It was Friday morning in Austin, Texass [sic], the start of a big day for me: I’d booked four events that I was also hosting. I personally had a hand in over a dozen showcases or parties at SXSW, but this day was all M for Montreal. We literally owned Red River Street from noon to 2 a.m. This isn’t easy after sleeping only a couple hours and constantly pissing Lone Star beer and dirty whiskey.
Before I start going on about my gigs, I’d like to take the time to give you all a festival tip on saving money. The secret is: rubber bands. They may be as dirty as every gutter in North America, but they are a magical tool (for males only). Instead of buying overpriced festival beer, wrap a rubber band around your dong a couple times and let the drinking begin. Aside from saving cash, you’ll be drunk all day and you don’t have to wait in massive festivals lines to drain your lizard. Warning: Just remember, when removing the rubber band, to do it in the shower with the water running. You might need ointment. GO TO THE HOSPITAL IF YOUR WANG IS PURPLE FOR MORE THAN TWO DAYS!
Okay, now let’s get back to my M for Massive Montreal day in Austin Texas.
Brooklyn Vegan & M for Montreal Day Party @ Old Emo’s
We’ve been hosting parties with my dogs at BV since 2010, and re-creating those moments ever since. This year was free nachos, coconut water and JAMESON!!
Montrealers Half Moon Run opened up the party and won over a crowd that barely knew them. They played a new song that was just bursting with maturity (check out SXSW round one for more on HMR). Next was a band called TOY from the U.K. I caught the singer staring right at me before the show and kept asking myself who that freak was. He looked like the British version of Conor Oberst on heroin with too much make-up. Turns out, this band kicked my ass. I only heard the record before, but seeing them live was a different story. Shoegaze or psychedelic, whatever stupid name you call it, it’s fucking awesome. It’s one of those bands that sound better with your eyes closed. After googling them, I saw they were butt-buddies with the Horrors, and that’s pretty legit.
Up next were our boys Diamond Rings. Montreal’s Graham and Greg of Think About Life were on stage and that made me feel right at home. That was when I got front row and started rubbing up against the speaker and thrusting my pelvic area back and forth into the air. That what DR does to me. I did the same to Bobby Brown back in da gay.
I missed Shout Out Louds and Akron/Family ‘cause I had to run next door to Swan Dive to check in on another party I organized. Standing by the bar were a few dear friends, legends in my world — a band called the Authorities, from my hometown of Stockton, CA. These guys opened up for all the great punk bands of the early ’80s and they’ve had members die over some crazy shit. Let’s just say that when Stockton’s other legendary band — Pavement — were asked to curate their U.K. reunion shows in 2011, they personally asked the Authorities to open up those gigs. It was a thank you for starting the Stockton scene and it’s thanks to bands like this that molded our youth in that miserable city.
Also there was my buddy Justin Goings of one of my fav bands of all time, Mister Metaphor. We all watched Elephant Stone while abusing my free drink tickets. This band can actually make you feel like you’re riding a magic carpet while popping peyote. This effect might be their use of the sitar or their 10-min jams that take you to wonderland. The singer, Rishi, also plays in the Black Angels. He gives the most amazing hugs! You can actually feel ’em from the stage!
Up next was JBM. He’s a dude named Jesse Marchant from New York, but his roots are in Montreal. He’s very quiet and soft-spoken on stage, which didn’t mesh well with the noisy drunken jungle happening outside. I’ll have to hit this guy up again at some other dive or coffee shop in order to capture what he’s really trying to share thru his sad-sounding songs.
Back to the BV/M4MTL party
This year’s party had fewer Montreal bands, hence the M for Metal stage presented by Invisible Oranges; Voivod were supposed to play but had to bail for health issues. I had the chance to kick it with most metal bands backstage. They were the most pleasant people I’ve met at SXSW. They don’t talk much, but they sure smoked a shitload of weed in this green room. Pallbearer and Today Is the Day were the only metal bands I knew & they backed their shit up on stage.
