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Pop Montreal, Day 3

  • 2nd Oct, 2005 at 1:21 PM

Hello Kitty bag
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

I showed up to l'Oblique a little early, Friday evening. Actually, I had trouble finding it because I thought its storefront would be more prominent. But not, it's a small, quaint record store that's within walking distance from my place.

I browsed around and took in their pretty wide selection of good music. They've got their CDs behind the counter, so you have to tell them which ones you want. A good way of saving space and preventing shoplifting. Anyway, I went around picking out CDs that I thought I'd like, and then splurged a bit on my purchases. After tallying up my bill, the salesguy asked me if I had heard of "Do Make Say Think" and "Godspeed You Black Emperor". I admitted that I knew their names, but little else. He promised to play some of it for me, the next time I showed up, and we had a little chat about my exploration of modern music. I think I'll show up again next month, because the people are great!

The record store is pretty small, so they had to move away the displays to clear out some standing room for the audience. I helped a bit before sitting in the sofa they had right in front of the performance area. There really wasn't much to make it a stage. Then, a girl showed up and started setting up her laptop and a record player.

The Winks
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

It turns out that she was the opening act. Or rather, a stalling technique, since The Winks were late. Once they showed up, she packed up and sat down beside me. Her name is Aya Aikawa, and she is currently studying abroad at McGill. When she lived in British Columbia, she used to be the drummer from The Winks, which was pretty cool.

A girl named Tyr with a very distinctive look walked in and started unpacking a cello, a guy named Tim started assembling a saxophone, and another boy named Todd began to connect some equipment.

When they began to play, I realised that I had shown up to a punk-rock show. The music would degenerate into noise sometimes, but the interesting thing is that the cello really held its own throughout the piece. And if you followed the cello, the melodies were quite pleasing. The cellist is also a vocalist, and she sounded like Shirley Temple. Now that I think of it, she is really the most distinctive person in the whole group.

Not that the rest of them weren't fun. Tim noted that his saxophone was banged up by Air Canada, and that he had to jerryrig it for this performance. Todd made the pithy observation that "we must be the whiniest band, ever." Ha!

After their set finished, I turned around and noticed that the store was packed. Oh, and behind me was aeon_of_maat and his girlfriend. I bought some Winks CDs and then followed Matt to the next venue. They had brought along a friend who introduced himself, but sadly I forgot his name.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

When we got to the Roy Street Art Collective, the big garage door was open, so we entered through that. We had arrived just on time, so we found a bit of blanket to sit on and watched a string quartet perform a really awesome movement. The composer got quite a good round of applause. During the performance, the stage was kept dark and a video was projected on to the musicians, which was just murder on my camera.

When I looked to my right, I saw that robotics_girl had also shown up. I waved to her, and she waved back.

Afterwards, I walked around the building, as it was hosting an exhibition on architecture. There were photographs and sculptures. There was an "immersive environment for exploring sonic spaces" which involved walking around a VRML world getting close to bubbles that would play sounds. Another popular installation was a fake shower, where you could sing into a microphone that simulated the acoustic properties of a small, wet, tiled room. It was at this exhibit that I met a man, but I forgot his name as well. (Oh, I really should write them down before they evapourate.)

I eventually found Freida Abtan and told her that I really enjoyed her composition. It turns out that she went to Waterloo for a B.Math, which is pretty cool. I'm pretty consistently amazed at where Waterloo graduates turn up.

After saying goodbye to people, I walked briskly to O Patro Výš. I went upstairs, paid the cover charge, and found myself standing in front of the merchandise table. I chatted with the woman behind the counter and she sold me a sampler CD with new songs on it. It's in the cute single format, which is a form-factor which doesn't get used often enough. Anyway, I discovered that her name is Rebecca Silverberg, one of the people running Ships at Night, and that she recognised my name. I promised to come back after the show to buy something else.

When I turned around, I noticed someone standing beside me, so I introduced myself. He turned out to be a pædiatrician whose name is Shuvo, I think. He introduced me to his friend Andrew, who is a Ph.D. student studying philosophy and religion. Specifically, Whitehead and his process philosophy. I didn't remember, at the time, why Whitehead stood out as an important figure in my head. Well, not until I got home and recalled Principia Mathematica!

Both The Field Register and Plants and Animals were great. Both bands played mostly instrumental numbers, deftly playing mandolin, guitar, drums, and keyboard to create very beautiful rock. They both had very different sounds, for which I don't have the words to describe, but I loved them all the same.

I have to admit that I was here mostly to see Timber (The New Gentleman's Shuffle). It's got a songwriter from Spengler, Warren's guitar, and Katie's voice. How could this be bad?

It turns out, it wasn't. It was awesome. They played a great set that was more rock than their normal stuff, but it worked very well. And they played Jolene again. Now that I think of it, that's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. At almost every venue I've seen them play, they will have people clapping to this one. They ended to a very thunderous applause, played a very good encore, and packed up.

The thing I've noticed with this group of musicians is that they are all friends. Some other local bands I've seen play don't have this support network, but these people do. For instance, Joe Cobden showed up to see them play. And there are other people whose names I do not know, who are always in the front row. And all they joke and laugh together like they hang out all the time. I have to admit that's pretty neat. After the show, I picked up CDs from all three bands, to Rebecca's delight, and then went home.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
3rd Oct, 2005 04:25 (UTC)
I keep hearing about "Godspeed You Black Emperor!", if you get some of it, maybe lend it or something? Thanks!
3rd Oct, 2005 06:06 (UTC)
I would be happy to share!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )