In between songs Sharon Van Etten is a total goofball. While she’s playing her music though, her hypnotizing voice and earnest, almost invariably heartbreaking lyrics evoke anything but a giggling artist eager for comic-attention. Van Etten’s lyrics are colloquial; an inward-looking conversation about vulnerability, love, and anger. Her words are also sincere and while they often read like an aching diary entry, they are words that her fans can relate to and sing along with.
Presumably, most of the audience was there to see Van Etten, but the opening act, Shearwater, did an admirable job of getting the audience revved up. The Austin-based band’s delivery was tight and precise, and lead singer Jonathan Meiburg’s vocals are powerfully versatile.
With the exception of an incredibly moving rendition of “Love More”, Van Etten mainly played songs off her ‘brand-spankin’-new album, Tramp. Her new songs – particularly “Give Out”, “Warsaw”, and “I’m Wrong” came across as psychedelic, folksy, very dark and perfectly textured. The back-up vocals added power and richness to Van Etten’s voice.
Unfourtunately, Van Etten’s act didn’t start well: there was too long a wait between Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater, the sound levels weren’t quite right – with angry reverb that left me wondering whether someone else was going to get electrocuted that night (Shearwater’s keyboardist had been electrocuted while singing into his mic during sound check), and the instruments seemed slightly out of sync. About halfway through the show Van Etten and her fellow vocalist conducted multiple attempts at counting in, and she bantered with the audience and her band-mates in between every song. But you know what? No on seemed to care. Sharon Van Etten is that goddamn charming, and that talented; the full house at Il Motore was enraptured.
If you want to rock hard any day of the week, especially a Sunday, go see The Kills. They lived up to the high expectations I had set for them; multiple people responded I would have the BEST time when I told them what I was doing with my Sunday night. The Kills filled L’Olympia, a much larger venue then I was expecting, with their massive sound. You felt like you were a basement with them oh so close to you bouncing around. Granted their backdrop was leopard print with various colored lights flashing in-tune with the music. But still, basement-type feel in the crowd. Their mix of songs was just right. They gave you a breather with a slower song once in a while. But then always brought the energy right back up. The Kills were nice enough to have a very long encore, which ended with F*** the People. Quite the send off into the beginning of the week.
The first edition of the Total Eclipse music series has come and gone and it was a nutty and lovely way to kick off the CKUT Annual Funding Drive! Just in case you hadn’t heard about this happening, the concert series involved three consecutive nights of music at three different Montreal venues which were curated by three different CKUT radio shows and featured righteous local arteests…and this is what it looked like! Thanks to all the volunteers, CKUT staff, venue staff and local media who helped make this first crack at the series a successful fundraising venture for the station!! (All photos by Amber, Karen R. and a bunch of different music department volunteers! More photos to come!)
DAY 1 /// Thursday Oct. 20th /// Hosted by Underground Sounds at Casa del Popolo! Keywords: Gorgeous introspection + shimmering wall of effects/voice/rhythms + hilarious and disconcertingly intense stage relations complete with hip gyrations + epic-ly husky-vocal-ed rock music complete with harmonized guitar and honeyed bass lines + good buds everywhere.
Stranger a.k.a. Jordan Robson Cramer
Sean "Nicholas" Savage
DAY 2 /// Friday Oct. 21st /// Hosted by the Venus Collective at Divan Orange! Keywords: Black-masked post punk with big pre-recorded drums + lovely, primal poncho-draped dance party times + dark punk lighting the room with heraldic melodies.
***Word to the wise: get in contact with the funding dept. at CKUT to find out about nabbing a limited edition, silkscreened Venus radio tank top!
DAY 3 /// Saturday Oct. 22nd /// Hosted by DUCK TRUCK at Thee Olde Hotel2Tango! Keywords: traditionally debaucherous Montreal overnight loft party complete with wicked DJs and noisy performances + lots of bodies + lots of hotness + queer/political/punk/Mile End hipsters all mixing together like a not-quite-congealed high-alcool-content jello shot: strong and just right for an eight hour (or so) dance partay.
Me (Amber) resting before the third and final (over)night(er)
Jeremy + Amanda- thanks to all of our volunteers!
