Monday, 28 December 2015

Lyse and the Hot Kitchen

Show: Lyse and the Hot Kitchen
Venue: Mademoiselle, Montreal
Date: Saturday, December 19th, 2015

Heading to Mademoiselle on Parc Avenue, JJ is almost skipping he's so excited. Since spending time with him, I've learned there's much about music I don't know. Like Arthur Jaguars Cossette of, among else, Lyse & the Hot Kitchen. Mr Cossette launched his career playing instrumental rock with the Jaguars in the 60's. Yé-yé/Twist/Surf music.

JJ mentions having bought a plexiglas guitar pic from Cossette at a price I won't state here. It's a special pic that can break strings if not played the right way.

Arrive at the venue a bit early. The only ones there. The band members are eating supper. Plenty time for a few beers, an old fashioned and some sweet potato fries while the crowd arrives.

The show starts and we have on stage Lyse Déjeuner as lead vocalist/percussions, Arthur Cossette on guitar and Jérôme Hébêrt (never seen so many accents on a name) on bass.

Lyse & the Hot Kitchen

As soon as Cossette starts his solo, you hear the crowd roaring. Everybody is a fan although not many present. Some start dancing swing. You know there's a smile behind Cossette's huge moustache. I take a look at his guitar, it's a funny looking thing. Stickers of bees and pugs with a lot of glitter. Excited, JJ tells me he's never witnessed anybody that age play so well with the exception of Chuck Berry (yes, Mr Berry played in Montreal in the late 90's I believe, wasn't there to witness that).

Arthur Cossette
Lyse & the Hot Kitchen is great music. Some in French, some in English; a mixture of swing, rock&roll and yé-yé "dans le même biscuit, ti-gars" as mentioned on their Facebook page.

The set ends. We leave the venue with a smile on our face. Didn't expect to have that much fun. Next stop? Tumbao vs Mess Around at the Inspecteur Épingle. A disc jockey vinyl battle. Latin influence music with some soul.

I love Montreal.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Elvis Perkins | Kinsey | Petit Campus

Show: Elvis Perkins + Kinsey
Venue: Petit Campus, Montreal
Date: Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

It starts with a walk on one of the most romantic streets in Montreal. Laval street on the Plateau Mt-Royal. JJ and I are on our way to the Petit Campus for an Elvis Perkins performance. All is serene when suddenly he pulls out a sock from his pocket. "You left your sock at my place" he mentions. Only, the sock isn't mine. The remaining walk is spent discussing whose sock it could be. "Quite a Bermuda Triangle I have in my hand" JJ said.

I spot Dan Aykroyd as we enter the venue. Of course am star struck. I don't get star struck often you know? I mention this to JJ, he doesn't believe me. I mention this to AC, he doesn't know who it is. That's how it is in Quebec.

We arrive too late for Kinsey but just in time to order some beers before Elvis Perkins' entrance on stage. I love the Petit Campus. Always magical. Still remember clearly M. Ward's, Pokey Lafarge's and Justin Townes Earle's performances on that stage. No different this time. You feel the music, you don't listen. Nevertheless, that evening, you could hear someone else's music in the background. A bit disconcerting. But hey! Perkins is a pro.

Elvis Perkins at Petit Campus

One beautiful song after another with a variety of instruments to accompany guitar, voice, drums, bass and synths. Elvis Perkins' high notes are quite beautiful, especially on "My Kind" from his latest album I Aubade. The posture of his body in front of the mic shows his dedication to the music. He promises it won't take as long before releasing the next album and before a trip back to Montreal. He also pronounces a few French words but I couldn't understand.

Elvis Perkins an Kinsey

The set is long but it never gets tiring. Usually the crowd can feel when the musicians are exhausted. It loses interest. I only lose interest on the last song when someone stands in front of me. I feel my space getting tighter.

We leave shortly after. In the cab, AC summarizes quite perfectly Elvis Perkins "Yé comme parfait".

China xx

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

King Khan & BBQ Show | Milk Lines

Show: King Khan & BBQ Show + Milk Lines
Venue: Bar le Ritz PDB, Montreal
Date: Monday, November 16th, 2015

Earlier in the day, a colleague pointed out the dangers of attending concerts since the unfortunate Friday attacks in Paris (he's scared of many things in life). Whatever. They can't keep us from living. You'll all agree with me when I tell you there are many ways to die right? Being shot by someone deranged is just one of them. Heck, I might get hit by a car tomorrow. I'd rather live my life as if everyday was my last.

