M for Montreal music festival concerts

Your guide to M for Montreal, presenting 100 acts in its 2022 Marathon Nov. 16 to 19

“Maybe you want to go to a few shows but have no idea where to start. Maybe you just like being told what to do. Well, here’s a list of the shows you’d be a fool not to check out.”

It’s November in Montreal and that means it’s soon time for one of the most culturally important music events of the year: the 17th edition of M for Montreal, a chance for music lovers, promoters, label reps and other industry people to see what burgeoning music acts in this city and (in some cases) other parts of the world have to offer.

From Nov. 16 to 19, over 100 acts will be performing in the public portion of the festival — which is now called M pour Marathon, for good reason. Maybe you want to go to a few shows but have no idea where to start. Maybe you just like being told what to do. Worry not, dear reader, because we made a list of the shows you’d be a fool not to at least check out. And because we love telling people what to do, we made this list by the day, even by the hour. Follow it to a tee, for this is your M for Montreal bible. Or don’t — I’m not your dad. 

Wednesday, Nov. 16

8–11 p.m. Fernie, dee holt, Sara-Danielle and more

Wednesday is probably the easiest day to see a bunch of shows because they’re expertly spaced out (thanks festival programmers). Start it off him some R&B vibes at le Belmont with dee holt, Odreii, and Albert Dalton. There will be a bit of hip hop, Caribbean pop and grooving rhythms so put on your dancing shoes. 

At 11 p.m., I’m conflicted because Fernie is the main act at le Belmont with his fantastic blend of melodic and ‘90s R&B, but it would be a shame to not see a bit of Sara-Danielle’s ginger soul flair down at Quai des Brumes. I’d say if you’re having an early one on Wednesday, stay for Fernie, but if you plan on seeing more, check out Sara-Danielle since her set is right next door to l’Escogriffe. 

11:45 p.m. Bronswick and Super Plage

It’s going to be a dance party at l’Escogriffe as the duo Bronswick play some enchanting electro pop mixed with some Francophone new wave. Finishing off the night is Super Plage, who recently slayed their set at FME in Rouyn-Noranda. They’re like a smaller version of a European discotheque that works in some very chill beat house music.

Thursday, Nov. 17

8–10 p.m-ish Soran & Clay and Friends and ???

Your guide to M for Montreal 2022

Start off the night right with some Soran at Club Soda. His vibe is laid back bedroom pop, but some of the mixing of his music is really experimental, jumping from reggae beats to new wave indie. There’s also apparently a surprise artist in between Soran’s set and Clay and Friends, which is hip hop smashed with some soul and funk. I’d stay for a bit of that. 

10:20 p.m.–midnight Kizzy Crawford, C’est Karma, Balaklava Blues, Gus Englehorn

You could head over to the closing of Kizzy Crawford opening the show at Casa del Popolo. She’s psychedelic Welsh jazz pop. I don’t fully understand it, probably because it’s sung in a different language, but hey, we all need new experiences. C’est Karma is also pretty new to the music world, but her singer-songwriter electro pop is the right dose of endorphins you need. 

If you’re looking for something more rock ‘n’ roll, sweaty and weird, check out Gus Englehorn at Café Cléopâtre at 10:45 p.m. 

Then we got Balaklava Blues at 11:30 p.m. at Casa del Popolo, which is one of the more interesting bands coming to M for Montreal. They blend EDM and trance with ancient Ukrainian folk songs. And with the carnage taking place in Ukraine right now, their show is also about giving a huge middle finger to Putin, so that’s a plus. There’s also a significant multimedia aspect to their show so it will be interesting to see that go down in the Casa space. 

12:15 a.m. Allô Fantôme

If you’re still not sated after Balaklava Blues then Montreal’s indie art glam rock supergroup Allô Fantôme (made up of members of Efy Hecks, Blood Skin Atopic and Mort Rose) will be closing out la Sala Rossa across the street. They’re kind of like francophone Father John Misty meets T-Rex. Remember 1970? Me neither, but you will. 

