words & photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
La pluie. It just wont stop. From sun up to sundown and well into the night here in Montreal the rain continued, making the second day of Pop Montreal (Thursday, September 30th) , and everyone attending, a soggy mess. Buses were crowded, Bixi (the public bike racks that blanket the city) were not an option. It was taxis or hoofing it.
The rain forced the "Pop BBQ" indoors and up Boulevard St. Laurent to the Barfly where Lost In The Trees were first up. The set times were moved up an hour and upon arriving there were maybe 20 people in the bar. Nestled back in the corner the seven-member ensemble performed, without microphones. It had the feeling of a Take Away show with people carrying on quiet conversations, watching the band or sitting at the bar nursing a beer. After playing a raucous sold-out show the night before it had to be just a bit disappointing for the band. But you wouldn't know it by how they sounded.
After hiding out in the Notman House where registration and the hospitality area are, it was back up the boulevard and a fun, hip-hop set by Montreal's Socalled. "Does anybody want to play bass with Socalled tonight?" asked bandleader Josh Dolgin to the rapidly filling up space. (One of the curious things about some of these shows in Montreal is the way a venue will be nearly empty 10 minutes before a set and by the time a band takes the stage nearly packed.) Two songs in a guy came walking up with a bass and joined right in.
While waiting for Greenland's Nive Nielsen to begin at boutique clothing store next to the Barfly, I popped in to see who was on and was surprised to catch Brooklyn's She Keeps Bees killing it to what appeared to be the same 20 people from a few hours earlier.
Then if was off to see the see Polaris Prize-winners Karkwa. I arrived early and caught most of Montreal's Leif Vollebekk. Sounding a bit like the Bowerbirds with a voice that sounded equal parts Ryan Adams and Andrew Bird, his set was the more impressive of the two bands. And their sounds couldn't have been more differennt. If you stripped away the blistering light show, Karkwa's songs come away a bit less impressive. But from a spectacle standpoint it was worthy and the Montreal crowd was very much in love with them.
A dash through the rain and into The National to close out the evening. I arrived early and caught the last bit of the Black Feelings. Women followed and might have been the highlight of the night. Liars capped the evening and were loud, loud and more loud.
Read about the first day of the festival. HERE. More pictures from the second day below...
Lost In The Trees
She Keeps Bees
Hoof and The Heel