It was a Saturday night in April, and I was getting ready to go out a little later than expected. But despite my overwhelming laziness, I put on my ripped black jeans and a cute striped t-shirt. I had my little bag and my little notepad and was ready to hear some new music for a change. With a 20-minute walk under my feet, I made it to Casa del Popolo and was feeling more exhausted than before. Nevertheless, I made my way through the restaurant and to the back doors where the night’s entertainment was playing.
The first band on stage was Ôpale, and I have to admit I was a bit late to their set. However, I settled into the performance as best as I could and absorbed the music they created together. Their set was calm and relaxing and I felt good about being there. As one song faded into another, it became a mellow jam session and the music took its time. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see the beginning of their set, but I imagine it was quite similar.
When Ôpale’s set ended, I tried to maneuver my way closer to the stage so I would have a better view. It wasn’t long before Ghostly Hounds took the stage. They came on with a trumpet, banjo, cello, viola, and mandolin, which instantly intrigued me. According to the band’s website, they describe themselves as “witch folk.” While their music was poetic and mysterious, they also contributed a jazzy and skiffle sound. In the song “In the Event of Fire,” they remediated a poem and encouraged the audience to sing along. Their haunting themes and the lead vocalist’s, Francesca Daoust’s, operatic voice reminded me of the band Dead Man’s Bones. Their next show will be at L’Escalier on May 13th, during which they will be celebrating a full-length album release.
Little Suns took the stage around 11:30 p.m. and got the crowd warmed up with an upbeat song. They also brought unconventional instruments for a rock band on stage, like a trumpet, trombone, accordion, and a Macbook! While their set started with an upbeat, fiery tone, they slowly turned to a jam session-like sound. As the songs became cooler, so did the room. The crowd became less jumpy and began to bob and sway their bodies accordingly. According to the band’s website, they explore new wave, cumbia, baroque, pop-punk and Bollywood styles. Unfortunately, they suffered minor sound issues during their set, but were quick to respond to them with quirky humor.
Despite my initial resistance to attend a Saturday night show, I found myself glad that I had pushed myself to attend the jam fest at Casa del Popolo. With final assignments and exams coming up, it’s hard to find the time to explore Montreal’s music scene. However, when you do, it’s worth it, in the end.