What's Happening?

We Just Wanna Have Some Fun, Down At The Rock And Roll Club

For the second time this winter Prince Palu has been attacked by a very angry cold virus that seems to want to make a new name for the common cold. Luckily this time his 18-month-old baby decided that he didn't want his beloved Papa to go through the nastiness alone and joined in the fun. So for the better part of the past week, Prince Palu and wee Sammy have sat coughing and snotting on each other, whilst sucking down vitamin C, fruit smoothies, and Tylenol of varying degrees of strength. Fear not though, good people! Neither frozen weather warnings nor runny noses, phlegm-filled lungs, nor fever induced nightmares could prevent this column from coming out. Here is what has come out of the cold medicine haze.

Before we get into what is happening in the next few days, I want to take a moment to acknowledge a man whose passing probably won't get too much press, but who was indeed a legend in the world of radio. Like most people not lucky enough to live in any of the numerous markets where he manned a microphone in a career that spanned four decades, I first heard about Lee Baby Simms when Tom Waits referenced him in the 1986 Jim Jarmusch classic film, Down By Law. After becoming obsessed with that movie, that scene inside the jail cell of the Orleans Parish Prison took on a whole new meaning when I found out that not only was there a real DJ named Lee Baby Simms, but that he was not too happy that Waits' used his name, even threatening legal action. How cool did one have to be for Tom Waits to make him part of his character's back story? Well, I never got the chance to hear Lee Baby Simms, and he always remained a mythical figure. His name would pop up every now and then, and it was always in reference to someone being a visionary artist in the DJ's seat. It always gives me inspiration knowing about DJs who do it right and keep the spirit of pre-corporate radio alive, but since he retired from radio in 2002, just before the YouTubeification of the world, he will forever remain a legend, one whose story will be passed down through the people lucky enough to have heard his unique style. That style Ken Levine described as a "sort of a cross between the Beat generation and Woodstock generation. A hipster/hippie. Somewhat like the Fonz in that by including you in his circle he made you feel cool." I can only hope someone will uncover more recordings of his shows and we can all enjoy the voice that inspired Tom Waits, among many others. R.I.P. Lee Baby.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

This evening the weekend gets off to an early start with a 6 à 8 at Le Divan Orange (4234 Saint-Laurent) and the first night of the month-long residency of Oliver Belisle in the on-going Camp series. $5 beers, no cover and a chance to help Divan Orange out with their legal woes.

It is a good thing that there is an early start tonight too, as it seems that tonight is the busiest night of the weekend, at least as far as this column is concerned.

Sticking with Divan Orange, whether you went down for the 6 à 8 or not the fun doesn't stop there. At 9:00pm Ligue Rock opens the fourth season of their rock 'n' roll competition, which will take place in three cities (Montreal, St-Hyacinthe, and Joliette) over the next four months. Tonight's kickoff party will include Prieur & Landry, Shampouing, and Les Dales Hawerchuck. I wish I had more info about this event, but the screaming baby on my lap is telling me to move on. Check the Ligue Rock website for more details.

For all you CBC Radio 2 listeners out there, Metropolis (59 Sainte-Catherine E.) is where you'll want to make your way down to tonight as Canadian indie rock legends, and one of the most important Montreal bands of the 21st century, Stars hit the stage with the Newfoundland septet Hey Rosetta! opening. Why are Stars so important to the Montreal music scene you ask? Well it could be argued that they are indirectly responsible for POP Montreal. You see, it was Stars keyboardist Chris Seligman's brother Dan who founded the festival back in 2002 after learning the ropes of the music industry by working with his brother's band. Sure there is much more to the story, but that is it in a nutshell. It is also how I can justify my previous statement of them being one of the most important Montreal bands of this century. If that doesn't wash with you, then just watch this video clip of them performing "This Is The Last Time" from their latest album, No One Is Lost. Tickets are $32 and the doors open at 6:30pm.

Speaking of important bands to the local music scene, up at Bar 'Le Ritz' PDB (179 Jean-Talon O.), the High Dials bring their blend of indie rock and pop psychedelia back to a Montreal stage with local post-punk darkwave trio Morthouse joining them. While I don't think that The High Dials have ever fully gotten the recognition in this city that they deserve, they have long been a favorite of Little Steven and his Underground Garage radio show. Why not head up to Jean Talon and see why? Tickets are listed as $13 through the Blues Skies Turn Black website, but I'm not sure what they'll be at the door, but I do know that your price of admission will include a copy of The High Dial's new album In The A.M. Wilds on CD.

If what you really need is a heavy dose of debauchery with a side of sleaze, then you are gonna wanna slide into L'Escogriffe (4467 Saint-Denis) tonight and partake in the sex, booze and rock 'n' roll Smörgåsbord of garage rock from Lightbulb Alley, glam-punk-psychedelic from After Party Acid People, and power-pop from Télégraphe Jungle. Ringing up at a measly $5 cover charge for three great local bands at one of Montreal's coziest venues, this is proving to be a hard choice not to take.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday night you can double down over at Casa del Popolo (4873 St-Laurent) where on the 'old room' side Heavy Trip kickoff their monthly DJ night series Away From The Numbers with Heavy Trip founder Michael Bardier and Phil Clem (Duchess Says, PyPy, Quatro) sharing the DJ duties for the inaugural event. It all goes down between 5:00 and 9:00 and is free. Then once you have wet your whistle and been taking on a musical journey by those two fine gentlemen, you can pay $10 and head over to the 'showroom' side of Casa where the baritone crooning of Monsieur Leblanc will set the stage for the return of Amanita Bloom following a successful mini-tour of Quebec in December and January, with their folk-noir brand of rock 'n' blues. Bring some extra cash because Amanita Bloom will also be selling some beautiful new t-shirts that you'll want to buy. Trust me, once you see them you'll want one.

