LIVE REPORT: From Manchester to M for Montreal (Day 2)

More from Montreal…

One of the crucial concepts about live music is that it is experience, not just convenience. When we are sitting with our devices, drifting between songs and artists, it can be easy to become a ‘pedestrian’ listener so to speak – pacing and picking through content rather than considering its creation.

But it was live music which certainly stole the show and stood out during Day 2, 16th November, of M for Montreal. The format emphasised the importance and joy of ‘discovering’ music, being part of musical ‘life’ through seeing it ‘live’. From pop-up-feel gigs in the café at Hotel 10, to immersive experiences inside a church, here are a few highlights:

BEYRIES + Eden Sela + Sophia Bel at Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur
This striking free afternoon event – fabulously accessible and fascinating – featured three singer-songwriters performing from 3.30pm onwards in an old church; Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur. The name means Historic Chapel of the Good Shepherd, dating from the 19th century and restored in 1985 – now an acclaimed music space with a beautiful showroom. It was here that the three artists took to the stage in their turn, incensing the audience with live skill and emotion. Performing was BEYRIES – nominee for Solo Artist of the Year at Canadian Folk Music Awards 2017 and turning out tender tunes with gripping melodies, as if testament to both her struggle and triumph in the creative process – cancer having struck twice in her life. Also on the bill was female singer-songwriter and music-maker Eden Sela, serving simmering soft rock and also Sophia Bel, bringing provocative, lo-fi yet lasting tunes, sure to have any audience tapping and shaking.

Koriass + Lary Kidd + Pierre Kwenders at Club Soda
Another series of three live artists, this time in the evening at the iconic venue of Club Soda. Pierre Kwenders left a profound first-impression, an artist signed to Bonsound and creating Congolese Trap tunes with proper pulse and punch. Also performing was Lary Kidd, an artist who creates haunting, hard-hitting music with titles such as ‘Anorexie’ and ‘Ultra-violence’ – these are tracks which are culturally contemporary and manage to blend areas of ambience with articulated, beat-spilling angst. Koriass also took to the stage, a male solo artist signed to 7ième Ciel, bringing forth rap which roused and fizzed amongst the crowd for a gig that gripped attention on many levels.

Clairmont The Second + Corridor + ANEMONE + The Avulsions at Café Cléopatre
There was a bustling bill of four acts unfolding across the road from Club Soda at the intriguing Café Cléopatre – part strip-club, part gig-space. It seemed like an ideal venue for some raw, provocative sound and The Avulsions had the package to deliver – a post-punk affair with lashings of hair, layers of guitar riffs and a feisty female presence. The awesome tunes of ANEMONE also stood-out, with psychedelic rock rolled-through with groove thanks to the skill of Montreal-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chloé Soldevila joined by the boys Miles Dupire-Gagnon, Gabriel Lambert, Grégoire Carrier-Bonneau and Zach Irving. It was apt to introduce a kind of mind-opening, genre-jumping sound, and some welcome intrigue for the evening.

Also up was Corridor, an art-rock four-piece from Montreal with a distinct jangly edge to their playing, ideal for attracting attention as the night wore on, bearing the audience with their upbeat and unfurling of tunes. I’m certainly partial to a jangly guitar or two. Sealing the deal was Clairmont The Second, a highly-acclaimed break-through Hip Hop artist not even yet 20 and who still has the maturity to mould and move beyond the confines of genre – serving up a neo-soul chilled vibe which can turn in a matter of seconds into harder, rap-inspired beats. A series of highly diverse artists, with everything from punk-esque edginess to rap-fusions taking place during the night, it seemed.

Another fabulous thing about this festival it seems then – the diversity and ongoing development of the artistry on offer.

For more information on M for Montreal, visit their Website.

Emily Oldfield
Lover of music, poetry and Manchester.

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