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Pop Montreal, Day 4

  • 3rd Oct, 2005 at 5:28 PM

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Saturday was a far less eventful day. I got up, cleaned up the flat, and generally did domestic things. mricon thought I wasted a beautiful day, but I think I like clean laundry more than I like the great outdoors.

After dinner, I walked up St-Laurent to La Sala Rossa. I stood on the steps waiting for the doors to open, when I noticed the people in front of me were talking about music.

Two local girls who are going to Concordia, were talking to this boy from out-of-town. He had a compact Pentax 35mm on him, and a messenger bag with a notebook. He explained that he was writing for the University of Guelph student newspaper, and they had sent him up to critique Pop Montreal. They were chatting about the musical scene and he was going on about how he didn't like rock. Then, out of the blue, one of the girls says, "everything was getting stagnant, but 'indie' is the saviour!" This made me flashback to 1998 and I suddenly realised that "indie-" is to music as "e-" was to business.

The doors opened at 21:00 and we filtered into the venue. This time, people started sitting with their backs to the stage, so I walked up close enough to frame the stage with my viewfinder. Then I stood around waiting. I managed to see into the backstage, but it was too dark in there to get any good photographs. Alas.

The first band to come up was Geronimo, a rock band from Regina. They did a little more screaming than I would have liked, and their sound wasn't very polished, but they seemed to have good potential. Certainly, the audience was pretty receptive to their performance. Oh, I should note that the guy on the far right of this photograph, Henry Brass, was really great at inter-song patter. So good that even though people were talking, his jokes actually got a good chuckle out of the audience. This guy's really got it.

North of America
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

After they left the stage, a girl asked someone what time it was. He shrugged, and as is my wont, I looked at my watch and told her. I discovered that her name is Oriana and the other person is called Vincent. (I wrote their names down.) Vincent really liked North of America and told me a little bit about them. Apparently, they're from Halifax and they've been playing for quite a few years now. He was quite happy to be there.

As we were talking, the band came on stage and started tuning their guitars. This put a stop to our conversation, because Vincent was not wearing any earplugs. North of America played a very decent set with a mature heavy rock sound. Although I have now decided that most heavy rock isn't my cup of tea, I recognised that these guys are excellent guitarists. Well, whenever they weren't busy causing distortion.

Another thing I've realised is that bands that play heavy music typically have the most gentle voices. They'll shout into the microphone during the song, but after the applause fades someone will say, "thanks a lot," in the softest and most tender voice. It's a really weird juxtaposition. Also weird is why they don't sound hoarse after all that screaming, I know I certainly would.

Ted Leo
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Vincent went off to get another drink, leaving Oriana and I to talk. I discovered that she was going to a local cégep for Fine Arts, which explained why she looked really young. It was about this time that I looked about the room, and realised that I was one of the oldest people there. Yet, most of them had come to see Ted Leo and the Pharmacists who have been around for a while now. Oriana was definitely there to see Ted Leo, being a self-described fan-girl: "Awesome lyrics, awesome melodies, awesome sound. If I had one word to describe them, what would you think it would be?"

Ted Leo got up on stage in a corduroy shirt and strapped on his guitar. His drummer looked like someone who stepped out of a heavy metal band, with the black T-shift and the big bushy beard. His bassist looked like he stepped out of rec room from the 70s with a plaid shirt and an afro. This ecclectic group launched into song.

They played music that was highly influenced by classic rock, which is something I'm rather fond of. Their drummer had incredibly good rhythm and soon the crowd was swaying about. Some people up from were bouncing up and down, which could be construed as dancing. I had gotten quite close to the front, so I was able to get some very decent photographs. A petite girl decided to squeeze in front of me, and she started jumping up and down, often stepping on my toes. Eventually, she got fed up with being in such a tight space, so she forced her way into some other spot.

Ted got a very large round of applause and came back quickly for an encore. The crowd seemed to like this very much and some of them started singing along. Ted was very gracious for the attention and seemed to be genuinely happy to have an enthusiastic audience. After he left, I talked to Oriana because she was trying to get photographs. Sadly, she didn't get any that turned out, so we waited to see if the band would come out to collect their instruments. But no, a flunky started packing up for them. I offered to send her my pictures, which she gladly accepted, and then she had to run off.

I went past the merchandise table and I didn't buy any CDs because nothing there interested me. But I did manage to get a hold of the last small "I'm Glad I Live North of America" shirt, which was just too awesome a statement to pass up.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
3rd Oct, 2005 22:48 (UTC)
What do you do when the genre defined to be non-popular becomes popular?
4th Oct, 2005 15:49 (UTC)
Say they sold out.
3rd Oct, 2005 22:26 (UTC)
I said you missed it, not wasted it. :)

And spaking of wasted -- that's some strong beer you brought! ;)
3rd Oct, 2005 22:36 (UTC)
That's real Canadian beer you're drinking.
3rd Oct, 2005 23:52 (UTC)
What beer did he get?
4th Oct, 2005 02:08 (UTC)
Don de Dieu. Extra forte. :)

They weren't joking.
4th Oct, 2005 05:00 (UTC)
Ohh, aren't they ever!
3rd Oct, 2005 23:59 (UTC)
I wonder how many people actually know what indie means? (not signed to a major record label.)

My favourite term for a genre is "post punk." I have yet to find someone who can clearly explain what that means.

This is probably why I don't "do" genres. I sort my music into jazz, classical, electronic, and "other", which is by far the biggest section. I once had an "indie/local" section, but even that's ill-defined - if an out of town band gets signed by a major label, do I have to take it out?
4th Oct, 2005 00:59 (UTC)
All Music can be handy for sorting out this type of confusion. Their definition of post-punk seems quite sensible to me, for example.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )