Festival International de Jazz de Montréal: Mozart’s Sister, Woodkid, and Mucca Pazza | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 2013, Mozart’s Sister, Mucca Pazza, Woodkid

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal: Mozart’s Sister, Woodkid, and Mucca Pazza, July 1st, 2013

Jul 02, 2013 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 2013 Photography by Laura Studarus Bookmark and Share

My second day at Festival International de Jazz de Montréal was also Canada Day. I celebrated the occasion with vegetarian poutine, Perrier, and a pair of street performers who did what they called a “PG strip tease.” Reflecting on this, it all seems both logical and novel. How else would you want to mark such a momentous event? Music was also available at ever turn, the highlights and lowlights being Mozart’s Sister, Woodkid, and Mucca Pazza.

A large part of my afternoon was spent watching a small parade of street performers. Montréal is the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil (another fact imparted to my by my friendly van driver on the first day of my visit) and their taste in street art reflects that, ranging from clowns (two women dressed as bearded women who jokingly insisted that I not take their picture because “They haven’t shaved their legs”), to the eerie (a woman inexplicably dressed as a lamp), to the acrobatic (a woman who twisted and turned inside of a metal ring spinning along the street).

Mozart’s Sister opened the evening show at Metropolis, a cool concert venue that looked like an old theatre. (I got mixed reports on if it was actually an old theater at any point.) The Montreal-based band’s set was baffling, to say the least. It’s not that I shouldn’t like them. They traffic in a sound that I’ve historically been known to enjoy in many other acts. Icona Pop features to ladies making upbeat pop tunes. Nite Jewel lives in a 1980s synth world. Bat For Lashes evokes a bit of mystery. The problem for Mozart’s Sister is, while they might have all those elements, they appear to put more effort into prancing around on stage than they do actually writing their songs. Which is strange, because the band seemed to work really hard to convince us they were actually having a good time. But, I promised not to carry around too much cynicism on this trip (airline baggage restrictions and all) so I will say that frontwoman Caila Thompson-Hannant has a powerful voice. And nice hair.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Woodkid a.k.a. French triple-threat Yoann Lemoine. (Wikipedia lists him as being a music video director, graphic designer, and singer/songwriter.) After creating EPs under the moniker in 2011 and 2012, this year saw the release of his debut full-length The Golden Age. Heavily percussive and unabashedly cinematic, the album is an unusual beast, swaggering halfway between Rufus Wainwright’s brokenhearted ballads and Yann Tiersen’s playful melancholy.

From the very beginning of the set, Lemoine had the house eating out of his hand. (By the end of the show, the entire balcony was shaking from the power of the crowd’s chanting and stomping—which was awesome. And terrifying.) Dressed like he came directly from the set in a baggy shorts/shirt combination, he didn’t necessarily look the part. But everything about his performance—from his dramatic entrance flanked by several drummers, to the cinematic projections and light show—was crafted to evoke a visceral response. From encouraging audience members to clap to help destroy a video image of a decaying statue (a trick halfway between Peter Pan and a The Who’s stage show) to his emotive Antony-like croon, he delivered what could potentially be one of the best sets of the entire festival.

After such a spectacular show (a play on words for you Francophones), I decided to call it a night. (No matter what your inner child says about ice cream for dinner, your adult self should know that it’ll only end in a headache.) Walking through the rain back to my hotel, I caught a bizarre and wonderful sight at the TD stage. Despite the downpour, a marching band—complete with colorful uniforms and cheerleaders—was, er, for lack of a better term, “getting down.” Mucca Pazza call themselves a “Circus Punk Marching Band.” The genre name is accurate. So joyful was their over-the-top absurdity, I stopped dead in my tracks, double checking to make sure that Sufjan Stevens wasn’t hidden among their ranks. Given the unexpected scope of my day, their antics seemed like a perfect ending.

Check out photos of Woodkid here.






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