Taverne Tour and Montreal Madhouse are here to snap us out of hibernation

February may have us within its firm, cold grip, but a couple of upcoming festivals will help turn up the heat.

Now that February has us within its firm, cold grip, there are a couple of festivals happening this month to help turn up the heat. Much like January, this month is hardly bursting at the seams with gigs but if you have a penchant for post-punk and full-frontal punk fucking rock, you will have more than enough to tide you over for the next little while. 

First up is the Taverne Tour, which has shown exponential growth in the remarkably short time they’ve been producing the fest. The folks behind Mothland originally conceived the fest to put down stakes exclusively near the corner of St-Denis and Mont-Royal so everything is in stumbling distance. But their expanded curation over the past few editions (pandemic years aside) has included St-Laurent Blvd. venues Casa del Popolo, la Sala Rossa and the Diving Bell, along with la Tulipe further east.

If you’d like to make up your own itinerary, Taverne Tour will be happening from Feb. 9th through the 11th, and you can hit up their website to see the complete lineup and venues that are participating. Here’s some of my big picks, but don’t be afraid to just take a chance on a band you haven’t heard yet. 

Thursday, Feb. 9

Of Montreal is an easy choice here. They’ll be laying it down at la Tulipe with Crasher. These legends of chopped and fucked up pop continue to thrill and surprise, proving that the nineties V-neck sweater club Elephant 6 still can’t be fucked with.  4530 Papineau, 8 p.m., $34.99

As cool as Of Montreal playing in one of the best venues in the city is, though, I will have to give the nod to local Kraut rockers and motorik messiahs Yoo Doo Right, who better bring their A game as the middle slot is taken up by one of my fave dronesters, thisquietarmy, who will join forces with total sweetheart Away from Voivod. Making this gig at le Ministère mandatory to show up at door time is Gloin. 4521 St-Laurent, 9 p.m., $19.16

Friday, Feb. 10

The easy big giggers here — the King Khan and BBQ Show with Miranda and the Beat at le Ministère and Choses Sauvage at l’Esco — are both sold out, so better peep the Taverne Tour site and get ready to Uber it up. 

Saturday, Feb. 11

Last winter, the indie rock community was shaken up by the sudden passing of Sadies guitarist Dallas Good, so to hear that remaining members and brothers in arms are continuing to hold the torch as being one of the best live Canadian bands to ever stomp the pines is nothing short of amazing. If you want to really see a band playing for keeps with true spirit and plenty of heart, make it down to Sala and thank whatever you pray to that they are still here. 4848 St-Laurent, 9 p.m., $26.22

Finally, if you want two nights of straight-up punk fucking rock, you can head down to the Montreal Madhouse fest, which is holding Foufounes captive for the weekend of Feb. 17th and 18th. There are a ton of bands, but make sure you see the night Faze (known to close personal friends as “that trombone band”) is headlining as they are probably one the best bands happening in the city, punk or otherwise. Think Beantown’s Hoax in their mid-tempo /  downstrokes prime with treated vocals that sound more like Hawkwind and Lee Scratch Perry duking it out in a blender than your typical stubbed-toe angst. Just undeniably fucking great. 

Current Obsession: Nadja, Luminous Rot

Luminous Rot by Nadja

This article was originally published in the February 2023 issue of Cult MTL.

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