FRINGE 2016: Macumba Digita

They say that Montreal has two seasons - Winter and Construction. I disagree. There's three of them, Winter, Construction, and Festival.

Unfortunately, Construction and Festival occur in a brutal overlap that will make even the most patient traveler explode into loud and colorful expletives while sitting in a sweltering car or back of a traffic-confined bus. 

Fringe, Mural, Grand Prix Weekend, The Boulevard Saint Laurent Sidewalk Sale, and the collective of on-island and off-island construction unions - have all connived together to in a very successful attempt to turn Montreal in to a hellscape of over 40 traffic closures - making getting anywhere and back a complete nightmare.

But even with all of the horrible goings-on of befores and afters, I don't understand how it's 9:30 PM and this bar that's so popular is so dead. I wish that I had data on my phone to Shazam everything though, because the music is phenomenal.

It's a tribal, Arabic, and Klezmer-sounding masterpiece of a set. Reminiscent of one of my favourite DJs, but more Klezmer and dub. This makes me wonder why the Montreal Fringe Festival doesn't have more eggs in the electronic music basket.

With the powerhouse Tupi Collective and local legend Don Mescal following each other there's no shortange of talent - and these aren't even the headliners. It shows that Fringe has an entire world of potential to expand in to the digital market. Tupi Collective's set is something along the lines of Latin club music. Joyous and very Moombah-esque. Summery and sexy - drawing people in from the crowd of revellers outside. I recognize some vocals in a track from somewhere, and pinpoint them to a multi-culti release. This is a real vibe.

The rest of the set that I stay for promises a great evening. More people show up, this crazy Moombah track is playing, and it blows my mind that the people in the bar are still sitting down.  

I really hate leaving early. A short-ish walk brings me to the closest bus stop, and therefore begins the long, painful ride home. With a plethora of delays provided by the City of Montreal, a 10:30 departure turns in to 1 AM arrival.

As the bus drives me further away from the city; inertia rings through me unpleasantly like the reverb on a microphone. It's just the time where my body is deciding on engaging the mechanism of sleep or pushing on until the light of the morning.

I want to dance. I want to sweat; The amazing music provided by the talented DJs of Fringe's Macumba Digita is entirely to blame.


DJ Thinkbox is part of CJLO’s Official Fringe Team covering the sights and sounds from the 2016 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival.

She also hosts The Machine Stops every Friday morning from 9am – 10am ET, only on 1690AM in Montreal and online at Follow her show Tumblr, @themachine-stops