Had some intestinal problems (severe gas, it happens to everybody). Arrived late at the Ritz, was too busy at home blow drying my stomach to relieve the pain. Milk Lines had already started.

Milk Lines

This Toronto or Montreal band (am all mixed up) is excellent as usual. Have been a fan for I guess what seems like a while now. Love the mixture of psychedelic and country in their sound. Exceptionally, Bloodshot Bill was on drums that evening. Emily Bitze had again some pitch problems, mostly when forcing her voice. Beautiful other times though, as on "Another Breed". Apart from that, everything was a 100% awesome. Their first LP was just released with In The Red Records. Have been waiting a stretch for that.

King Khan & BBQ Show steps on stage in full outfit as is usually the case. Couldn't help myself looking at King Khan's golden crotch. Have always been attracted by gold.

King Khan & BBQ Show

Not only are they super-duper live but they speak their mind. Sound wasn't great though, couldn't understand everything that was said. Bits and parts only. Like "Diva Cup all dressed" and "Tampons are killing the seals" (King Khan). Also, as a reaction to the violent mosh pit on the floor, "This is safe place!" "Suck my dick" "You could be making love to those girls and not punching them" (BBQ). Tried taking a picture of the turbulent floor when some stranger beside me gave me the finger. Love the pic!

King Khan & BBQ Show

The show ended early, no encore. Went straight home to bed with my Milk Lines vinyl. Slept like a baby. No more gas problems. Just saying.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Multiple Cat

Show: The Multiple Cat
Venue: Casa Del Popolo
Date: Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Saturday, March 8th, 2014. Sala Rossa. Lila Dit Ça was playing for the last time. The reason I was in attendance. Heard good things though from The Multiple Cat also set to play. Them being from Iowa, was very curious. I've been to Iowa a few times, having family there. Some Iowans are weird. Just saying. Turns out, that March evening, many things happened which I wasn't aware of. A couple among the crowd was being a pain in the ass, insulting the musicians while they were playing. It resulted in a fight outside between M, an attendee, and the girl. Actually the girl started beating him 'cause M insulted her boyfriend. I guess some Montrealers are weird also.

Was pleasantly surprised by The Multiple Cat. Even if the drums were played by a machine. Bought their record and approached Patrick Stolley. He mentioned trying a poutine while in town so I believe I suggested he go to L'Anecdote. He didn't understand a thing I said. Told him to forget it and walked away. There was no point in screaming right?

The Multiple Cat

Fast forward a year and we're at the Casa del Popolo. Same crowd, same friends. I heard M promise he wouldn't start a fight. This time The Multiple Cat is a three men band. We have some drums. Many think their live shows aren't as good as their recorded albums, not as many layers in sound. It is indeed different but not in a bad way. The melodies are so good and catchy you dance along to the music no matter what. The fact is, I like things simple and straightforward in life (I'm rambling here).

Got to hear their latest songs. In general more upbeat than the previous ones. But then again is that possible? The drummer was funny. No shoulder movement (doesn't take anything from his drumming capabilities though). Patrick Stolley, the lead singer, had some problems with the higher range notes. Even coughed at some point and said "son of a". I would've added "gun". No need in staying polite.

They have great song titles. "Magic That Work's" followed immediately by "Magic That Doesn't Work" is a good example. The melodies are also very good. It sounds so innocent.

Anyhow. You can take a listen on their bandcamp. Or here.

The next morning, on the way to a café in order to write this post, cross path with them. We're on Rachel street. A block away from L'Anecdote. You never know.

xx China

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Nots | Joanna Gruesome | Sala Rossa

Show: Nots + Joanna Gruesome + more
Venue: Sala Rossa, Montreal
Date: Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Enjoy last minute decisions. Had not planned on attending that evening. A friend I had meant to go with fell asleep at home (has a kid, completely reasonable) and am saving money to pay bills (bills are unreasonable).

Changed my mind.

At the Sala Rossa on Saint-Laurent boulevard. Cup of joe in me, alert for Joanna Gruesome and Nots. Or almost.

Joanna Gruesome at the Sala Rossa.

