Monday, October 6, 2008

Pop Montreal 2008!
Songs of Poutine & Purpose

Well it went down once again y'all. Pop Montreal 2008. A festival of music, art, talk, kids, crafts, records, walking uphill both ways, hipsters, hip hoppers, hipster hoppers, legends, buncha fuckin' legends everywhere, rock, jazz, and the urbane realities of French-Canadian living, in one of North America's most beautiful and dynamic cities. Mount Real Fool.

Anyway, hats off to everyone involved this year, including but not limited to my man Dan Seligman, Melanie, Clare, Laurence, and just everyone who made this happen. And everyone who makes Montreal such a chill place to be. (Fact: Everytime I tell Harris Rosen of Peace Magazine in Toronto that I am going to Montreal, first thing he always says is "Montreal is so chill." Everytime.)

The above photo is one I took from our balcony at the Trylon Hotel/Apartments. My wife came with me for the first time in a long time, and the Pop folk put us, and a lot of the delegates and speakers and artists up at the Trylon Hotel (3463 Sainte-Famille, Montréal (Québec) Canada, H2X 2K7. T 514.843.3971, F 514.848.9580, TF 1.877.843.3971., I can't recommend this joint enough. It's perfect for a guy like me. First of all, not only did the windows open, but we even had a door that led out to a full on balcony! For a man such as myself (cough cough) an open window in a hotel room is a Godsend. This place is dope though, it's super affordable, your room comes with a small kitchen and bathroom and a big living area plus the balcony. Downstairs theres a pool, a hot tub, a sauna, exercise room and a full on spa facility. It goes down over there for real.

I mean for real.

Here's my wife Melissa chillin' up in that mug. You can see it's not some like 4-star, big fluffy comforter type place, but I'ma tell you like this, it was the most comfortable hotel room I have been in in some time. Tons of space, right in the middle of all the action, smokers balcony, and an oven to heat up all my left over...


Hell yes, knowm talm bout? No, you probably don't. Cuz you probably never been to Montreal and you're looking at that goopy ass concoction like What the Fuck in Hell is That? I mean, I don't blame you, but rest assured, you get drunk, you eat Poutine at 2 a.m. and you're gonna have reason enough to traverse back to Montreal at least once a year.

Naw but check it out, I got into Montreal at like 3:30p.m. on Thursday. Relatively uneventful trip. I always get a little nervous when going through customs cuz although I have seriously never tried to bring anything illegal over any borders, and I have never had any record of doing so, for some reason I always get called out, well lets say 50% of the time (which is ENOUGH) get called out by customs for at least some extra questions. I know I'm good and will be let go soon enough, but it is always kind of a nerve wracking experience for me.

Anyway I only say this because when I entered the first customs clearance room I was so happy cuz there really was no one there. Generally you walk into the customs hall and wait behind hundreds, sometimes thousands of people waiting to pass through their first check point. This time it was a breeze. In fact, when the customs lady asked me what I was doing in Canada, and I said Pop Montreal, she lit up and wanted to know all about it. Like, "What is this cool music festival in my city that everyone is coming to and I do not know about?"

She really wasn't even tripping.

Anyway, so I didn't check a bag I just walked straight for the exit, customs check point #2. Man, there was a huge glut of people in that line waiting to get out and as I made my way into the fray I saw the customs agent at the front of the line, sending like half the people coming his way into, what I like to call the, "interrogation room."

As I approached him he sent the three parties in front of me into the room, so I just figured o.k. dude is trippin', time for the third degree about why anyone would possibly ever want to take a short flight to a nice place to attend a music festival.

But he just waved me through, I don't know if he even really looked at my card. Really strange.

So whatever, I hit up the hotel, then hit up the registration desk, then hit up the opening night party thrown by CIRPA, and of course forgot to get batteries for my flash.

So the photographic end result is this. Some good, some sad. But rest assured it was a great way to kick off the event. I needed me some St. Ambroise beer, and their sweet 99% vegetarian buffet. Serioulsy they had veggie pizza, quiche, veggie tray, brie, crackers, bread and well all this really nice stuff, and no meat. Except for these lil bacon garnishes or some shit on toothpicks. So I of course grabbed a gang of those and quickly found that this was not only bacon on a stick, but apricots wrapped with bacon on a stick. Shit had me trippin' dog. Knowm sayin'. For real. That's one hell of a combination.

Sarah Linhares Lahey of Public Transit Recordings Inc., handled the free beer, and also Jameson portion of the evening.

My dudes The Knux were in the house.

They performed like 6 times for real.

This girl looked like a taller, young Bjork.

This baby came all the way from Brazil and turned one on Saturday!

Melanie helped with EVERYTHING!

See what I'm saying?

