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?