JG is awesome despite having technical issues throughout the set. Very good performers, six on stage. Better live than recorded. Then again, haven't found anything recorded recently with the new band member (or band members, am all mixed up)*. The guitar player on the left with the mix-matched socks and "Personal Best" t-shirt was the most loquacious when it came time to divert us from their technical problems. Mentioned a) the beauty of watching a band play live many times in a row and b) touring is much more fun when you're drinking. A beautiful singing voice. Soothing when everything else is loud (loud in a good way). A killer contrast. Kate Stonestreet in the middle (Alanna McArdle replacement) is the one that lets out screams with a heart, only we couldn't hear much. Sound on mic not loud enough. "Two of us aren't from Wales. We're sorry about that." she told us as the set started. The bass player to her left always had his back to us. Still good though, seems he was dancing to the beat. The whole bunch was having fun you know? It makes quite a difference. Was a blast to listen. All that noise (in a good way) and soothing voices.

Nots. Sound check was scary. There was something about lead singer Natalie Hoffmann's screams that made me not want to be the sound check guy. A good set. No long breaks between songs. Just long enough for Hoffmann to take a sip of beer. Alexandra Eastburn on the synths is an added bonus to the music only she looked under some type of influence. How the hell should I know though. It's been 20 years since I've taken any drugs. The self-destructive thing I do nowadays is attend concerts without ear plugs. Anyhow, if you want a good experience at a Nots concert, you stand in the middle and stare at Hoffmann. She'll stare right back you with a dare.

Natalie Hoffmann. Photo Joshua Miller.

* Trying to find their names on the web, they all have Gruesome as a last name. Confusing me all the more.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Protomartyr | Growwing Pains | Fred Thomas

Show: Protomartyr + Growwing Pains + Fred Thomas
Venue: Bar le Ritz PDB, Montreal
Date: Monday, October 12th, 2015

Attended alone as I sometimes do but rarely felt so lonely. An odd Thanksgiving day. Spent it with friends and family, watched the Blue Jays hit home runs. But also waited for a guy I had a few dates with to bring me back my guitar. Whatever we had, it ended abruptly.

Arrived on time (or early one would say). Only a few present. The usual Monday evening at the Ritz. Everything was set up. The crowd was all that was needed. Time will give us that.

The first set, Fred Thomas. Originally from Michigan, just moved to Montreal. Was his first show in this new town. Only him and his guitar.

Fred Thomas

Could've been awful since he wasn't singing much. Half talking, half chanting. Also, no band to back him up. Turns out it wasn't awful at all. Turns out I loved it. Turns out the lyrics were great.

Kind of depressing. Lots of despair. Said, as he presented a song, "I'll keep it kind of short, not so sweet". Could've been the whole set. He gave us a visual on our society not often done in music. Quite refreshing. Am probably not allowed to post lyrics on this page. But he's got a Tumblr site with all the lyrics. You should take a look.

Next set was Growwing Pains. They reminded me of the Black Lips (but doesn't everything remind me of The Black Lips?). Really though, I can't say for sure because all I was doing was staring at the drummer Jake Kmiecik. Somewhat talented you know?

Thinking back, I could've been dancing to their music. Only, the day was starting to get to me.
The crowd was enjoying the live act. Someone continuously screamed "yeah!", wish he had more vocabulary.

Was dead asleep standing up as Protomartyr stepped on stage. Love those guys. Second time at a live show of theirs. Lead singer Joe Casey looks much older than he really is with his suit and posture. One hand in the pocket, the other on the mic.


The lyrics are backed up with exclamations in his voice. Much more essential than any notes used. I wouldn't even care if he were pitchy. Great musicians with him. Gives it a heavy sound with a modern touch. Loved it.

Will try to drink some coffee next time they stop by though. Also will keep myself from ending any type of relationship on the same day.

Thanksgiving turkey

Sunday, 27 September 2015

MRCY Fest under the warm September sun

Show: MRCY Fest – Alabama Shakes · Local Natives · July Talk · Safia Nolin
Venue: Espace Montmorency, Laval
Date: Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Will just share my favorite moments of the day. Will not mention that Misterwives were extremely overexcited of playing around noon. That Claude Bégin looked bored on stage playing with his buds from Alaclair Ensemble, that guy is weird. That I felt bad for DJ Lary Kidd filling in for Angel Haze. That there weren't enough food trucks at the event. Won't be mean.

First up. Safia Nolin. Absolutely love her. She's the opposite of over the top. Even with the melodies. Am I wrong when I say I hear half notes? Beautiful voice, beautiful lyrics, beautiful everything in its minimalism. I love that part in "Valse à l'envers"when she sings "ne me touches pas"*, the notes used fit perfectly the lyrics. You understand what she's saying, what's the meaning behind them.