So then honestly, all day, I swore that I was not going to watch the fucking VP debate. My thing was, I'm in Canada, I have to embrace my coupla days outside the homeland. I don't need to listen to this bitch squawk and the dude who coined the term drug czar act like Mr. Nice Guy. I don't have to do this. But my man Elliot Aronow and I had maybe hit a few of them thangs filled with that Canadian good, and well, feeling particularly lazy I said fuck it and we found CNN on the TV and well...

There they were. I'ma vote for Obama and I pray he wins and I have love for the man, but I think both these fools were trippin' when they picked their VP's. But that's just me.

I just came and sat and rolled. Elliot seemed to be way more insulted by Palin's bullshit than Bidens. Me personally, I didn't hear anything about hemp oil or any real solutions to get this country back on it's feet so I just said fuck it and kept rolling. Like a real American.

Elections are also happening in Canada. I wanted to take more photos of the huge political signs that littered every downtown pole, but only snapped this one. I think that means "Smash the State" in French-Canadian.

Wait, I was supposed to tell you the poutine story, way up there and shit, but whatever, so Melissa gets in, we go drop her shit off at the hotel and take off to go see some bands. Both of us were hungry and I convinced her to try some Poutine. Which is a tub of french fries covered in cheese curds and gravy. She wasn't really feeling it, but what are you gonna do? When in Montreal... So we stop at this pizza joint and I order us a poutine and dude says "$7." I was like "Seven dollars?" But I mean, whatever, when in Montreal... So we order the poutine and I watch dude make it. First he fires the fries in the oil, but not too much, then he dumps them in a small pan and covers them in cheese curds that he ripped off a big curd or whatever, himself. Then he let it sit I guess to let the curds do their thing, then he poured the gravy on and stuck it in the pizza oven for a few more minutes. My $7 poutine weighed like 3 pounds. Shit was lovely.

As evidenced by the photos above, taken by my thoroughly disgusted wife, Melissa.

So that's not the funny part of the story. The funny part is that after we ate all that shit, we went to Club Coda where the man Mike D was standing at the door. Turns out it's his joint and we go in and order beers and The Freshest Kids are on stage. Not a bad group, pretty typical, but cool, true school hip hop. We're standing there watching them when they announce that their next song would be about Poutine. And their love for it and such. Well, me, of course I was feeling this. I was thinking to myself "Ah the joys of a bellyfull of Poutine. Sing it to the high Heavens fellas."

So they start their song, and it's cool, kinda funny. The chorus goes "Poutine, Poutine, Poutine, Poutine, Poutine, Poutine, Poutine, Poutine" and when I say they recited it close to ten times, I'm not even tripping. Like it was funny at first, but the comedy rap song "Poutine" was at least six minutes. I think it was a posse cut, BUT STILL.

My advice to The Freshest Kids, cut the Poutine song in half and you might have a regional hit on your hands.

Also you further solidified in my wifes head that she really has no will to go to most rap shows.

Anyway this is the type of shit I love about Montreal. Art everywhere you turn.

Had camera problems all of Friday so I got no photos at my panel, but man, it was a lot of fun. Here's the run down:

Move to the Music: International Markets and Festival Circuits

Date: Friday, October 3
Time: 11:30 am – 1:10 pm
Venue: Main Hall

Representatives of music festivals from around the world will discuss their approaches to programming, as booking agents tell the story from the other side. Hear directly from them about the state of the industry, how artists come to their attention, how music moves, and what's available to Canadian independent artists.

Fabrício Nobre is the president of ABRAFIN (Brazilian Association of Independent Festivals), an institution that congregates 33 Brazilian festivals. He is the director of label Monstro Discos, and head director of Monstro Productions, which produces Goiânia Noise Festival and Festival Bananada. Nobre is the leader singer of metal band MQN.

Matt Sonzala booked his first show in 1989 when he was 16 years old. He currently books tours for Southern rappers, hosts a radio show that focuses on independent music, and 9-5s it at the SXSW Music Festival. He's a celebrated music journalist whose work has appeared in The Source, XXL, Peace, Pound, and High Times.

Bonnie Dalton is a music programmer for Laneway Festival, described by Pitchfork as "Australia's most insurgent and unique pop music event". She is also a band manager with Lunatic Entertainment where she represents Little Red, among others.

Lisa O'Hara was a promoter and talent buyer for the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and the Troubadour in Hollywood prior to becoming an agent at High Road Touring.

Amy Butterer has been with the Billions Corporation for over a decade, working her way up the ranks to booking agent and tackling various duties within the company along the way. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago, and a BA in Music with a concentration in vocal performance.

Johan from Tivoli in Utrecht, Holland was on the panel as well...

That information probably would have been more useful to you last week, but...