1–3 a.m.

If you’re still praying for more jams, there is a crazy after-dance-party at le Système brought by the good people (technically one person) at the Hot Tramp label. Local indie emo alt-pop songstress Maryze will be playing a DJ set.

Friday, Nov. 18 

4 p.m. Van Horne Skate Park Show w/ Lydia Képinski and others

Your guide to M for Montreal 2022

I can’t really say exactly what to expect from the free Van Horne Skate Park show. All I know is Virgine B, Lydia Képinski and Jesse Mac Cormack are scheduled to play so there will be some tasty French indie pop jams. There are apparently five more “secret” artists who will also play the two stages and there will be food trucks, Fugazzi Pizza and ramen. Hopefully the weather holds up, but hey, you’ll be under a bridge. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to the Vans Warped Tour (RIP) in Quebec. Not sure when this will wrap up, but the next big event is going to be after 9pm anyways, so you’ll have time to lick your wounds before going out for more music. 

10 p.m.– 1 a.m. M for Mothland (Absolutely Free, Crasher, Grim Streaker, Gloin, PRIORS) + Visuals/Projections by Anthony Piazza

Here’s where my bias will come out because I love post-punk, psych rock and experimental music that makes your head spin. You must check out this Mothland label showcase at la Sala Rossa. Up first, we got Crasher, romantic synth punk with a fiery edge, Absolutely Free, which is avant-garde indie synthwave, and Grim Streaker, which could be described as sarcastic-tinged post-punk noise. Yes I know that’s a lot of genres and adjectives smashed together, but it’s my job. Just go witness these bands live and you’ll be in the know. 

To end the show, we got Gloin, who have a terrifyingly good show with strobes and a metric shit ton of fog. It’s going to be disorienting, loud and blissful — like staring into the sun next to a construction site. Closing the show is PRIORS, whose brand of psych rock is all about debauchery. Oh and there are going to be some very trippy and artistic stage choices and projections by the man with the camera, Anthony Piazza.

You could honestly spend all of Friday night at this showcase and leave content. 

10:30–11:30 p.m. Slow Down Molasses, Ponteix, and Solipsisme 

But it wouldn’t be fair to not mention the Saskatchewan psych/indie pop showcase going down at Quai des Brumes at the same time as the Mothland showcase. If only we could clone ourselves! There’s also a great show going on at Turbo Haüs, led by Québécois psych angels, Solipsisme. Bring your well-pressed shirts and kaleidoscopes. 

1–3 a.m. 

If you have any synapses left, there’s a super cool DJ after after party on at the SAT, which sounds like it will have some Latin electronic flair. Don’t stare too long at the bright lights.

Saturday, Nov. 19

5–9 p.m. Shaina Hayes + Laura Niquay 

Shaina Hayes makes some of the most gorgeous, atmospheric folk you’ve heard in a while. She’s opening the Quai des Brumes night with some songs to melt your soul. If you can make it to Club Soda (or you start your day after 5 p.m., which I wouldn’t blame you for during this Marathon), make sure to check out Laura Niquay for some Indigenous indie folk pop. She got robbed at the Polaris Prize awards back in 2021, so make sure you show your support. 

It then gets a bit more French at Club Soda with LUMIÈRE, a solo project of a member of Bon Enfant, who close out the show. It’s going to be a Québécois rock ‘n’ roll party. 

10–11:45 p.m. Kamikaze Nurse, Sunglaciers and ???

Need some sepia-tinted shoegaze? Look no further than Kamikaze Nurse, which is like the Cranberries if they took more psychedelics. After that are icy post-punks Sunglaciers, who had one of the best albums of the year with Subterreanea. After that there is another surprise artist. I bet it’s Oasis, but you’ll have to find out for yourself. Nah it’s probably Grimes.

For more on the M for Montreal 2022 Marathon lineup and schedule, and to buy passes or tickets for individual shows, please visit the festival’s website.

For more Montreal music coverage, please visit the Music section.