When Lady Gaga first entered the pop music scene back in 2008, I forced myself to take a second look. Her lyrics were symbolic of both the feminine mystique and female empowerment, she wore avant-garde and provocative clothing (or a lack thereof), and she had the strong ability to capture the attention of millions by dominating the music charts for weeks on end.
This spring, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Jason Collett and indie bands Zeus and Bahamas unleashed “The Bonfire Ball” in North America. The three-in-one tour has been travelling across the continent since the beginning of March, and has even been as far south as Mexico City, playing a show for the one-year anniversary of record label Arts & Crafts’ expansion to the region.
What does Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, a 75-year old country folk guitarist, have to do with Pop Montreal, the city’s ecstatic embrace of the “next big thing”? Perhaps the most significant asset that Elliot’s Wednesday night set at the Ukrainian Center brought to the festival was authenticity.
The National is a quaint theatre, the ambience a familiar one, ideal for Regina Spektor. The singer/songstress stepped onto the stage with a glittery shape in her hair and smiling red lips, her very presence giving the room a soothing glow. She began an acapella wonder and the crowd became entranced.
Studying and an urgent need to pick up dry-cleaning in time for Thanksgiving may have deterred many from attending this year’s Future of Music Policy Summit, held for the first time away from its birthplace of Washington D.C., in McGill’s own Schulich School of Music.
Well before Shout Out Out Out Out even stepped on stage Thursday night, their presence was felt among the crowd. Flocks of college kids gathered outside the venue and later filled the moderately sized La Tulipe to the brim. The level of excitement was palpable, setting the bar of expectation for the evening very high.
I wish I could make it that everyone who sees the Soft Skeleton has to drink Guinness, says Emily Haines, Metric’s cool, commanding and completely sexy front woman, as she takes another swig, “but it’s okay if you’re having, like, a vodka soda. I just don’t think you’ll totally get what we’re doing, but that’s okay!” Despite the absence of Guinness anywhere in the general vicinity, last Monday night’s show at Le National ThéÃ¢tre was not lost on many.
Members of the music community are positing Montreal as the next Seattle or Greenwich Village. While Toronto is well known for its festivals lined with big-name artists, such as the Virgin Music Festival, which hosted both Gnarles Barkley and The Strokes this year, the sounds that are challenging and changing the face of North America’s oversaturated music industry are being produced in our own backyard.
A little over two years ago, the future of You Say Party! We Say Die! was bleak. It was week 14 of a 16-week European tour – an exhausting amount of time for even the most seasoned touring musicians. Fatigue had set in for the Vancouver band, communication had broken down, and everything came to a head when singer Becky Ninkovic attacked drummer Devon Clifford during an argument at a bar in Germany.
She & Him’s Volume 2 makes a slight departure from 2008’s Volume 1. Actress Zooey Deschanel and singer-songwriter M. Ward’s second album is full of Beach Boys-inspired harmonies and twangy California guitar, maintaining the duo’s penchant for a retro sound.