I caught a couple songs by the Thermals. I sensed they made many people happy and lots of straight guys were hopping and dancing like females, with tightly squeezed butt-cheeks. Last was the Polyphonic Spree. Right when I thought I was about to pass out, this band got me on my knees as if the holy spirit took over the room. There were 23 members on stage sending all their good vibes and chanting their hearts out and were able to set a tone no one else was able to achieve at this festival. They had enough energy to fill up the room and the rest of our day with love and high fives. They made me cry by closing with “Lithium” by Nirvana. Beautiful and unforgettable.
M for Montreal + Arbutus Records Showcase @ Swan Dive
When I was putting this bill together, I was already going to be inviting Arbutus bands to represent Montreal but noticed they had more bands from Quebec at SXSW than any other label. It made sense to ask them to partner up and give them the credit they deserve since they have a kick ass roster including the Celine Dion of our generation, Grimes. lol ;)
We kicked off with our annual/traditional SXSW poutine party. I used to personally illegally smuggle the cheese from Quebec to Texas, but I’ve been told by the government to stop. I’ve had some scary experiences at the U.S. customs in the past but this year was stress-free. I kept a small bag of curds in my carry-on in order to keep this tradition alive (since 2007!). This year, Saputo was kind enough to hook up the cheese legally.
Mac DeMarco took the stage and this is what everyone was waiting for. Let me just say he is my new sensation and he makes my panties wet. He filled a hole that hasn’t been filled since 1999. The prince of “it” is influenced by PBR, Viceroys and his girlfriend Kiki. To break it down, he sounds like a ’90s band gone slacker, with a side of surf and garage. Very catchy and well performed. Mac made his way to the Swan Dive’s ceiling while his band covered Limp Bizkit and the Beatles. He was wasted and gave me this classy wet kiss I’ll never forget.
The next band, Majical Cloudz, not only have the Grimes’s x-lover factor but they just signed to Matador, a first for a Montreal band. Going around telling people your band is on Matador is like saying you have the biggest Z in town. On stage, the singer Devon connects with his crowd by looking straight into your eyes and into your soul. Out of all the bands at SXSW, these cats elevated me to their magical cloud and made me forget about the SXSW craziness. They were better than yoga and basically like my first glass of water after a full day of drinking nothing but brown liquids.
Pat Jordache was up next. This was all new material and all I can remember is how good Pat looked, and that scene from Lost Boys with that body builder goon playing the saxophone kept popping into my head. PJ is good for you. Especially at 4 a.m., on pain medications.
Blue Hawaii made me taste the rainbow. BH are Raph of Braids and her beat-making bf DJ Agor. This MTL duo are making lots of noise and just released a record on Arbutus that you must buy after you read this.
As my memory starts to fade into the dark, Doldrums hit the stage, and oh man, did they hit it hard. These guys are from the future, armed with tribal beats that will fry your brain. I’m convinced that the singer Airick is a guru from the sun. He shines on me and nourishes me. At times, their music might take you to judgment day, but they’ll always take you back to fairyland or whatever you call it. Everything was clear and surreal except I couldn’t feel my legs from dancing and hopping. Pitchfork said this performance had the highest percentage of dancers they’ve seen at a SXSW. That was true. Pat Jordache lifted me twice into the crowd as I unwillingly crowd-surfed and exposed my beer belly and butt crack to the packed hall. Thanks PJ, and thanks Airick!
By the end, I was being kicked out of my own show for trying to steal someone’s pants. Don’t ask me why. I was let back into the show and Braids were there to lift me from my drunkenness and bring me back to my spirits. Braids is like standing on the brink of Iceland. That’s all I gotta say.
Alt Magazine voted our showcase #1 on their top 10 shows at SXSW 2013. I personally think it was one of the best days of my life. Thank you BV, Arbutus, Swan Dive, Planet Quebec and SXSW! ■
Who is M for Mikey?