Mercury Rev

Mercury Rev

The biggest festival in town presents two can’t-miss gigs this weekend

Johnson is in shock (ie. a good mood) as he lists the top synth-pop, psych, metal, punk, indie rock and outside-pop shows of the week — two of them are part of the Jazz Fest!

As I type out this little missive to you rock-ravaged heathens, I’m enjoying a nice cold one on my back balcony and hoping summer never ends. Give me your heat waves and throngs of pedestrian tourists and I won’t give toss ’cause summer in our fair burg is unbeatable. All of this “Hurray for everything” shit is a tad uncharacteristic of ol’ Johnson, I know, but this column is full of curveballs.

Anybody who has peeped this smidgen of bandwidth on occasion may have noticed that I’m not a real big fan of the Jazz Fest, which is currently clogging our downtown as you read this. So I’m as shocked as anybody that somebody with a vision actually snuck into their booking camp and gave us Voivod last week — and now there are two must-see shows happening this week. Read on shrimpkins and find out what I’m spillin’ all this hullabaloo about cause this whole world has gone topsy-turvy.

Thursday: If you have a hankering for some dance synth pop that wouldn’t be too removed from the New Romanticism of early ’80s, you can make it down to Ye Olde Casa for Beantown’s House of Harm with Taylor Hoodlum Stevenson’s new jammer Mickey Danger and Persons Unknown opening up the night. 4873 St-Laurent, 8 p.m., $5

Friday: For a great start to your weekend, head over to Marché des Possibles as the fine people from Analogue Addiction and Distorsion fest have it locked down: DJ Michael Rault will be spinning the discs ahead of live performances by Efy Hecks, Bodywash and Absolutely Free, and coincidentally the show is actually absolutely free. Grub and drinks are available, too (cash bar). 5635 St-Dominique, 4 p.m., free

If you’re in the mood for some straight-up molten metal, you’ll want to darken the door of Katacombes for Ritual Master, Dizastra, Warpit and Beyond All Boundaries. 1635 St-Laurent, 9:30 p.m., $10

The Jazz Fest serves up a 1-2 combination punch this weekend, starting off with Aussie singer/songwriter and Kurt Vile collaborator Courtney Barnett at MTelus. This also proves to be a big gig for the latest ballyhooed local band, Pottery, who open up the night. 59 Ste-Catherine E., 8:30 p.m., $54

Local punk brats Gutser are actually four months late on their fifth year anniversary but better late than never when they take over the venue side of Turbo with their buds Mooch and Meh in tow. 2040 St-Denis, 7 p.m., $9

Saturday: If the Ritual Master show got you hot under the collar and you want to fill your entire weekend full of metal you can march down to Turbo Haüs and catch Incandescence, Morbid Prototype, Issfenn and the Listener. 2040 St-Denis, 7:30 p.m., $14/$17

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the fuzzy psych-out jams of A Devil’s Din, here’s your chance: they’ll be thinning yer skin at l’Esco with their budz Loon Choir. 4461 St-Denis. 8:30 p.m., $11.06/$15

Here’s my big pick of the week, and I’m as shocked as anybody that it’s part of the Jazz Fest. If you ever wanted to know how “outside” pop music can get, you should shove yer Kid A rekkid up yer tailpipe and dig back to 1998 to check out Mercury Rev’s masterstroke, Deserter Songs. That jammer more than stands up solid today and if it doesn’t knock you on your ass, you probably liked Vampire Weekend at one point in yer measly little life. 305 Ste-Catherine W., 10 p.m., $40

If you’re looking for a bit more punk rock heft and want to help support the amazing Varning Festival, make tracks to Katacombes for their third benefit and catch Mexico’s Disterror, Mueco, Faze and Mexico City’s Charged SS. You can also show up early at 4 for the record swap and BBQ on the terrasse. 1635 St-Laurent, 4 p.m., $10

Current Obsession: NRBQ, Scraps