Gigs broadcast for the poor, lazy & remote

If you dug Couchella, Boiler Room TV invites you to party with hipsters around the world — and now even here in Montreal — from the comfort of home. Here’s how last night’s local debut went over.

Purity Ring’s Corrin Roddick (left), DJ at last night’s local debut of Boiler Room TV

Free live-music webcasting site Boiler Room made its Montreal debut yesterday evening, giving the world an opportunity to watch in real-time a stylized approximation of a Mile End afterhours loft party, albeit during primetime. Turns out Montreal revellers are a pretty entertaining bunch to watch in their natural environment.

I had the opportunity to take in the event, which took place in a small second floor loft on St-Laurent just below Bernard, both in the flesh (for Grown Folk, Doldrums, CFCF and D’Eon) and from the comfort of my abode (Purity Ring’s Corin Roddick doing a DJ set). In both cases, people were encouraged to chat with others using Facebook/Twitter.

The location was kept a secret and the guestlist was invite-only, continuing the site’s M.O. of keeping the events small and exclusive. Based originally in London, and now also in New York, Berlin and Los Angeles, Montreal’s inclusion is tacit acknowledgement of our reputation as a solid party town with homegrown acts worth checking out.

So did Boiler Room capture the essence of Montreal, or did it merely airlift its own mindset onto a new neighbourhood? Local organizer/man on the ground Seb Diamond ensured that Montreal remained front and centre, as only local acts, both live and DJ, were booked. Much like how Montreal loft parties mash up genres liberally, D’Eon’s synthy carillons seemed out of place yet felt like a necessary inclusion in terms of authenticity.

Besides the early hour (it started at 7 p.m. and was done before midnight), the night differed from a typical party in that there was an open bar with speciality Red Bull (is Blue Red Bull special?), and the cameraman was omnipresent. Some attendees were intent on getting screentime, and while the camera guy was focused mainly on the performers, he did walk around between sets.

Host Tommy Kruise moved things along in English, and at one point shouted out Celine Dion (or perhaps the person wearing the Celine Dion t-shirt). During our brief chat, he seemed none too worried about repercussions concerning his now infamous night on the town.

Ultimately, Boiler Room’s first Montreal foray wasn’t all that different from a regular party powered by an ad-hoc sound system, which was precisely the point. Outsiders, or simply those who like good music but not the crowds, can now watch all the action without leaving their papasans. Those who were there can take pride in knowing their recreational activities are both marketable and worth capturing. ■

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