I've met her a few times, she's humble. I believe her songs are a reflection of who she is. Joseph Marchand, her musical partner, accompanied her perfectly on stage. Some extra high notes added on his guitar to the sometimes low ones of Safia Nolin.

Safia Nolin & Joseph Marchand

The set ended with the crowd singing him happy birthday (the day before). Also ended with a girl among us on the floor imitating her in a mocking tone. It's all good if you don't like Safia Nolin's music. But if you are to make fun of her songs or simply her, you better be smarter than that.

Next. July Talk. I've heard them before on the radio and didn't think much of it to tell you the truth. But holly molly is it a whole other thing live. This band from Toronto uses perfectly well the duality between the two voices. One is hoarse (Peter Dreimanis) and the other one is sweet (Leah Fay). Recorded, I couldn't feel that duality. I feel it live though. They are great performers.

July Talk

A few songs were played from their upcoming album. Peter Dreimanis asked us crowd to be sincere and let them know if we didn't approve of them. Well, not being completely knowledgable of their music, relying only on this afternoon set, I much prefer the old songs. The new ones have more rock in them, less sweetness. Not that I don't like rock&roll. But in this case, I like opposing forces.

Leah Fay moved around alot.
She also spat (or drooled) on a speaker, walked away for a second then back to wipe it with her dress.
Stole hats from the crowd. Crawled on the stage. Whatnot.

There have been periods in my life when I have ceased listening to music. For reason's I will not explain here, the last years of the 2000's were non-musical years. This is why I knew only Local Natives by name. Don't even recognize the cover art of their first album (which was apparently a hit) released in 2009, Gorilla Manor. I hear them for the first time this Saturday. It's quite enjoyable to tell you the truth. They are good musicians. I kinda had an eye for the drummer Matt Frazier simply because he was drumming without really drumming. In other words, didn't look like an effort to him, he could've been cooking eggs. Also, love it that there's no lead singer. Keyboardist Kelcey Ayer has a singular voice even if pitchy at times.

Local Natives
Local Natives' Taylor Rice

They mentioned this concert being special. Playing in Montreal where they have recorded before and considering this set as being the last one before recording the next album.

I loved it. Own Gorilla Manor now.

Alabama Shakes. Last but definitely not least. Here's another band where songs are good recorded but great live. You just feel the music when Brittany Howard sings in front of you.

Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes

The night before was at a monthly bar event called Mess Around. The best place to go dancing in Montreal (Divan Orange) in my not so humble (at times) opinion. Mess Around is Nick Osicka and Ben Shulman playing 45rpm's of early Soul/R&B. Don't know most of the songs they play but you guess where the songs lead. You can anticipate your next dance move solely around the beat. If someone asks what type of music is Alabama Shakes, you'll say some Soul some R&B right? But there's a difference. The beat changes. Am almost never aware when a song begins or ends. You have to be alert if you want to dance well.

They played "Heartbreaker", my favorite song of theirs. Thought I knew from beginning to end. Turns out I don't. Check it out.

I'd just like to add I have complete and utterly respect for the Alabama Shakes.

That was that for MRCY. Thank you for the candy in VIP lounge.
xoxo China

* don't touch me

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Timber Timbre's last night (for a while)

Show: Timber Timbre
Venue: Le National
Date: Saturday, September 13, 2015

Been thinking lately of the healing value of music. I'd even say medicinal. There are many ways to deal with problems. For me jogging is not it. Drawing, writing and music is it. Had I not had access to any of the three growing up I'd be heavily medicated. Going to concerts can be a small gamble. But it's so worth it. Sometimes you end up witnessing something magical. You leave the venue transformed. Last night at Le National, the sparks were among us.

First of all, Taylor Kirk, Simon Trottier, Mathieu Charbonneau, Bucky Wheaton and the saxophonist (if someone knows his name please let me know) are extremely talented. They transformed songs engraved in our memories. Had any other musicians done that it could have been a let down. This time we welcomed with open arms the change. (Except maybe for the tempo on "Magic Arrow")

Second of all, no photographs allowed. Was with friend V who thought that request was completely nonsense. She took a few pics until a fan reminded her of of the no pictures policy. Surprisingly enough, V listened. She ceased taking photographs. We left the venue afterwards thankful of that. We miss the surrounding beauty when glued to our phones.

Third, the lights. The first time I saw Timber Timbre perform, the stage was pitch black. Didn't understand why. This time the stage had some lighting but not enough for us to see clearly the musicians. We felt the music, we weren't watching the musicians play.

And of course, let's not forget that Taylor Kirk has no pitch problems.