DUCK TRUCK! Aaron models some headgear.
DJ Julie D!
Pyscho-strong jello shot
DJ Aaron Maiden
After this amazing-ness, Zimo played an amazing set…those photos are not yet available, but will be soon!
Sick Friend played O Patro Vys on the Monday after Pop Montreal with The Dead Letters and Cobra & Vulture. They opened the night in a dragon’s breath of red-lit dry ice (the venue’s, not their own) and pulled the wings off the beast with weird pop tunes. The duo form a tight unit on stage; Michael plays intricate melodies on his guitar, fingers knitting precise spidery patterns on the fret board. Jordy maintains the rhythm section along with some melody by doing triple duty on a percussion/drum set up as well as synthesizer and bass synth (at one point awe-ing the crowd with some fast drumming on the snare between synth lines- whew!). There wasn’t much stage banter and the band displayed ease and confidence on stage, tossing out smiles for free in between well-crafted, lyrical tunes that danced from pop bliss to soulful make-out jams to anxious ruminations on relationships. Micahel’s voice was absolutely gorgeous and spot on, gently reaching for notes at times velvety and intimate and other moments quirky and tinged with a touch of theatrical hysteria.
My friends and I arrived at SAT at 11pm on Wednesday the 27th of July, just about when Phantogram was finishing up their act before the Glitch Mob. What was initially most striking about this venue was the stage setup: each group member camouflaged in smoke, lit up by these crooked blue LED displays, giving the place a futuristic feel. In fact, it was only once the Los Angeles trio came on stage that I remembered that the Glitch Mob had remixed a Daft Punk song from the Tron Legacy soundtrack: hence the edgy décor.
Equipped with drum pads, touch screen machines and mixers, the EDM group started off with some hard dubstep, mashing in beats from hip-hop and rap songs. My friend had told me once that if you like bass, go and see the Glitch Mob. I could not deny that my core was responding to the pulse of these intense low frequencies. The warehouse was packed, and heating up as every track built up seamlessly to the next. It was exciting because of the musical progression – by the time their newest single “Warrior Concerto” started, frantic violins over a 8 bit synth bassline, most of us were just standing there in awe, just to focus and listen.
I went to see the Glitch Mob expecting a more typical EDM venue with a lot of dancing and the occasional climactic point in the mix. But the Glitch Mob really blew me away with their singular style and perspective of dubstep, electro, industrial, hip-hop, even implementing classical forms! They gave an intense performance complete with constant engulfing and piercing electro sounds, so it makes sense that the show lasted an hour. I hope to see these stylish musicians with their hats and ties return to Montreal. Their new EP “We Can Make The World Stop” can be ordered online, the vinyl artwork is pretty interesting!
On Friday July 15th I attended my first Corpusse show. The night started with a documentary film about Corpusse about his development over the years. After the screening, Corpusse took the stage and started his performance.
The show seemed like a dream to me. There was this strange man, like a distorted version of Gene Simmons or Alice Cooper. He spoke like a pro wrestler turned opera singer. His actions and words seemed unrelated to one another, mostly unexplainable. His emotions would spike and subside more frequently than a toddler. This was Corpusse. Standing behind him in the shadows, was another man playing melodic and sometimes discordant synthlines.
Dreams, with what little sense they seem to make, can impart great wisdom. Carl Jung, the famous dream psychologist, believed that a nightmare was your subconscious confronting you about your suppressed thoughts to teach you. The same could be said of Corpusse. There was something confrontational in his performance; some message he was wrestling to convey. Based on how the documentary displayed Corpusse in his “civilian” life, on stage he seemed like his own nightmare form; confronting the world in a distorted dreaming way. In the same way our dreams are as much a part of us as our waking thoughts, Corpusse is as true a part of the artist as his everyday self. This wasn’t just an act.
Superficially, Corpusse’s act seems to be a ploy for attention; a grown man who dresses up and screams on stage. In reality there was something much deeper about his performance. He felt truly genuine; his expressions raw and real. Corpusse managed to separate himself from the ordinary methods of performance art to create a unique, surreal and thought provoking experience.