Jessica Moss

Top picks for the two music festivals happening in Montreal this week

POP Montreal and A Varning From Montreal are all heart and their programming proves it.

Alrighty, better buckle up fuckos because this weekend’s got not one but two of the best festivals this city has ever produced. (I would throw the Suoni per il Popolo festival in there as well but you get the gist.) With their first night already done, POP Montreal fest keeps poppin’ through the weekend and despite showing great growth over the years has never lost sight of their grassroots, avoiding all of the failings of fests that happen down the 401. Good on ya POPpers.

The other fest that completely flies under the radar of normies is A Varning From Montreal, a festival featuring punk and hardcore bands from Japan, Russia, Mexico and most other places where real punk rock proliferates. Varning, now in its in its 12th edition, starts tonight and runs over the weekend at Katacombes — it will definitely get messy. Organizers of both POP and Varning are all heart and are true music fans, which should make us feel lucky and get our tickers pumpin’ just a little bit more.


First, some non-POP and Varning gigs

Thursday: Uber grump Sergio and Turbo Haus staff have a soft opening tonight at their new digs and promise to slap a grin on yer sloppy mug. Exciting!!! 2040 St-Denis, 7 p.m., free

Saturday: Yep it’s true rock isn’t dead but most of it tends to just ghost walk through the same ol’ classic rock claptrap. If you are dying to see some vital rock you can check out Reignwolf with Bones Owens at l’Astral. 305 Ste-Catherine W., 8:30 p.m., $23—$24.75


A Varning From Montreal

Thursday: If you don’t already have tickets this might be a hard one as the nights routinely sell out as non locals usually grip all the tix but there is always a handful released at the door so bon chance. Starting tonight you can catch Haram, Phane, Blood Suckers, Bombers, Flower, Gazm, Dell and No War. Katacombes (1635 St-Laurent), 6 p.m., price unlisted

Friday: The matinee starts with Porveniro Scuro, Parasytes and Unwanted Noise. Stick around or the BBQ and flea market before things keep raging with the nighttime show featuring Fatum, System Fucker, Languid, Apara, Zygone, Last Agony, Zymotic and Collapsed. Casa del Popolo (1635 St-Laurent), 1:30 p.m., $10

Saturday: Varning puts the boot in with a matinee featuring Classed, Beton Arme, Conscripts and Force Majeure before the night show starts with Dissekerad, Sunshine Ward, Rat Cage, Ambush, Charged SS, Innocent, Fragment CPU Rave and then you can ask a punk to get the GPS points on the after show with Blockade and Ultrarat. Katacombes (1635 St-Laurent), 1:30 p.m., $10


My Pop picks

Thursday: For a night of some ambient jams you can catch Venetian Snares with a personal friend of Bono’s, Daniel Lanois. Théâtre Rialto (5723 Parc), 7:45 p.m., $30

For an even better night of ambient loopiness you can make it to Breakglass Studios for their Ambient et Electroniques nights, which run nightly through the rest of POP. Tonight features the amazing Jessica Moss with Suuns dude Ben Shemie and a jam-out from a Young Galaxian and a couple o’ Besnard Lakers under their droney nu name Light Conductor. 7250 Clark, 7 p.m., $12/$15

Jessica Moss

Wolf Parade begin their POP residency at Sala and also invite you to their afterparty on Sunday at la Sotterenea downstairs. 4848 St-Laurent, 9 p.m., $30

Ex-Spaceshit King Khan and His Shrines at Piccolo Rialto with Gabrielle Cohen and Janette King could prove to be one of the best shows of POP could be. 5719 Parc, 11 p.m., $20

Friday: The Ambiant et électronique keeps kicking with Sam Shalabi, Welcome in De Blaak and Parker Shper. 7250 Clark, 7p.m., $12-15

Bill Callahan is easily one of the most anticipated shows at POP but if you didn’t grab tickets you fugged up as it is sold out. Théâtre Rialto (5723 Parc), 8 p.m., $30, SOLD OUT

If you missed Jessica Moss on Thursday night you can catch her tonight with Organ Mood but you will have to ask a bespectacled, messenger bag wearing nerd to find out where the gig is. Centre culturel et communautaire Henri-Lemieux (7644 Édouard), 8 p.m., free

Saturday: Unfortunately rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson was slotted to play with Filly and the Flops at Fairmount but the gig is cancelled. Total bummer as Jackson is a true legend.

If you can make it east down Mont-Royal to get to Vinyl Chope you will be rewarded with the crooning of Paul Jacobs with the heavy support of Birds of Paradise. (1562 Mont-Royal E), 9 p.m., $10

Easily the most fun nights of POP will be Jonathan Toubin’s fucking awesome New York Night Train Soul Clap and Dance Off. Before you shake it like a bowl of soup you can also catch Light Bulb Alley. This all goes down at le Ritz. 179 Jean-Talon W., 10 p.m., $10

If you want to experience a truly weird night that smells like bleach you can catch U.S. Girls at Cinema l’Amour. Wear a rain slicker!!! (4015 St-Laurent), 10:30 p.m., $20

Sunday: The perfect capper to POP would be Joe Grass’s solo pedal steel show at Breakglass. This will be sublime. 7250 Clark, 3 p.m., $12

Current Obsession: Discharge, Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing