Pop Montreal day 3

Between David Byrne and St. Vincent at Eglise St-Jean Baptiste, rival rock operas in Mile End, major hip hop and post-punk gigs and more awesomeness at Breakglass Studios, there was so much to choose from last night. Here’s what Lorraine Carpenter, Erik Leijon and Darcy MacDonald got up to.

Photo by Susan Moss

Between David Byrne and St. Vincent at the stunning Église St-Jean Baptiste, rival rock operas in Mile End, major hip hop and post-punk gigs and more awesomeness at Breakglass Studios (Besnard Lakes!), there was so much to choose from last night. Here’s what Lorraine Carpenter, Erik Leijon and Darcy MacDonald got up to.

Peaches and Chilly Gonzales
Photo by Susan Moss

Peaches Christ Superstar

I’ve never seen Jesus Christ Superstar, and I never will. It’s sacrilege, not to Christianity (not in my eyes anyway), but to musicals. I’ve always felt that anything Andrew Lloyd Webber had a hand in was garbage. That said, even though the music and lyrics were ridiculous, Peaches and Chilly Gonzales killed it last night. Peaches, clad in a half-nude, half-glimmering silver onesie, sang every role (Jesus, Mary Magdalene, apostles, Romans etc), selling it with vocal and acting skills we’ve never properly heard or witnessed on her records or in her three-minute music videos. Gonzales played every note on piano, offering a simple but stellar arrangement far superior to the garish original. The piece ended with her whipping a monitor as the giggly crowd yelled “Crucify him!”, being propped on an invisible cross and, presumably, ascending to the heavens. Or wherever Jesus went for a few days there. It’s been a while since I read the book. (Btw, Chilly Gonzales plays Olympia tonight at 9 p.m.) (LC)


Business didn’t really pick up vis à vis the Lachine native’s laptop set until he played the Kanye West remix of Chief Keef’s “Don’t Like.” Otherwise, Lunice’s set was a primer on the party-starting capabilities of the TNGHT EP, his recently released instrumental album with Scottish producer Hudson Mohawke. The only other moments that came close to competing with the likes of “Higher Ground” were when Lunice’s laptop and table could not contain him and his gesticulating anymore. He did a fair bit of running from one end of the stage to another, mouthing song lyrics, but watching Lunice enjoy himself is as much a part of his live set as the music itself. The crowd was modest and anticipation for the Based One was palpable, but in terms of yeoman’s work opening for a Lil B crowd, Lunice’s effort was commendable. He also ended the set with a down-pitched “2 Become 1” — yes, the Spice Girls song. (EL)

A Tribe Called Red

The slippery church floor allowed for some pretty slick dance moves. It should also be noted that I tried taking a swig of Beefeater and got some in my eye, so most of the Ottawa trio’s set was viewed with one eye closed and my feet sliding beyond my control. A Tribe Called Red have brought the Electric Pow Wow express to Montreal a few times this year, and this set wasn’t all that different from previous ones. That being said, what they do is utterly unique, mixing Native culture with hip hop and dancehall (and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” for good measure), supported by visual projections that lampoon the most egregious of Native stereotypes in film and television. Simply put, A Tribe Called Red are Canada’s premier dance music production team. (EL)

Lil B
Photo by Walmor Santos

Lil B

Frankly, I went into this show with a mildly curious chip on my shoulder, at best. I don’t suffer no rap oddballs unless they wear metal masks or sing “Ms. Fat Booty.”
So when I skedaddled my way to the front of the crowd on some guerrilla photog steez, I wasn’t really expecting to end up worshipping at a hip hop church. Really and truly, hundreds of hyped-up Based apostles were like, speakin’ in tongues, moshin’ and swayin’ and losing their shit unto rap’s Neal Cassady.
Lil B as a performer, right now, is up on it. Meandering through a near two-hour selection of jawns that made the gawkers gawk and the quakers quake, I just couldn’t get over how righteous the dude actually came off yelling “Swag! Swag! Swag!” over and over, time after time. And I lost the chip. He rap nice.
Granted, that was all about his presence, which I am still not certain is entirely sustainable. No doubt in my mind the Based God is a little disconnected from this Earthly realm, but apparently so is his flock. Amen? (DM)

R.A. the Rugged Man
Photo by Walmor Santos

Onyx, R.A. the Rugged Man

I rolled into night two of the Pop-affiliated Icon 2012 festival right in time to see an old fave, NYC’s R.A. the Rugged Man, take a jammed-to-the-tits Belmont and flip it agent orange on us, with prepubescent hype man Stevie the Rugged Kid on the assist. It’s not even like that shit is just cute, kid is actually like…rugged.
Queens’ maddest faces Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz came out hard — as in, when I hustled my way up front to greet my adolescence, the first thing I felt was Fredro’s shoe upside my head as he dove into the crowd.
Getting crushed against the stage in their Metallica-esque pit with your hands up in the air means actually bumpin’ fists with hip hop history. From Pac to Big to JMJ and well beyond, Onyx been mad affiliated, mad influential and, undeniably, mad iconic. Set-closing jock-rock gem “Slam” even came dedicated to Kurt Cobain, and I believe the term “set it all off” was employed. Never have so many angry people grinned so wide. Then we all beat the shit out of each other. Amen! (DM) ■

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