Anyway we all just talked to the people about getting their artists onto festivals and the importance of touring and all the regular rigamarole, and I think maybe a few people came away with something. I certainly did.

Friday evening I checked out the boy Teki Latex at the Off the Hook Store early in the evening and then rolled through his DJ set late at night. Shit was packed out of control. Ratatat too.

(Oh shit, "Landing Gear" comes out today! Also "Hi Life." Two new Devin the Dude releases today... Landing Gear is only $8.99 on Amazon tho. Jammin' the snippets now.)

Saturday we got up and had brunch with filmmaker Ina Fichman and her son. She took us to Beauty's on Mont Royal and St. Urbain, known for their Beauty's Special, which I had, a bagel with Lox and Cream Cheese. But not just any bagel, a Montreal bagel, which really is next level. Poutine and Bagels is life. As I have learned over my trips to Montreal.

After that we just walked. Window shopped in the crazy shops along Mont Royal, St. Denis, St. Laurent, St. Urbain, but my biggest score came just passing some lil street where I noticed a yard sale of sorts. A dude had this lil table out full of stuff, including some marginally decent records, and a few CDs. But he also had this box full of old magazines where I scored like 5 Creems from 1973-1975, a couple Hit Paraders and a Rock Pile, all from the 70's for a quarter a piece. And I also got a copy of The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady by Charles Mingus on CD for 50 cents.

We ended up back at the Main Hall round about 3 p.m. just in time to hear the Persuassions singing live for a packed house, with a Canadian kid providing a beat box rhythm. It actually worked.

As evidenced by these photos.

I mean it really was beautiful.

From there we walked up St. Laurent to St. Viateur and hit up the Puces Pop Arts and Crafts Fair and Record Convention. Whew.

Tons of locals artists and vendors crammed into the small space and hawked their wares. Everything from home made soaps, to poster art to jewerly to clothing to all sorts of shit (also tons of records) on display and for sale.

Melissa got some shirts.

Mostly from this woman, Damned Dolls Montreal.

Saturday night we wandered in and out of some random bars. We missed the big shit I think in favor of checking out some smaller Canadian groups and really just kind of came in and out of different things. We had a 6 a.m. flight so we turned in round midnight and I stayed up for one last good one on the balcony and then watched this. In French...

I have no idea what this is.

But I wish it was on every night here in Texas.

I mean.

What is it?

I don't know.

Anyway, I was not going to blog about this. I mean, I was, but then I wasn't, then I went to get the Poutine photos off my wifes camera, and said fuck it, I may as well share.

Last weekend, ACL Weekend, we really weren't home much and on Sunday when we got up we noticed a peculiar smell in the house. We couldn't really figure it out, but when we turned off the AC and opened the windows it went away. So we forgot about it.

Round about bed time I started closing the windows and turned on the AC and the smell came back, worse than ever. So I figured something had died around our unit outside, or possibly was up in one of the vents. I looked around and didn't find anything and figured we were going to have to get someone to clean out our vents. For some reason I didn't look in the closet where our Heater/AC unit is.

But my wife did. Monday morning after I went to work, she started searching for the smelly critter again, she opened up the door to the closet and saw this.

If she was less than 20 pounds I'd be surprised. My wife screamed so loud a neighbor came to the door to see what was the matter. She grabbed my daughter Elena and took her to the park and told me I had to come home from work and get rid of the thing. I came home and the thing was stuck halfway under the AC unit. STUCK. She came through a vent in the roof that had been ripped apart and fell to her death I guess when there was nowhere to go once through that vent. The photo was taken after I already pried her from under the thing with a shovel. Shit was crazy. We've had rats in our homes before, but nothing that big.

Anyway, I don't know why I posted that. Montreal Rules.


Meso said...

LOL! poor raccon.. looks like you all had fun and you got to take the wifey.. cool. What was that your eating? noodles and cheese? kinda looked like tripas.

ezekiel38 said...

peace bro!

I'm glad you got to check the show out at the coda! we had alot of fun too!!! yeah the end of the set was kinda wierd....we had some homies in the house that wanted to rap REALLY BAD and we just kinda showed love.....the poutine song is actually only 3 or so mins long and Is Quickly becoming a stake in our Canadian sucess! but yeah its not really a posse cut....I'm sorry your wife feels that way about hip hop shows!!!
If anyone is interested in hearing the actual song you can check it at:

thanks for coming bro! maybe we can get a 2nd chance to impress your wife in the future!!!


Pushermania said...

Hell yes man will you be at CMJ? I actually heard the Poutine song online 2 days ago and was liek WHEW its good, just a good song. That night tho I was like WOW it's REALLY going on and on. They must love poutine as much as I do. It is quite the delicacy man. But yeah man maybe I'll see you at CMJ or soon in the future.