by Sean
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Pop Montreal

Next week is Pop Montreal, the city's largest & magnificently madcap music/film/art/&c festival. We will be there, bumbling like bees from venue to venue, blossom to blossom, and if you're lucky you will be too. There are some 350 bands playing Pop, and about 150 concerts, so everyone's cup runneth over. Of these hundreds, there is a ton of stuff I do not know - even after helping on the Pop listening committee. But of what I do know, well - here are my tips.

Everything listed here is highly recommended! Anything listed in bold is basically CAN'T MISS. I've also included sections at the beginning of every day's breakdown:

Staying put: For people who want to stay in one spot all night rather than bumblin' from spot to spot.
Rolling the dice: Shows that might be the most remarkable works of art that have ever been experienced... or not.
Sure bets: Good shows, essentially guaranteed.

Puces Pop Marketplace - a terrific art/craft fair [St Michel Church Hall]
Record Sale and Gear Swap - indie labels/shops with wares, and random musicians with gear to trade [Sport Benefica]
Kids Pop - bee-yoo-tiful games, concerts, workshops for kids. Hopefully some adults can sneak in too. [Ecole Lambert Close]
Film Pop - amazing films (and tons of shorts) every night at Cinema du Parc. I highlighted a few features below.
Laser Pop - projected laser art every night [Ubisoft building's walls]
LopArt live drawing - visual artists will be projecting live drawings to accompany every evening's bands [Divan Orange]
La Menagerie du Deja Vecu - amazing light and installation art [Lumenarium]


  • Staying put: You could do a lot worse than spending your night at Sala - though I think the headliners, Vetiver, are mediocre.
  • Rolling the dice: Baby Dee could either be eye-rolling or life-changing.
  • Sure bets: Mixylodian's manic indie-pop may peel yr eyelids back. And Dark Meat's psych-blues choir will sound lunatic in Lambi at 1am.

9:30 pm - Mark Berube and the Patriotic Few [Cagibi]
9:30 pm - Katie Moore [Sala Rossa]
10:00 pm - Duchess Says [Maison de la Radio]
10:00 pm - Baby Dee [Ukrainian Federation]
10:30 pm - Valleys [Sala Rossa]
12:30 am - Mixylodian [Balattou]
1:00 am - Dark Meat [Club Lambi]


12:45 pm - Indie Strategies panel (with Julie Doiron, Brendan Reed) [Main Hall]
9:00 pm - Irma Thomas [Ukrainian Federation]
9:30 pm - The Weather Station [Cagibi]
9:30 pm - Hooded Fang [O Patro Vys]
10:00 pm - Receivers [Sport Montréal Benfica]
10:00 pm - Kweku & the Movement [Club Lambi]
10:15 pm - Smothered in Hugs [Barfly]
10:30 pm - Zeroes [Zoobizarre]
10:30 pm - Mussaver and Coal Choir [Cagibi]
10:30 pm - The Rothschilds [Cahibi]
11:00 pm - The Consonant C [Sport Montréal Benfica]
11:30 pm - Silver Apples [Sala Rossa]
11:30 pm - The Bug & Warrior Queen [Portuguese Association]
Midnight - Hypnotic Brass Ensemble [Club Lambi]
Midnight - Ravens & Chimes [Sport Montréal Benfica]
Midnight - Black Hat Brigade [Jupiter Room]
Midnight - Angela Desveaux [Cinema L'Amour]
Midnight - The Dears [Masonic Temple]
12:30 am - The Winks [O Patro Vys]
1:00 am - Lil Andy & Ideal Lovers do Neil Young's Tonight's the Night [Cinema L'Amour]


  • Staying put: Herman Dune and Akron/Family are two of my favourite bands in the world. But the UK Fed's Julie/Chad/Women line-up is just as sure a choice.
  • Rolling the dice: Burt Bacharach is a genius - will he prove it? Love what I've heard of Saskatchewan's These Hands. And PDF Format is chiptune/comedy wildness (poss. ft. our Dan Beirne).
  • Sure bets: Our cup runneth over! See above! I also love local acts My People Sleeping and Orillia Opry, and I bet anyone at that (sold out) Ratatat show will emerge delighted. Don't miss Vincent Moon introducing his own Take-Away Shows, and An Albatross' late-night headache is a rad opportunity to catch what "live drawing" artists are doing at Divan (all night are the amazing James Braithwaite and Tyler Rauman). B-b-but finally it's totally worth scrammin' to Throw Me The Statue (despite my fuck-up in the program description), flying under the radar with their remarkable live show.

7:30 pm - Matrix LitPop Award Presentation [Ukrainian Federation]
8:00 pm - Women [Ukrainian Federation]
8:00 pm - Vincent Moon / Take-Away Shows screening [Main Hall]
9:00 pm - Chad Van Gaalen [Ukrainian Federation]
9:00 pm - Died Young, Stayed Pretty (gig poster doc) [Cinema du Parc]
9:30 pm - Hi, Lonely Oak [Cagibi]
10:00 pm - Burt Bacharach [Eglise St-Jean-Baptiste]
10:00 pm - Julie Doiron [Ukrainian Federation]
10:30 pm - Herman Dune [Sala Rossa]
10:30 pm - These Hands [Gymnase]
11:30 pm - Shugo Tokumaru [O Patro Vys]
11:30 pm - Akron/Family [Sala Rossa]
11:30 pm - My People Sleeping [Les Saints]
Midnight - Orillia Opry [Sport Montreal Benfica]
Midnight - Socalled & Owen Pallett, Stef Schneider, etc doing the soundtrack to a gay porn movie [Cinema L'Amour]
12:30 am - Throw Me The Statue [Le Gymnase]
1:00 am - PDF Format [Barfly]
2:00 am - An Albatross [Divan Orange]


  • Staying put: The Dan Deacon-organised Round Robin shows are something really special. Bands arranged along the four walls, crowd in the centre, rotating song by song. Saturday and Sunday have different line-ups but get yerself to one or the other. Pome Records' showcase at Casa is a marvelous opportunity to see Montreal's three best undiscovered bands - and just $5.
  • Rolling the dice: I will be spending my evening watching revelatory Bruce Peninsula and the legendary acapella of the Sunparlour Players, and McGarrigle-kin the Mittenstrings.
  • Sure bets: Like I said, the Luyas, Tune-Yards and Adam & the Amethysts are probably my three favourite "new" Montreal bands. And the Dodos did a great show here earlier this summer - add Au and it'll stun.

1:45 pm - Music Journalism panel (moderated by me!) [Green Room]
3:00 pm - We Are Wizards (wizard rock film) [Cinema du Parc]
4:00 pm - The Luyas [Divan Orange]
8:00 pm - Boats [Saphir]
8:30 pm - Echoes Still Singing Limbs [Cagibi]
9:00 pm - Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell (film) [Cinema du Parc]
9:00 pm - Baltimore Round Robin (Beach House, Jana Hunter, etc) [Eastern Bloc]
9:00 pm - Bruce Peninsula [Portuguese Association]
9:00 pm - Dominique Leone [Academy Club]
9:00 pm - A Sunny Day In Glasgow [Saphir]
9:30 pm - Forest City Lovers [Cagibi]
9:30 pm - Ryan Eugene Newman [O Patro Vys]
10:00 pm - Tune-Yards [Casa del Popolo]
10:00 pm - the mittenstrings [O Patro Vys]
10:30 pm - The Persuasions [Portuguese Association]
10:30 pm - Sunparlour Players [Cagibi]
10:30 pm - Au [Sala Rossa]
10:30 pm - Alex Lukashevsky [Barfly]
11:00 pm - The Luyas [Casa del Popolo]
11:30 pm - The Dodos [Sala Rossa]
11:30 pm - The Youjsh [Parc des Princes]
11:30 pm (ish) - K-Os [Portuguese Association]
Midnight - Adam & the Amethysts [Casa del Popolo]
Midnight - Darren Hayman (Hefner) [Gymnase]
Midnight - Golden Hands Before God [O Patro Vys]


  • Staying put: Either the Round Robin or Casa del Popolo's indie-pop!
  • Rolling the dice: The Pied Piper of Hutzovina, a documentary mostly-about Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz returning to Eastern Europe, looks good enough for even non-Gogol fans to love.
  • Sure bets: The mighty Jem Cohen! Dan Deacon will bring the house down. And Black Feelings at a 2pm BBQ will shake yr hangover loose.

2:00 pm - Black Feelings (+ bbq!) [Friendship Cove]
3:00 pm - Jem Cohen master-class [Ukrainian Federation]
3:00 pm - Welcome to Nollywood (film) [Cinema du Parc]
8:30 pm - Wedding Present [Le National]
9:00 pm - Baltimore Round Robin (Dan Deacon, Deathset, Cex, etc) [Eastern Bloc]
9:00 pm - Pied Piper of Hutzovina (film) [Cinema du Parc]
9:45 pm - WIRE [Le National]
10:30 pm - Ghost Bees [Casa del Popolo]
11:30 pm - Mordekai the Falcon [Casa del Popolo]
11:30 pm - Liam Finn [Sala Rossa]


What did I miss? Add your own Pop tips & plugs in the comments.

UPDATE 30/9: See A worthy Pop guide from the Phonopolis record store.

UPDATE 1/10: Various additions and amendments.

Posted by Sean at September 25, 2008 11:18 AM

My friends The Gertrudes are playing on Saturday night. They are a lovely 9-piece from Kingston. They've got a theremin player, even!

Posted by Lindsay at September 25, 2008 12:32 PM

The Lovely Sparrows will be playing Friday, Oct 3 @ Cagibi with Valery Gore and Hi Lonely Oak.

20:00 Valery Gore
21:30 Hi Lonely Oak
22:30 The Lovely Sparrows

Posted by Abandoned Love Records at September 25, 2008 12:55 PM

Hey Shawn, fyi Weather Station had to cancel.

In the roll dice category, I would add Reggae legend 's Sister Nancy

Posted by Guillaume at September 26, 2008 1:21 AM

Really wish I could attend, BUT all that aside, don't miss the opportunity to witness a Baltimore Round Robin (even if it's geographically displaced)! These are spectacles, sure, but they're infused with the Baltimore aesthetic and idea that the "audience" is just as much a part of the spectacle as is the performance. So be prepared.

Posted by April at September 26, 2008 10:43 AM

thanks for that perspective, april! sounds amazing.

re guillaume's comment - word is that Weather Report are back on! hurray!

Posted by sean at September 27, 2008 11:53 AM

boats is @ 8:00 on saturday, not 10:00

Posted by Mat at September 27, 2008 6:29 PM

I think I deserve attention too. October 2, 21h30, Sala Rosa. Impossible collage songs !

Posted by Vincent Bergeron at September 28, 2008 11:22 AM

Hey, this is Simon from the Weather Station. WE DIDN'T CANCEL! I don't know how this vicious rumour got started.

Posted by simon borer at October 1, 2008 5:42 AM

on 10/02, jonathon "beaver" shepard is playing a show @ Casa Del Popolo
4873 boul. St. Laurent

i can't vouch for anyone else (or even go to canada), but the dude is not to be missed.

Posted by karpe at October 1, 2008 7:22 PM

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