Pop Montréal: Kickoff and Day 1: Featuring Annie, Telefauna, Kickers, Tommorow's Friends, and E
Lessons Learned: schedules will be broken, stamina for both work and concert-going is in short supply, and sometimes you find surprises in unlikely places.
Pop Montréal: Kickoff and Day 1: Featuring Annie, Telefauna, Kickers, Tommorow's Friends, and ECity: Montréal
Venue: 27-28 September 2005
KICKOFF AND DAY 1 | DAY 2 AND 3 | DAY 4 Now in its fourth year, Pop Montréal has quickly become one of Canada's premiere music events. In a city overrun by festivals, this week-long proceeding is a unique force, bringing together music, film, and art in one of North America's most culturally diverse cities. By luring big names, Pop Montréal surveys the progress of international culture while also showcasing Montreal's rich musical landscape, one that, in the last year, has started to receive major stateside press. This year, Pop Montréal's organizers brought together an eclectic group of artists ranging from Nas to Neil Hamburger, alongside a serious smattering of local talent. With the majority of Montreal's premiere venues situated in the beautiful Plateau neighborhood, I endeavored to cover the festival on my own, hopping from venue to venue, trying to take in as much as humanly possible. I avoided the truly large shows in an attempt to catch some of the smaller bands making waves, the names in a city that the whole world seems to be watching. I was unfortunately absent for the final day of the festival, but, as I would quickly find out, five straight days of shows is more than enough for anyone. I quickly learned from this, my first massive festival experience, that schedules will be broken, stamina for both work and concert-going is in short supply, and sometimes you find surprises in the most unlikely places. OPENING BASH: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27: On paper, Pop Montréal's opening bash looked like a winner. Promising "crazy guest DJs" and a headlining gig by indie rock pop star du jour Annie, it's surprising that this show ended up being so dull. The first problem was the location of the venue: housed in the middle of a strip mall just outside of Montreal's Rosemont neighborhood, Theatre Plaza is a great venue that is unfortunately set in the wrong place. Pop Montréal's decision to launch the festival here, miles away from the festival's heart, kept walk-in traffic away and discouraged attendance by out-of-town press who might not feel comfortable venturing from the city's hub. I secretly hoped that the festival organizers had snared some Ninja Tune DJs (whose offices are located in Montreal) for the "crazy guest DJ" spots, or even managed to lure Royksopp into spinning (they just recently completed a brief North American tour with Annie). Instead what greeted my ears was one of the worst DJ sets I've ever heard. With audible, long pauses between songs, obvious cueing, awful transitions, and a truly baffling song selection (ranging from weird post-rock to Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder), this wasn't the party-pumping set one would expect to build anticipation for one of the underground's hottest pop stars. It was a great relief when the bands started, finally getting those awful DJs away from the decks.