Register Saturday | June 15 | 2019

Pop Montreal, day three: The lights brighten

Noteworthy bills from tonight's shows.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5 Grizzly Bear
[BAND SITE]   [HYPE MACHINE]   [MYSPACE]   [YOUTUBE] The sunny harmonies of mid-1960’s rock music and early psychedelic bands – before their brains were clutched and darkened by excess Tolkien and the brown acid – come back every ten years or so.  In the 1980’s various bands took these sounds and stretched out the tempos, opened caverns of reverb and feedback, and sent the same formula out to the stars. Grizzy Bear bring this back once again, this time in a more deliberate way; the careful sparkle of their acoustic numbers sounds like snowfall, and their more electric moments have plenty of space.  It’s a fair guess that on stage, they will open up and play with the more fuguelike segments of their tunes to build to thrilling crescendos.  This may end up being one of the more intense surprises of the festival. Also on the bill: Plants and Animals   [BAND SITE]   [MYSPACE]   should be local heroes by now, and their clutch of dedicated fans already rapidly cram smaller venues to capacity. They describe their sound as “post-soft-rock”, but they’re not post-anything. They’re pre-huge. While they’ve traded white jeans for black vests and no longer perform their once-signature synchronized high kicks, Plants and Animals still get an enormous sound out of their hollowbody electric guitars and at their live best – far noisier, drunker, and more unbridled than their careful recordings – will make you yell and shiver.  Make no mistake: I unabashedly adore this band, and their shows are the high points of my week.  Their notes can get lost in the live, boomy box of the Ukrainian Federation, but a good seat in the balcony will work wonders in this otherwise charming venue.  Yeasayer   [BAND SITE]   [MYSPACE]   share their audible fascination with Paul Simon’s Graceland with the other bands on the bill.  A bit more 1980’s than their folky compadres, they will draw notice with their chilly, layered groove. Bring: A cheery Nova Scotian bartender with bushy facial hair. Bun B
[BAND SITE]   [HYPE MACHINE]   [MYSPACE]   [YOUTUBE] Houston rap stalwarts UGK hold it down for a city you thought began and ended with the Geto Boys.  Those who have been slightly more attentive took note of UGK’s barnburner collaboration with Jay-Z, “Big Pimpin”, in which they did the near-impossible and outpaced Jigga by a mile.  Even self-styled true heads probably moved on once Houston’s status as rap flavour-of-the-month began to fade.  Too bad for all of you suckers, because Bun B – having taken some solo excursions while UGK partner Pimp C did a stint in jail, but since happily back at work as part of the duo – shines even when you’re not looking. Also on the bill:  DJ Chill   [BAND SITE]   [MYSPACE]   and Rapid Ric   [BAND SITE]   [MYSPACE]   are among Houston’s biggest club and mixtape DJs.  As tastemakers for a city with an enormous local rap scene, they keep up a dizzying stream of mixtape releases and bring H-town flavour to dancefloors across North America and Europe.  Together with Bun B’s appearance, this is going to be a unique opportunity to obtain a fully immersive Houston experience, stifling humidity and immense cars not included. Bring: Your adorable, licentious neighbor, radiant and perfectly accessorized, who is always out on her balcony and making you feel self-conscious when you come home in your dumb work outfit. I have a secret: she thinks you’re cute and likes to dance. Qui
[MYSPACE]   [YOUTUBE] Qui were already a chugging, muscular rock band when David Yow, accomplished amateur cook and crazed singer for the Chicago’s long-gone Jesus Lizard, connected with them last year.  Yow is far more melodic now but hasn’t mellowed a bit vocally; his bandmates are smart enough to write complicated songs, and wild enough to seed them liberally with big crunchy riffs.  This interview with Yow is brimming with helpful recipe ideas. Also on the bill:  CPC Gangbangs   [MYSPACE]   have a spaced-out and sleazy sound on record, but are a punkier, more nimble act when seen live.  Frontman Paul Spence was one of the genii behind FUBAR, and as his fictional avatar might suggest is a shining example of unbridled rock scuzz on stage. Bring: The sharpest, most cynical person you know. Other acts of note: Michel Pagliaro   [BAND SITE]   was a sensation when your parents were your age, the first Canadian to make both the English and French charts and a chameleon who switched from lushly orchestrated Neil Diamondesque numbers to a Van Halen-like bluesy growl.  What the Pop audiences will make of this grizzled survivor is anyone’s guess.  Orillia Opry   [MYSPACE]   are part of the Ships at Night stable, and like the horses in adjacent stalls are usually described in terms of their style rather than their songwriting.  That’s a shame, because Dan Noble and Emma Baxter muster tunes that hold up beautifully when played live with sometime backers the Ideal Lovers, as well as their occasional hushed and breathy acoustic sets.  The Golden Dogs   [BAND SITE]   [MYSPACE]   have attracted considerable buzz for their show this year, and I am told by reliable authorities that their jangle and boy/girl harmonies fill large rooms in Toronto. Far be it from us to question the judgement of audiences in la ville reine, and the Golden Dogs’ performance will be one of the less willfully weird guitar pop sets on offer at the festival.  Cadence Weapon   [BAND SITE]   [MYSPACE]   is often called the dopest emerging rapper in Edmonton, which is faint praise for one of the dopest emerging rappers on the continent. The “intelligent black speaker with a sound that bangs every relevant black speaker” comes into town with his circus of self-produced beats and rhymes, at the beginning of a swing through the US that will likely turn even more heads.  Todosantos  [MYSPACE]   [HYPE MACHINE]   first came to widespread North American notice after tracks from their first record, Aeropuerto, started showing up on MP3 blogs. Most featured fuzzed-out guitars over drum machines, among them the darkly brilliant indie gem “Ian Curtis”. No sooner had the hipster cognoscenti thought they had figured out the next big thing that the Todosantos crew took a hard turn in a bassier, ass-shaking direction and went-whole-hog into danceland.