So yeah uh… The National were unreal. Similar set to Toronto, but they comedically noted how much better the night in Montreal felt compared to Kool Haus. Eat it ! The band played beautifully together, and all of my friends loved how Matt Berninger sings. I just wish he melodicized his lyrics a bit more, but that’s just me. I feel like he’s just afraid of being off pitch and every sung note is brief.
They also could have jammed out their songs more for some major impact, but they did a decent job of that already. Every time I go to a packed show at Metropolis, I always feel like Montreal crowds are loud and supportive. They seemed happy to play to us, and by golly we liked that.
Thank you to Chromewaves.net for providing last night’s setlist of The National at Kool Haus. If tonight at Metropolis is similar, I will turn into a liquefied cookie. Been looking forward to this long time, and can’t wait to see how these songs stand up live.
Start A War
Baby We’ll Be Fine
All The Wine
Mistaken For Strangers
Hear one of my faves and show opener, Start a War, below.
Saw them play at the seemingly regular haunt of Metropolis. Still think it’s the best venue I’ve ever been to. Perfect size, great sound, beautiful old building, always great Montreal energy. Even moreso for hometowners Stars, with Gentleman Reg opening. Gentleman had a full band this time around, was a step up from his solo acoustic performances I’ve seen for sure, but more I-IV-V rock than I wanted.
Stars have significantly improved since I’ve seen them at Waterloo’s Starlight a few years ago. Plus they are much more of a big venue kind of band rather than a second floor, 9ft ceiling 250 cap club band. Performances were nearly flawless, passion from Torq as per usual, and the everyindieman’s fawning crush, Amy Millan. I’ve had my very own Amy Millan fantasy that consists of old hardwood, middle eastern rugs, a low fire, orange Fanta, whiskey, old Martin guitars, and us dueting the Beatles.
Highlights included Ageless Beauty, Look Up, Elevator Love Letter, and the spirit of the Montreal fans. One interesting thing I noticed at this show was how many couples in attendance. This band is like the Harry Met Sally of indie rock, and I ate it up with a coffee spoon. Lather on the camembert.
These guys used to be my favourite Canadian band circa 2004-2006. Their instrumental debut LP Feel Good Lost hit me super hard in summer 2004. It was one of my summer albums along with Death Cab’s Transatlanticism and Stars’ Heart. ThenYou Forgot It In Peoplewas another big impact for me – it sounded like so many bands well melted – Tortoise, Radiohead, Pavement, Sonic Youth, and on. After 2006, Wintersleep moved into the top Canspot.
I was wondering how they would cover their multiple female vocal parts without the presence of the femme vedettes. I’m guessing Amy Millan is on tour, Emily Haines was too busy not eating and not making records, and a certain Leslie Feist is playing to the world on top of a mountain, so she’d sort of be occupado.
Lead singer Kevin Drew is a smart hipster – he brings a Dinosaur Jr. loving opening band entitled Land of Talk with a female lead singer who makes the rubber soles of the young men’s Chuck Taylors melt to the concrete. Her voice was reminiscent of the Cardigans vs. Amy Millan vs. Minipop. After their set, she came back on stage to sing all of the awesome female vocal parts (especially a hypnotic and angsty “Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl“).
Overall, I’m glad I went with my fellow conference goers to the still kickass Metropolis – I needed to be reminded why this band still matters. Their live show is still brilliant with tons of energy, piercing brass sections, a voice soaked in reverb highly reminiscent of the goosebumpy Jim James, and a whopping 2.5 hour set. However with the 10 piece “collective”, you get songs not written by Broken Social Scene, you hear songs written by the band members’ other bands. Bull roar, that’s not why I’m here. And 2.5 hours is a bit of a bold move with non BSS material. You’re not James Taylor with a 40 year old catalogue of greatest hits. You’re a greasy man with too much ironic indie rock ego from north of Danforth. I like you, just stay humble.
So my only attended show for my virginal Pop Montreal experience (due to poorness) was Hot Chip last Wednesday at Metropolis on St. Laurent. Honestly I was just really slow on the uptake – I checked out the full program the second day of the festival and realized one of my favourite Canadian up and comers Mardeen were playing an amazing east-coast focused show the night before. I would’ve foregone a few cartons of Tropicana to see them for sure.
Hot Chip definitely didn’t disappoint, although the $6.25 domestics did. They played all of the singles, all of the goodies, and the live drummer made a massive difference overall. Well played HC.
One thing that gets to me at times (among a lot of hipster bands) is the suffocating amount of irony. The lead singer was wearing a unabomber-inspired white coveralls, those late 80s dad rapist glasses, and looked like Screech’s long lost penpal. On one hand I do appreciate that the rock and roll mould is being broken, and that nerdy dudes are getting laid, but it’s the amount of “coolaloof” that comes with this irony that I dislike.
“And I Was A Boy From School” was the highlight, and they encored with a tasteful version of Sinead’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”. Not a bad choice at all. First time at Metropolis too – pretty much the best venue I’ve been to along with the Opera House. Perfect size for crowd energy and intimacy, classy, nice balcony, plus the Montreal crowd never disappoints. Montreal 1 (million).