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M for Montreal 2017 underway (report from day 1 w/ Cadence Weapon & more)

It’s the week before Thanksgiving which means I’m back in Montreal for the M for Montreal festival. This is the 12th ediition (I’ve been to a lot of them) and, as with previous years, the first two nights of this industry-leaning fest/conference focuses mostly on emerging artists. Wednesday’s kickoff was no different, with seven acts playing La Sala Rossa and sister club Casa Del Popolo which are across the street from each other on Boulevard Saint-Laurent.

Highlights of the night: Ghostly Kisses have perhaps a too on-the-nose name but their hushed, sad sound — somewhere between Portishead and Beth Orton — was nonetheless bewitching. I also liked Quebec City’s Men I Trust whose ’80s-lite vibe is a little like TOPS but with a higher hook-rate (though they’re just a little too laid back for their own good). Men I Trust’s Emmy came out to sing with headliners Geoffrey who had cool stage lights but whose Chet Faker-y downtempo music wasn’t really for me…though the many locals in the crowd really dug it.

There was also rapper Lou Phelps, who is the little brother of Polaris-winner Kaytranada and played a short, fun set at Casa Del Popolo. I also saw Un Blonde who played an improvised solo piano set (he’s talented but I won’t lie, Dana Carvey’s “Choppin’ Broccoli” song went through my head while watching), and spirited folk-rockers Aliocha.

The night was capped with a set from Montreal hip hop vet Cadence Weapon who played almost entirely in the dark. He’s got a new self-titled album coming out in January and played a few tracks from that including current single “Large,” “My Crew” that was produced by Kaytranada, and “Destination” which is a collaboration with Deradoorian (who is in Montreal right now but didn’t perform).

There are a few cellphone pics (some more blurry than others) from Wednesday night’s M performers in the gallery above, and you can check out streams from some of the artists, below.

Tonight (11/16) features dual showcases: a Frano-pop lineup at Club Soda, and an indie-rock leaning bill at Cleopatre, including Anemone (who recently toured with Mild High Club) and The Avulsions (who a few Canadian friends have told me I need to see…I’m going to!).

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