Anything else is unexplainable. We left the venue in awe and a bit healed.*

Write to you soon.
xx China

* It was almost perfect. I say almost 'cause my mood was disturbed by what I overheard as we were leaving. Behind me were members of a Montreal band I like (and reviewed before on this blog). They mentioned having sold to a fan their last vinyl three or four times its price. And then they laughed. I didn't really think it was funny. Unless I'm writing for rreverb, I pay to attend concerts. Maybe it will change in the future but now that is how things are. I tell you, will no longer pay to attend one of their performances.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Psych Fest. Ponctuation | Milk Lines | Crosss | Birds of Paradise

Show: Psych Fest. Ponctuation + Milk Lines + Crosss + Birds of Paradise
Venue: Divan Orange
Date: Thursday, September 10th, 2015

My niece Sandrine joined me that evening. Brought her camera, took a few pictures. I love her and am so happy she'll be joining me once in a while with camera. A little hiccup yesterday though. Her fully charged battery ran out after the first set. It happens.

Birds of Paradise. photo Sandrine Cadieux
Birds of Paradise. photo Sandrine Cadieux
Birds of Paradise. photo Sandrine Cadieux

Birds of Paradise. Took a look at a clip of theirs beforehand ("Ghost of a Lover"). Not my type of music, didn't expect to enjoy the performance. Turns out it's the first time I really listen to Roy Vucino's voice that evening. Quite beautiful. A lot of character.


Second set, Crosss. They're good but I've said this before, the music is odd. I like it a little bit more every time I see them. Still, it's going to take a while.

Milk Lines

Third set, Milk Lines. Love them. King Khan & BBQ Show posted their music on Facebook, been a fan ever since. Emily Clarke, who's voice is perfect for that sound, was not as pitchy as she can be sometimes. And I believe Jeff Clark sang on a few more songs than he usually does. Good!
They're releasing an album soon. Y était temps.

Last up, Ponctuation. First heard of them in an AV Club article. They were playing M pour Montréal. They are good performers. Only, last night the crowd wasn't doing much. Just listening. I kinda got bored. Drank my last beer at the bar. Sorry guys.


As I was heading home on Rachel street, ran into a very drunk girl trying to walk on the sidewalk. She was barefoot, holding the shoes by the laces. Kept dropping them also. I figured she needed someone to walk with. A tourist from Sweden, her Airbnb wasn't too far. The ten block conversation was on how awful men were. The day before, a guy approached her and told her something despicable. It got to her, enraged her. She wouldn't tell me what it was. Mysteries.

Sometimes I hate men. But really, I love them. Sometimes I write nonsense. Don't go taking me seriously. All of you are much better musicians than I ever will be.

Just saying.

xx China

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Kroy | Bloodshot Bill & The Hick-Ups

Show: Kroy + Bloodshot Bill & The Hick-Ups
Venue: Casa del Popolo + Divan Orange
Date: Saturday, August 29th, 2015

Didn't expect to enjoy Kroy that much. Was simply amazed with her voice.

Kroy (Camille Poliquin). Also in the band Milk & Bone.

Heard Camille Poliquin in an interview (and this is really a dumb observation) but her high pitch voice dissuaded me in thinking I would enjoy her music. Boy was I wrong.

After her prestation at the Casa del Popolo, left the Passovah Fest for the Divan Orange where Bloodshot Bill & The Hick-Ups were scheduled to play.

Arrived, ordered a beer by the bar and as soon as he stepped on stage, left the bar for the floor by the stage. It's the kind of event where you want to be near the music. Even if you end up dancing next to someone who has drank a itsy tiny bit too much.

I danced throughout the whole performance.

Bloodshot Bill & The Hick-Ups

The evening ends, he leaves the stage for a table and starts licking the back of his guitar while the Hick-Ups keep on playing. Am right there in front and I go along. Am having a blast.

Should've bought his vinyl. Next time. We're lucky, us Montrealers, to have him living here. Just sayin'.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Joe Grass | Black le Gary | Caro Diaro | Moss Lime

Show: Passovah Festival. Joe Grass + Black le Gary + Caro Diaro + Moss Lime.
Venue: Casa del Popolo + Bar le Ritz PDB
Date: Friday, August 28th, 2015

Arrived at the Ritz and Moss Lime was playing its last two songs. Damn it. Am late for once and missing something good. I love Moss Lime. Got to know them through Tinder. A guy I met introduced me to the band and another one of Helene's (lead singer) band, Phern. Take a listen. Please.