Now if you need a little more old timey twang, then you can settle in at Divan Orange and catch a triple bill twangy extravaganza. Ol' Savannah, with their hillbilly mix of blues, folk and bluegrass headline a night in support of their friends Cold Lake Buzzards album release show. Cold Lake Buzzards are another music project from Santosh Lalonde, who seems to be vying for the title of 'The Busiest Man in Showbiz', who describes the sound as "swampy spaghetti western trash blues hybrid". How sweet does that sound? Rounding out this hootenanny will be Ryan McNally, whose passion for acoustic music as taken him across Canada, over to the Nanjing Jazz Music Festival in China and down deep into the swamps of Louisiana. Just a word of warning, if you do decide to go down to Divan Orange tonight, you might want to wear your wellies as this much foot stompin' music is sure to melt the ice all around the building.

Another album launch happening tonight is taking place over at Atomic Cafe (3606 Ontario E.) that'll feed more of the aggro-punk side of your psyche. Pouzza Fest and Asian Man Records present the release of Oreosmith, the debut album from Powernap, a Montreal punk supergroup fronted by ex-The Sainte Catherines front man and Pouzza Fest head honcho, Hugo Mudie. Along for the crunching good time will be Barrasso, featuring former members of Dirty Tricks, Suck la Marde, and Lost Love, whose debut album Sparkle, which was released last year. This line-up will surely put the atomic in Atomic Cafe. The Facebook event also states that there may be more bands added to the bill. Doors are at 8:00 and the $12 admission also gets you a vinyl copy of Oreosmith.

The last option I will offer up for Friday night is the Slut Island Dance Party happening up at Bar Le Ritz PDB. This queer friendly, techno and house music love-in will feature DJ sets from Tobias Rochman and Frankie Teardrop, sandwiched around a live performance from the Kate Bush cover band Kate's Bush. PWYC (with $5 - $10 recommended) and the proceeds going toward future Slut Island events. Tassels are also encouraged.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

It doesn't get much better than the double bill happening at Divan Orange on Saturday night with Toronto's Milk Lines and Montreal's Bloodshot Bill & The Hick-Ups. From the minds of Jeff Clarke (Demon's Claws, Hell Shovel) and Emily Frances comes the jangly psychedelic pop and country laced tunes of Milk Lines, who will be releasing their debut album Ceramic on In The Red Records in the spring of 2015. And anyone who has been going to live music in Montreal for the past 15 years or so is more than familiar with the name Bloodshot Bill. The one-man-band rockabilly revivalist will hit the stage with his back-up band The Hick-Ups for a night of greasy rock 'n' roll before heading over to France to play bass with Jon Spencer's Heavy Trash for the remainder of the month. At $10 this is a can't lose proposition.

Over at La Vitrola (4602 St-Laurent) is the homecoming show of sorts for Homeshake, the solo project of former Mac DeMarco guitarist Peter Sagar, after a tour of Japan. The Homeshake sound, that was captured and released last year on In The Shower, has been belovingly described by DeMarco as "jizz-jazz". Also on the bill will be the shoegaze psychedelic pop of Halifax, NS, and Mint Records recording artists, Monomyth,  the experimental pop of Brazilian Money, and the weird pop rock 'n' roll blend of The Marlees.

If your are yearning for a different world beat sound on this particular Saturday night, then the Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra have you covered at La Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent). With their blend of Afro-Colombian percussion and Eastern European brass, this 15-piece band has been creating instant dance parties everywhere they set up. They will be joined by Enklab Project who will provide visuals and DJ sets. Doors at 9:00. $12 admission.

Another way to get your booty shaking is over at Cabaret Playhouse (5656 Parc) where QueerCorps presents A Face for Radio, a night of drag & dance with host Lady Gaza, performances by Isa Monster and Mini Maul, and DJ sets by Fagface, Cuteface, and Ms Andry. A fundraiser for CKUT, a $5 donation (or more) qualifies you for a chance to win the door prize, four tickets to RuPaul's Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

To wind down the weekend why not treat your mind to some eerie and yet beautiful soundscapes, both with and without vocals, being unleashed in the friendly confines of Casa del Popolo? I will be the first to admit that this is not my usual bag, but that is why I feel the need to tell you about it. It is good to try new things and be open minded. Four Montreal bands - Syngja, Year of Glad, Holobody, and Caro Diaro (Maica Armata of Maicamia) - will be creating the sounds to make you forget that you are hours away from another Monday. You can check out  the links for each band and have a listen for yourself.


--Prince Palu hosts The Go-Go Radio Magic Show, every Friday night from 6 to 8pm. Tune in. Turn on. Freak OUT! Only on CJLO.