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by Bill Pearis
The first night of M for Montreal was a light one. Especially after Duchess Says had to cancel, due to singer Annie-Claude cracking a rib last week after a particularly spirited performance at the record release party for the band's new album In a Fung Day T. (And anyone who's seen Duchess Says knows she's already pretty damn spirited.) Get well soon Annie-Claude!
So we got four bands at club Cafe Campus. Two of them were from France, brought to us by magazine Les Inrockuptibles. Concrete Knives are from Caen, France and make a kind of energetic dance music that is maybe the indie equivilant of the mullet: party in the back (disco rhythm section) business in the front (fuzzed out rock guitars). Ok that doesn't really work either, Concrete Knives are basically a party everywhere and singer Adriene Lepretre is skilled at an early age in the art of working a crowd. (And jumping into one.) Some of the songs are a little samey, but they're young and have a lot of promise.
The other French band was Anoraak who have toured the states a few times. As they've become more of a real band and less of a studio project, their sound has changed too with the more overt Italo disco influences being drowned out by the guitars and drums. It's still very '80s but live Anoraak are closer to Friendly Fires these days, by way of the Drive soundtrack. Pretty good.
Wearing actual anoraks were Montreal's CLAASS (featuring a couple members of We Are Wolves) who played the first M for Montreal I attended in 2008. Fog machines and amplifiers were set to 11 as the band cranked out pulsing, gothy dance music poised somewhere in between gothy minimal wave and house music. Standout song "Run" was kind of soulful too in a TV on the Radio kind of way. My favorite band (and the crowd's too) of the night.
The night ended with Creature who were also on the dancey side of things and had style, skill and energy to spare but it was a little slick for my tastes and definitely lacked in the song department. Maybe in a couple years.
Three more days of M to go. A few more pictures are below