Photo by John Londono

Marie Davidson says goodbye to club life

The Montreal synth waver will host a last late-night hurrah as part of the Red Bull Music Festival.

This article was originally conceived as a congratulatory message to Marie Davidson on her Polaris Music Prize 2019 win.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

Don’t get me wrong: Toronto rapper Haviah Mighty is a well-deserved winner. She’s also performing at POP Montreal next week at Piccolo Rialto Sept. 27, and you should go to that. But I also can’t help it if I root a little extra for the hometown heroes sometimes, and Marie Davidson’s breakthrough release Working Class Woman appeared primed to win one not only for her city, but also for electronic music and a certain kind of Montreal nightlife.

But making the shortlist is still an accomplishment, and Davidson’s profile has only increased throughout the year (whether that has a lot to do with the Polaris nom is up for debate), which is why her show this Friday, Sept. 20 is all the more surprising. Called Save the Last Dance for Me, the late night party at SAT is a send-off to Davidson as a late-night club artist.

“I’ve been talking about it for a while and the day has come for me to depart from the club scene to explore new horizons. It’s with a lot of emotions that I present to you my last party playing live hardware club music which will take place in my hometown, Montreal,” Davidson said on Instagram.

Depending on how you look at things, Working Class Woman represents either the end of an era for Davidson or the start of a new one. Her last couple of solo albums (to say nothing of her lauded releases with Essaie Pas) have solidified her rep internationally with a sonic template of mechanical, unflinching beats and no-nonsense spoken word passages. There’s no one out there who does it like Davidson, and after doing it locally for so long (she was with les Momies de Palerme on Constellation Records even before her solo rise), it seemed like only now she was getting the accolades she deserved.

But then again, there are some pop elements on Working Class Woman — “So Right” especially, and the repeatable hook on “Work It” — that suggest Davidson has a lot to give to popular music in the 9-to-5 realm, should that be where she’s headed next. Without the sleepless nights on dark dancefloors and sugary energy boosting drinks, sky’s the limit.

Her final audiovisual show will feature a slew of guests: Tiger & Woods co-founder Marco Passarani, Depth Charge, Afrodeutsche, Solitary Dancer, Feu St-Antoine (her Essaie Pas partner) and Kara-Lis Coverdale.

Save the Last Dance for Me is one of four events as part of this year’s Red Bull Music Festival stop in our fair city. The others:

On Wednesday, Sept. 18, Apt 200 gang Saintwoods and Lou Phelps are gathering some of their local faves for a showcase at Ausgang Plaza. Rappers Kris the $pirit and KGoon, singer/rappers DARY and Zeina as well as reggaeton artist Isabella Lovestory.

On Sept. 21, the Moonshine Collective will be doing their nocturnal thing at le Monastère. In addition to usual suspects Pierre Kwenders and Bonbon Kojak, violinist Sudan Archives will be making her Montreal debut.

And finally, on Sept. 23, noted 2018 Polaris Music Prize shortlister Hubert Lenoir will be taking over 2110 St-Dominique to present Night School. Prepare to be surprised. ■

For more information and tickets, visit the Red Bull Music Festival website.