Moss Lime at the Ritz. The place wasn't packed yet.

Spoke to Helene after the show. Wanted to buy the tape. We spoke in English for the first few minutes before realizing we were both francophones. It happens you know. First I thought she was Scottish, then maybe German. She had a strong accent. Anyways, she didn't have any tapes with her. Asked her if she was planning on doing another show soon. Negative. Not for a long time. Learned today that she's a French citizen unable to stay in Montreal due to visa problems. She's leaving today. Sad.

Next was Caro Diaro. A loner on stage with a lot of presence.

Caro Diaro

Much of the crowd was quiet. Her music reminds me that of Cat Power's. Only she's a little bit less shy on stage. Quite beautiful. My only comment, more change in rythme from one song to the other could be good. 

Left the Ritz afterwards to join friend V at the Casa del Popolo. Arrived and Black le Gary was setting up its gear. Of course it's another one of those bands who starts with a weird song just to make us wonder if we really do like them. Only, this time, all their songs turned out weird. Sometimes chanting in Polish with recorded laughs in the background. Other times odd instrumentals. None of their songs really were the same. To that, I believe it was the (excellent) drummer who asked us to inform them which song we preferred so they'd know "which style to stick to". It's their second gig in four years he adds. The crowd starts laughing to that, we don't know though if it's actually funny (until he tells us it's not). There's a kind of weird vibe in the venue. But it's a great vibe. Loved every second of it.

Black le Gary

The set ends with Lisa Moore from Blood and Glass stepping on stage. She's perfect for them. The last song is a recipe for an alcoholic drink*. Brilliant.

Been looking everywhere on the net for clips. Couldn't find. You'll just have to take my word when I tell you they're odd.

Last set. Joe Grass. It's good. The guy next to me was really enjoying it. His limbs danced in every direction.

Guy dancing with his limbs

Among Joe Grass on stage was keyboardist Frank Lafontaine. I recall watching him play for Blood and Glass in a loft. Was in awe. Amazing solos. 

Joe Grass

I like Joe Grass. Decided not to take any notes on my iphone and just enjoy. Here's a soothing rendition of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows":

Have a good day.
xx China

* Other than being the lead singer in a band, Lisa Moore also works as a bartender in a great Montreal bar. The last song fits perfectly.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Miracle Fortress | Moonface | Théâtre Fairmount

Show: Miracle Fortress + Moonface
Venue: Théâtre Fairmount, Montreal
Date: Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Showed up for Moonface (love his music). Am only somewhat aware of Miracle Fortress. Arrive around 9pm. Had time to inspect my surroundings. The place was very bright. Dance music was playing, or is it House? Am not an expert. A cotton candy stand somewhere. A floral wreath stand by the stage. Video games. Everybody seemed happy but will they stay happy when Spencer Krug (Moonface) steps on stage? Don't think they know what's waiting for them. And assuredly, all along the performance the majority were conversing. V tells me they shouldn't have booked Moonface for this event. I say they shouldn't have organized a party for a Moonface event.

The first song is long, barely any lyrics, mostly piano. Am wondering, is this to test the sound that he has chosen this piece as its first? The sound guy, we have later realized, uses an Ipad. It's brilliant. Now moving all over the venue for adjustments. 

Throughout the set am unfortunately facing his back. Then again, maybe it's a good thing. Concentrated on the music rather than on his face. And anyhow, his body is expressive, you don't need much more.


For people who might not know who Moonface is. It's one guy with a voice and a piano. Lyrics are very important. Most of the time it works. Sometimes it doesn't. As with the last song played that evening. A "new song about dreaming", he tells us, "which we will probably not enjoy". He was right. The lyrics were repetitive. Not my type of thing.

My favorite song of the evening is of course the one played from the album Julia With Blue Jeans On, "Love The House You're In". He had no intentions to play a song from that album and in fact he seemed hesitant before playing. I would've screamed "the crazy song!" during that moment of silence but decided to be respectful as was the crowd up front. We waited patiently.

Next up was Miracle Fortress. Didn't know much about Graham Van Pelt so decided to do a bit of research beforehand. Listened to both LP's. I've got to tell you, I much prefer the first album Five Roses to the latest Was I The Wave?. I find there's too much emphasis on the beats, also somewhat repetitive, than on anything else. Five Roses is beautiful though, will gladly add the album to my collection.

Excluding the pitch problems, it was quite enjoyable. I tell you, being bothered by pitch issues sucks. Have you ever heard me sing karaoke? Am terrible. Don't understand why I'd be bothered by it. Just sayin'.

Miracle Fortress

That's about it.
xx China

Friday, 21 August 2015

Beach House | Romantic States

Show: Beach House + Romantic States
Venue: Higher Ground Ballroom, South Burlington (Vermont)
Date: Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Sometimes social media is useful. Met a stranger through Facebook looking for someone to go see Beach House with in Burlington. Haven't done anything crazy in at least a month. Thought it was about time.

This isn't my first Beach House experience. They were in Montreal last fall. One of my first blog post was written about them. Deleted it a few weeks later. Too personal at the time.

I was introduced to Beach House as my ex was breaking up with me. "Zebra" had started playing in S's bedroom. Although it had been a painful listen the following months. I didn't quit on it. "Zebra" is just too beautiful.

We dated only one month more than a year ago and I still have a hard time getting over him. Last time we spoke he wanted to understand why that was. What made him so special. "I don't know" I told him. Thinking of it now, I guess he pretty much changed my life. I used to barely go out, spent my time reading and watching TV. Didn't enjoy talking to strangers. He shook me. He woke me. He showed me how exciting life can be. I never watch TV now.

The first band to play is Romantic States. A duo (Jim Triplett and Ilenia Madelaire) from Baltimore. At first am wary. The tempo is slow, the lyrics are sparse. Don't know if they're talented musician trying to do something different or if they are handicapped in some way. After a few songs, the tempo changes and I realize they are talented.

Love it when Ilenia Madelaire sings. She also reminds me of Meg White on drums. Only better.

Romantic States

As soon as Beach House starts, am in a daze. I close my eyes and let myself rock back and forth to the music. Can't tell you if it was one of their best shows. Just took it all in (and forgot to take the usual notes).

Playing "Wherever You Go"

"You guys are very good... and bad. But you're mostly good and bad" Victoria Legrand tells us.
Only a few strange words in between songs. Adding to her oddness.

By the end of the show Alex Scally takes a corner of the stage.
All the attention on Miss Legrand.

The show ends with "10 Mile Stereo" and all I hear is "It took so long". These four words are engraved in my head now.

The song I was most disappointed with was "Zebra" but it's all good. I need change.

Left the venue feeling good. And sleepy. Slept throughout the whole ride back to Montreal actually.

 xx China

p.s. A big thanks to G, the stranger from Facebook. I was taking a risk leaving Canada with someone I had never met. It was worth it.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Corridor at Quai des Brumes

Show: Red Mass + Corridor + New Swears
Venue: Quai des Brumes, Montreal
Date: Friday, August 14th, 2015

V and I had no intentions in staying out late that evening. We were by the bar at the Sala Rosa when JP texted us. He's at the Quai des Brumes waiting for the show to start. We join him without a single doubtful moment. The event is to celebrate Analogue Addiction's two year anniversary.

Three band's play that evening but only one of them caught my attention: Corridor. It's loud with great guitar harmonies to describe it bluntly. Couldn't understand what was sang but wasn't really bothered by that. As if the music as a whole made it ok for the voice to be buried in sound.


As for the two other bands, I got a bit bored. Sorry.

I can't help but compare the New Swears to The Black Lips, only the latter is better. It's a tough thing to avoid comparison when you sound so much like another band. Good performers they are though.

The New Swears. photo credit: JP

With Red Mass, I don't think I should say anything bad considering it's Roy Vucino's band. Maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot. Only it feels like they could really rock the place but something's stopping them.

Was at the bar drinking my whisky by the end of the show, sometimes talking to strangers, sometimes not. Took a pic of someone's T (with his permission of course). Apparently the T-shirt is from an 80's horror movie where people are transformed into pastel colours. 

The only reason this is online is I truly think you should get to know Corridor.

xx China

Monday, 3 August 2015

Osheaga 2015

Show: Father John Misty + Future Islands + The War on Drugs + Philip Selway + Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Venue: Parc Jean Drapeau, Montreal
Date: Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Wanted to watch Gary Clark Jr perform but fell asleep in bed. Arrived at the end of his set, around 3:30pm. Oh well, I'll just have to go to Burlington (Vermont) at some point to catch a performance of his.

The two main stages are next to each other. Therefore one set finishes and the other one starts. A long fence dividing one floor from the other. V and I were waiting by one of those stages for Father John Misty to start. We weren't there only for him though. The War on Drugs was set to perform on that same stage.

