Pop Montreal 2010 Day Two Recap | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Blue Hawaii

Laura Veirs, The Watson Twins, Karkwa

Pop Montreal 2010 Day Two Recap, October 1st, 2010

Oct 01, 2010 The Watson Twins
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Like clockwork. With Pop Montreal comes the first of the season’s crap weather, and so the festival’s first full-on day was marred by a massive downpour. I was as happy as the expanding hole in my ceiling as I left the (relative) shelter of home to hit the Pop BBQ, which wasn’t much of a BBQ, having moved from the terrace of Pop’s HQ, Notman House, to Barfly, one of St. Laurent Blvd.’s tiniest, grubbiest dives. Barfly is ace, of course, but would I want to eat there?

The real attraction of the BBQ was of course the bands, namely local atmospheric dance-circle trio Technical Kidman, gritty-sweet Halifax rock ’n’ roll duo Cousins, and dead cool Brooklyn duo She Keeps Bees (The Kills meets The Duke Spirit?). Will Brooklyn ever quit? I suspect not.

Decisions, decisions. Recent Polaris Prize winners Karkwa played to what must’ve been a packed Club Soda, The Watson Twins and Laura Veirs laid down some estrogenius roots music in the sleek, intimate confines of O Patro Vys, and the Secret City/Upper Class Recordings showcase beckoned from Cabaret Juste Pour Rire. Instead, I sought out of a multi-sensory experience that suited the bleak weather.

Don’t judge Studio Off Inter-Arts by its incredibly awkward name, but by the content of its movie screens (and sound system). A series of short films played on multiple makeshift screens in the small gallery space, before the feature presentation: Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages, directed by Benjamin Christensen in 1922. The film was the first of the Not So Silent Nights series, featuring cinematic oddities paired with live soundtracks, in this case by Montreal Nintendo Orkestar. Building from brooding ambience to roving aggression, with actual 8-bit video game consoles, the score worked beautifully with this bizarre Danish documentary, which depicts the broomstick-riding set in a slideshow of chilling medieval art and re-enactments of supposed rituals from the Middle Ages, featuring Satan’s twisted antics and an elaborate Black Mass.

Next up was a return to the Rialto, site of an Arbutus Records showcase. The local label has an impressive roster of local bands, including synthpop superstars Silly Kissers, who headlined this gig. But first up were Blue Hawaii, a duo that rides rich, psychedelic waves of sound topped with the big, beautiful voice of the duo’s female half, Raph–watch out, Björk ’n’ Régine! There were some unfortunate technical issues at the start, forcing Raph to scrap one of her FX pedals, but she and Agor worked through their nervousness (and asked the crowd to pogo during one of the delays, to relieve tension) and really gave ’er with their synths, drum machines and guitar. They ended their set by presenting a bouquet of flowers to label head Sebastian Cowan, a sweet touch.

Then Pop Winds took the stage and blew us away with crushing arpeggiated synths, e-beats, sax (yes, sax!) and sporadic vocals, which formed mountainous soundscapes that cross-bred experimental sounds and pop melodies and rhythms. Dressed for hipster housepainting in a baggy t-shirt/dress, the band’s kinda cute androgynous singer was upstaged by the scarf man. I’m not sure whether this guy plays an instrument on the band’s recordings and just has nothing to do on stage, or if he’s a full-time Bez (Happy Mondays’ useless member), but his sashaying and scarf-pulling were compelling nonetheless. There’s some serious talent here, folks, interpretive dance aside. (www.popmontreal.com)


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October 5th 2010

how could you not mention that GRIMES!!! that girl was soooooo good! and it was her spectacular new cd’s release party!

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April 16th 2012

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January 12th 2013

Hoping to hear them up-close. ive only seen them in some clips and videos in the internet and they are really good. that’s all i can say.