Montreal Jazz Festival 2012 Recap

A few weeks back I gave you a list of my picks for the Montreal Jazz Festival, and I managed to go to about 90% of the shows on that list. Here's a quick recap for those of you who missed them.


Heavy Soundz
The Savoy, July 1-4 

The Jazz Festival has hosted these wonderful nightcaps from 12-3 am at The Savoy for the past few years, with some of the most outrageous live bands from the local scene. I caught the Heavy Soundz presentation on the third night and was glad to see that the venue was packed and everyone was dancing. I was expecting a fire-spitting show due to my prior experience with this band, but the energy was a little low and I was turned off by the bad sound. There was too much guitar, not enough vocals, and the other instruments were really drowned out by the drums. The performance was a subpar for my standards, but I like the band very much and the less-critical crowd was having a blast, which for me is a big part of a great show so I must applaud them for captivating the audience.


 The Narcicyst
Photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi

The Narcicyst
Bell Groove Stage, July 6 

Let me paint a picture for you: a drummer, a guitarist, and a bassist. Add a DJ to that mix and, to get even more interesting, how about four backing vocalists? Yeah, the stage is looking nice and plump now, but you know what could really bring this to the next level? A six-piece string section! Indeed, The Narcicyst brought out the big guns for his farewell Montreal show. The energy was very high and the whole experience very emotional. There were a lot of very special moments in the show, and he thanked Montreal for many of his greatest memories. The endless crowd went absolutely crazy when he brought his father on stage, and his fans even made him a 10-foot farewell banner. Musically, it was a powerful show with a lot of new material that I am now anxiously waiting for. The sound was surprisingly crisp for an outdoor show, which really highlighted the Narcicyst's deeply layered sound.


Kalmunity Vibe Collective
The Savoy, July 5-7

I have only one word: EPIC. Check out my full review to see what I mean.


Music is My Sanctuary + Jazzanova and The Goods
Metropolis, July 7

Music is My Sanctuary celebrated their five-year anniversary by closing the Jazz Festival with an insane free dance party. DJ Lexis, Scott C, Andy Williams, and Juergen were on the 1s & 2s and they delivered such amazing music. It was great to see so many people take over the floor at Metropolis, which is usually just packed with people staring in one direction, and turn it into a massive dance floor. There were at least four different dance cyphers going on at the same time, people were having an unbelievable time, and to top it off there was music you would never hear anywhere else. The DJs listed above are renowned for being the ultimate crate diggers, and they really served us with their funkiest finds. I truly hope the Jazz Festival ends this way every year. 



Ziggy Marley + Inword
Metropolis, Jun 28

Out of all the shows I went to see, Inword was the most anticipated opening act. Clearly over the years they have created a strong fan base because everyone in the crowd was singing along and girls were screeching when Marky Lyrical began each tune. I didn't know much of their repertoire prior to catching the show, but Jahsun's strong drumbeats definitely convinced me to go get their album. I have to say that visually, Ziggy Marley blew me away. There was a big colorful flag in the background, and every member was rocking long dreads. There was a beautiful strong backing vocalist-slash-dancer who really captivated everyone's eyes. In terms of experiencing a Marley live, I would say that this show was amazing, however, as a stand-alone musician I wasn't that impressed. Then again, that kind of slow-pace reggae has never been my favorite to see live.


Deltron 3030 + Nomadic Massive
Metropolis, July 6

Nomadic Massive ripped it up and clearly stole the show! This 10-person group definitely knows how to take their space on stage and really give their all at every show. The ladies looked crazy-fly rocking local gear, and the fellas each had their own style that really showcased the cultural diversity of this group while staying true their hip hop roots. I'm a bit of a connoisseur on Nomadic's music repertoire, so I love it when they send me a curve ball like a mash up of their greatest hits, or a fresh new track like "Supa Fam."

I must say their performance made me even more anxious for the launch of their Mixtape. Deltron 3030, however, was a disaster. I hate to say it, but it really was. The first 15 minutes were ruined by some technical difficulties, which ended up just being for their visuals! Seriously, have you not heard of "the show must go on!" There was a terrible awkward moment where Kid Koala tried and calm the crowd with some scratching skills, but we were served with some terrible sound. Honestly, I couldn't distinguish any of the instruments, and they are a 15-piece band. Deltron Zero's flow was super lazy, and he literally did not move from the spot where started rapping for the whole show. I know many die-hard fans would hate me for saying all this because the first three rows seemed to be having the time of their lives, and I understand that Deltron hasn't performed in years, but I was so shocked at how bad that performance was that I can't keep my mouth shut.


Photo: Jessica Franksen 

Stalley + F.Stokes
S.A.T, July 6

F.Stokes promised a very live and intimate show when Caity and I interviewed him on Say Word! earlier in the week. At the time I didn't realize he meant he would be coming out into the crowd and creating a cypher right in the middle of his show, or that he would take a girl aside and sing to her personally. He is an amazing performer! The energy was beautiful, and he really takes the time to enunciate his words, which is great because what he says has great depth. I was truly impressed by his work and look forward to following his expansion as an artist. He managed to blow me away with just himself and a DJ. Stalley, on the other hand, brought along a small band, which was a nice surprise. However, he did not manage to make me turn to his camp. I have to say that I'm not really a fan of that kind of hip hop so it's to be expected. As a performer, he was better than I expected, and it was quite entertaining to see his flock of fans all rocking his staple beard.


Sarah MK
Photo: Eye N Eye

Sarah MK
The Savoy, July 7

I am truly impressed. The sound was impeccable, and I really thought I was listening to a mastered CD, but what really got me was Sarah MK's wide repertoire. Many of us know her as a strong member of the Kalmunity Vibe Collective, but only recently has she really emerged as a solo artist. Her album only features nine tracks, so I had no idea she would have enough material to keep us entertained for two acts. Her presence was strong and she seemed very comfortable in the limelight. The backing musicians were phenomenal, and I really appreciate how Sarah gives each of them their time to shine. I must particularly applaud Jordan Peters who is the mastermind behind all the arrangements that had our hearts swelling.


-MF Gold co-hosts Say Word! Thursdays from 11am-1pm