Father John Misty is his usual self. You love him or you don't. Actually, if you enjoy his music enough, everything else is unimportant. I savored his latest album, I Love You Honeybear. One of the best love albums ever. Refreshing lyrics on the subject. (Leonard Cohen is, of course, unbeatable).

"I'd ask you how you are doing but I don't really care". Typical Father John Misty. On "Chateau Lobby 4 (in C for two virgins)" the crowd starts chanting with him. He is loved. "How's everybody over there waiting for the band to go on?" he later asks the neighboring crowd. "Bored in the USA" starts, "Sorry for those whose ecstasy just kicked in" he says before requesting the crowd to fist pump.

Was too busy taking a picture to fist pump.

Not only do we fist pump to the slow beat of the song but many of us are chanting the lyrics. Osheaga is full of Americans. I miss home all of a sudden. I miss Montreal.*

Father John Misty ends and Future Islands starts next door. Never attended a show of theirs. Will definitely not miss the next one in Montreal. Lead singer Samuel T. Herring has heart. So much heart. Quite moving.

Following Future Islands, the band I've been waiting for steps on stage. The War on Drugs. It's not a show. Only music. Good music. Unfortunately there were some sound problems on sax. Still, I close my eyes and I let myself get carried away. We were up front. Easier to be in awe there among the mélomane's.

The War on Drugs

We head out to another area of the festival once TWOD leave the stage. Smaller crowds and bigger trees. Our favorite turf. We're both disappointed with the lineup though (with some exceptions). Felt as if Osheaga has ceased trying to attract Montrealers.

The rest of the evening is a bit of a deception.

Philip Selway made me feel uncomfortable 'cause he was kind of pitchy. I won't add anything else.

Alex Ebert from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros also made me uneasy. I like their songs but lead singer Alex Ebert gives himself a fake persona in my opinion. A "guru wannabe" as V would say. With a rough voice that evening, he ends a song abruptly saying "That's shit" and invites a paraplegic to come on stage. "Ça y est, c'est un guérisseur maintenant"** declares V. I didn't know how to feel. Was he using the paraplegic for show? By the end we were all moved in spite of that. V, the most sceptical of all, had tears in her eyes (she won't admit to that though).

Emotional moment?
Happy for the guy.

We stay at Osheaga for only a few alt-J songs. Freak Heat Waves was playing at the Bar Ritz PDB. Intended on watching them perform but as soon I leave I know this won't happen. End up going to bed. That's life.

xx China

Father John Misty filming himself with a fan's camera
Shit happens. Or maybe it's just the drugs.

See you next year. Maybe.
photo: Véronique Côté

*I'd just like to add that I have nothing against Americans (most of the time). Am myself half American.
** Fuck that. He's a healer now?

Friday, 31 July 2015

Seoul⎜Diana⎜Un Blonde

Show: Seoul + Diana + Un Blonde
Venue: Théâtre Fairmount, Montreal
Date: Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Arrived there too early, nothing new. I should've learned my lesson by now. Came to see Un Blonde which was scheduled to play at 9pm. When they do set foot on stage, around 9:30pm, my friend V is nowhere to be seen or heard. I get concerned. I figure she fell asleep in bed or got kidnapped by a bad dude. Turns out I was wrong. She arrives alive and well 15 minutes later. Gotta learn to chill man (her words).

Un Blonde is great. On some songs you think there's no rhythm but oops! You've been fooled. It's there. You just have to be patient. The music is experimental but accessible. I don't know how Jean-Sebastien Audet does it. I think he might be a perfectionist.

Only one problem though. He's quite theatrical. Being over-dramatic on stage might turn people off. Still it's quite a show to watch.

Un Blonde

The second set is ok. Actually there's nothing wrong. Diana is good. Only 80's pop music just doesn't do it to me anymore. I like it raw.

The singer has good stage presence. She looks uncomfortable but also saying f**k you with her body language. Good control on her voice. There was a saxophone. V has aversions to those (with some exceptions). Ça "scrap un peu la patente" she says.

As Seoul steps on stage, am completely exhausted and have a hard time paying attention to the performance. Sorry guys. All I can say is that their ultra clear special edition vinyl is quite a beauty. Never seen a vinyl that transparent. Buy it if you are at all interested in that kind of stuff.

Walked back home, bought a Red Bull in order to stay awake and write this post. Usually I wake early in the morning to write. Wanted to try something different. Didn't work though. Still fell asleep.

Ok. By. I've got to get to work. Bills to pay you know.

Walking back home.