"I haven't played a strip club in 20 years," admitted Brendan Canning as he took the stage at Cafe Cleopatra which on most nights hosts burlesque but on Thursday (11/17) was home to one of two shows at the 2016 M for Montreal festival. The Broken Social Scene guitarist, who released new solo album Home Wrecking Years back in August, was in fine, laid-back form with his band that included two backup singers and Grapes of Wrath frontman Kevin Kane on second guitar.

The Cafe Cleopatra show was a mix of indie types, including Toronto post punks Frigs (dark and commanding, they were good), melodic garage rocker Michael Rault, and duo Tasseomancy who were playing songs from their forthcoming LP Do Easy live for the first time. The gentle, ethereal nature of the songs (owing more than a little to Cocteau Twins) was maybe a little too subdued for the chatty, schmoozy crowd but twin sisters Sari and Romy Lightman nailed the harmonies.

You can catch Tasseomancy in Brooklyn on November 30 at Sunnyvale with Air Waves, Gingerlys, and Fieldings (tickets). The Cafe Cleopatra show went very late; I left after Tasseomancy, and did not see "genderless provocateur" Bernardino Femminelli (who will play the BV showcase tonight) or Greys whose start time was 1:45 AM.

Meanwhile across the street at Club Soda it was a lineup of Franco-Canadian hiphop, headlined by Busty and the Bass, a brass-fueled combo who clearly have a big Montreal fanbase and had the place bouncing. (Not really for me, though.) Also on the bill: Brown, featuring Dead Obies rapper Snail Kid, his brother Jam and their Jamaican father on guitar and vocal hooks (fun even if I couldn't understand a word); and opening duo Heartstreets.

Tonight, M for Montreal expands to a whole bunch of different venues and options, including the aforementioned BrooklynVegan showcase at Casa Del Popolo with Bernardino Femminelli, plus Cindy Lee (ex Women), Toronto post punks New Fries, and Montreal’s Helena Deland. If you're in town, hope to see you there.

Read about M for Montreal day 1 HERE with coverage of the rest of the fest on the way.

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