Teke::teke. Photo by Andi State

M for Montreal is the place to be this week

Great bands, free shows, tools for emerging artists — just a few reasons to attend the last music fest of 2019.

The 14th annual music conference and festival known as M for Montreal is happening from Nov. 20 to 23, and as always its line-up of over 200 bands representing a range of popular genres is sure to satisfy followers of the local scene and music lovers at large.

This year’s edition holds plenty of incentives to dig into the program and come out into the cold for one last festival hurrah before we all hibernate for a bit — including some new features, old favourites and acts that you’ve just got to catch.

Stellar local bands

Aside from Corridor (interviewed here), M4M 2019 is stacked with some of the most exciting Montreal acts (though it’s not strictly about local bands). Highlights range from hip hop artist Naya Ali and pop act Lydia Képinski on the same bill (la Sala Rossa, Nov. 20) to pop singer-songwriter Soran playing with hip hop/electro-soul Busty & the Bass (SAT, Nov. 21), recent SOCAN prize-winner Tizzo playing a late-night set at le Belmont (Nov. 22) and Queb rap mainstay Maybe Watson playing a pair of gigs at Club Soda (Nov. 23) to Paupière, Russell Louder and Radiant Baby laying several shades of electro-pop on Casa del Popolo (Nov. 23).

Free shows

Lydia Képinski

Did we mention that some M shows are free? You can catch pop/alt acts Laurence-Anne and Ada Lea at Turbo Haüs (albeit in the afternoon, on Nov. 21) and what promises to be a sick party that same night at Café Cléopâtre (yes, the strip club, on the second floor) with Wake Island, Mind Bath, TEKE::TEKE, N0V3L, Bodywash and Antony Carle, a three-venue showcase of 11 international acts from Iceland, Ireland and France (Casa del Popolo, la Sala Rossa and la Sotterenea, Nov. 22) and electronic/hip hop acts LIA, Ragers and Nana Zen playing Cinémathèque Québécoise in conjunction with the RIDM documentary festival, indie rock/hip hop/mish-mash acts Ponteix, Clay and Friends and Foreign Diplomats at l’Escogriffe (Nov. 23) and alt folkies Post-Script, Louis Venne and Mehdi Cayenne at Quai des Brumes (Nov. 23).

Artist Lab

Also free (and brand new at M this year) is the Artist Lab, a series of meetings with representatives of funding agencies (including FACTOR), talks by music biz professionals (Third Side Music), technology demonstrations (beat-making with High Klassified), panels and more. 160 St-Viateur W., Friday, Nov. 22, 1 p.m., free, online registration required for some activities

M for Montreal runs from Wednesday, Nov. 2023. Go to the festival’s website for the full program and ticket details.