.com)



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