Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pop Montreal - Saturday


Saturday night I found myself in one of the more obscure venues I have ever been to, and it easily turned into the best experience of the weekend.  Leave it to Dan Deacon to choose a venue, Eastern Bloc, miles away from any other Pop Montreal venue, and resembling nothing more than an abandoned warehouse, to stage his experimental and unique approach to live music.  Deacon, and nearly 25 other musicians, recently set out on a North American tour to try out a new approach to live music known as the 'Baltimore round robin' tour. They scheduled a stop for Pop Montreal, and I made sure to make it there early to check out how this whole tour was going to go down. What I found was interesting and a lot of fucking fun.

The show worked as a huge party, bringing into question and challenging the traditional relationship between artist and audience. All of the artists set up their gear around the perimeter of the venue, with the audience in the middle. Each artist played one of their songs and the spotlight then moved onto another artist with no break in between.  I don't know if it was because I had chugged half a bottle of wine on the walk to the show, but watching the crowd move from band to band, genre to genre, enjoying vastly different styles of music was almost overwhelming.  It is definitely an interesting way to see music, and it is something that I would like to revisit again in the near future.  It would even be interesting to see a whole festival set up like this, although I don't know how realistic that would be.  But definitely something to think about.  Who knows, if this tour ends up being a success, which I'm sure it will, maybe Deacon will curate a festival in his hometown Baltimore centered around the round robin concept.

The round robin show is usually a two night event, but I only got to check out the first night which featured Beach House, Jana Hunter, Wzt Hearts, Nautical Almanac, Lexie Mountain Boys, Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez, Ed Schrader, Teeth Mountain, Santa Dads, and Creepers.  Beach House, Jana Hunter, Teeth Mountain and Santa Dads were highlights.  As well, the cheap mix drinks and beers were also a pleasant surprise.  Can you believe that you could get 5 drinks for $20? Unbelievable.

Pitchfork hype finally reared its ugly head on Saturday night as the Dodos show was completely sold out when I got there.  I actually can't believe it took all the way until Saturday for this to happen.  If it wasn't for the overwhelmingly great experience of the round robin show I would have been greatly disappointed.  Instead, I walked home satisfied, had a slice of pizza and drifted into a drunken slumber. 

Pretty great weekend.

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