FME Preview

Photo Credit: Unknown

For the past year and a half, the simple pleasure of heading out for a night of live music was stripped out of our lives by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing us to pretend that watching our favourite bands perform online in empty venues was a viable substitute. Of course there were some excellent presentations under these extreme circumstances, like L’Escogriffe’s L'Autel 4461 series, but it just wasn’t the same. Then after months under curfew, live music began to slowly return and now, from September 2 to 5, comes the 19th edition of Festival De Musique Émergente. With its Quebec and Ontario heavy programming, it will feel like a super-charged dose to make up for all those missed nights out. CJLO’s Prince Palu (The Go-Go Radio Magic Show) will be there and here is what he is looking forward to after reading the program guide.



I cannot think of a better way to recover from the haze of the global pandemic-induced lockdown and throw myself back into the soul-cleansing world of live music, than jumping on a bus with a bunch of like-minded music fanatics and heading ten hours north to see a bunch of bands who reside in the same city that I do. While that might not make a lot of sense, having been a veteran of many CMJ and NXNE music conferences back in the day, I can tell you that getting away from all of life’s daily responsibilities and setting up camp in some hotel room far from home is the only way to properly do this. Not all of the bands that I hope to see over the four nights in Rouyn-Noranda are from Montreal, but most of them are and that is just fine by me. The way I see it is that these are the bands that I would have been heading out to see play around town had COVID-19 not gotten in the way, so this is just me making up for lost time. I also know from past experience that what you think you will see and what you actually end up seeing could be wildly different. It’s like John Lennon famously said, life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. That said, here are the bands that I am most excited to see.

September 2 

Pantayo (7:00 pm Poisson Volant)

The all-female band from Toronto combined synth-pop with the traditional music of the Philippines on their Polaris nominated debut self-titled album in 2020 and played a large part in adding colour and life in the early days of the pandemic, in both my home and on the air-waves for The Go-Go Radio Magic Show.

Drogue (11:00 pm Cabaret de la Dernière Chance)

Drogue plays the type of music that is the bedrock for The Go-Go Radio Magic Show - dirty rock ‘n’ roll and proto-punk that’ll help shake off the dust and kick out the jams. Fingers crossed that my press pass can get me into this one as it is already listed as ‘Sold Out’.

Hippie Hourrah (11:59 pm Basement of the Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda)

As a fan of Les Marinellis I was sad to see that band go on permanent hiatus, but was equally excited when I heard about this new musical outfit for Cedric Marinelli along with Montreal music scene luminaries Miles Dupire, Gabriel Lambert, Thierry Malépart, Samuel Gemme and Maxime Bellavance. Having missed out on the two shows at L’Esco back on July 22, I am thrilled to have this chance to see them close out the first night. 


September 3

Kristian North (6:00 pm SiriusXM Stage) 

What better way to ease into the second day than a 5 à 7 with the groovy sounds of Kristian North? I can’t think of one either, so that is why I will make my way to this early show to start my Friday on the right foot. 

Bad Waitress (7:45 pm Cabaret de la Dernière Chance)

A return to the Cabaret de la Dernière Chance for some more loud, in-your-face rock ‘n’ roll. This all-female four piece from Toronto brings the filth and the fury with their brand of art punk that blends the grit of first wave punk of the 70s with the thunderous grunge sounds of the 90s. 

Hot Garbage, Paul Jacobs, and The OBGMs (8:00 pm Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda) 

This might be the show that I am most excited for. Toronto’s space-rock, psychedelic quartet never disappoint and keep raising the bar for themselves with every release and show. Paul Jacobs released one of the best albums of 2021, but he has long eluded me and now thanks to FME I will finally be able to see him perform live. I know it sounds crazy given that he is a local artist, but sometimes shit just doesn’t line up. Until now! Closing out the night is another Toronto band, The OBGMs, and their take-no-prisoners approach to punk rock. As front man Densil McFarlane puts it, “This is rock music that hits differently. It’s Kurt Cobain shit. It’s Jimi Hendrix shit. It’s the Steve Jobs of this rock shit.” What’s not to like?!  

ALIAS (11:00 pm Diable Rond)

I am super stoked to check out the psychedelic crooning of the über talented Emmanuel Alias. His excellent EP, It’s Not Funny, So Stop Smilin’, is out now on Simone Records and I strongly recommend that you get yourself a copy.


September 4

Barry Paquin Roberge (9:00 pm Poisson Volant)

There are not many things guaranteed in life, but to death and taxes you can add that BPR is always a good time! These disco-lounge warriors lay down a groove so thick it’ll get you sweating in no time.

Zoon, Yoo Doo Right, and The Besnard Lakes (8:00 pm Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda)

Another incredible triple header. My guess is this is one that you do not want to show up late for, and you might want to bring your passport with you as you may do some involuntary interstellar space travelling. 

Vanille, and Mort Rose (10:00 pm Cabaret de la Dernière Chance)

Ending the Saturday night with two of the bands that marked my return to live music back in June at the La famille Bonbonbon au MTELUS seems like the right thing to do. Vanille’s debut album Soleil '96 has been one of 2021’s musical highlights for me, and Mort Rose’s next album, ​​

Au revoir cowboys, which will be released September 10, will certainly join the list.


September 5

Étienne Coppée (2:00 pm SiriusXM Stage)

If I’ve learned anything about multiple day music festivals it’s that you need to pace yourself on the final day and start slow. You couldn’t get a more suitable start than the set of beautiful folk songs from this chanteur québécois. Not sure if he will be accompanied or solo for this show, but I sure would love to hear those heavenly harmonies that can be found on his latest single, Écoute, out now on Simone Records. Either way, this is the way one should start every Sunday.

Ouri (5:00 pm Place de la Citoyenneté et de la Coopération)

A classically trained multi-instrumentalist, Ouri builds beautiful soundscapes where you can run away to escape from your troubles and focus on your dreams. Vulnerable, honest and harmonic are but three of the adjectives that I would use to describe her music. Or as she describes it in her bio, “[I sing] of fear in a manner in which to look past it, to build a safe place after abuse, to desire hope as a means of generating hope, to celebrate sex, to celebrate creation, all while in these times of crisis.” Sounds like a perfect Sunday afternoon soundtrack to me.

FHANG, and Valence (10:00 pm Cabaret de la Dernière Chance)

My current obsession is the self-titled debut album from FHANG, a music project from Mishka Stein and Sam Woywitka that takes the listener on a 30-minute journey that will leave you wanting more and quickly hitting the replay button. Valence is the art-pop project of Vincent Dufour that I could only describe as a folk / dance music hybrid that will be the perfect way to end my first FME and send me floating off to dreamland with a beautiful smile on my face.


Prince Palu is the co-host of The Go-Go Radio Magic Show wirh Oncle Ian every Friday at 6pm!