CM Does POP Montreal 2013 – Day 2Monday, September 30th, 2013
Canadian Musician‘s Montreal correspondents, Candice Dugas and Melanie Cheung, were back out for another night of the 2013 POP Montreal festival. Here’s the latest:
Day 2 of POP MTL brought us to the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre, one of our favorite venues in the city. It was a sold out show for headliners Portugal the Man. There was a substantial lineup outside, with many eager concert goers determined to stake out their spots. We settled into front row balcony seats for optimal viewing of the light show to come.
Montreal’s How Sad, comprised of Katie Lee (previously of Braids), Harris Shper, Nick Scribner, and Rowan Cornell-Brown, opened with infectious energy. Previously Goose Hut, the new band name evolved from a joke on their choice of profession. “You’re a musician? Oh, how sad…”
Their set was a contrast of upbeat pop music with dark lyrics. Shper, the lead singer, spent most of his time pulling at his hair and flailing his arms. Needless to say, he was passionate about his songs. Most impressive was the standing robot-dancing drummer, definitely a crowd favorite. Having just released their first EP, Indian Summer, in August, the quartet will surely be one to watch over the next year.
After How Sad’s set, the crowd was anxiously awaiting Portugal the Man and their turn on stage. The air was buzzing as we listened to various Beatles covers belting out of the speakers.
Suddenly, the lights dimmed and The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” recording blared. It was the perfect introduction to Portugal the Man’s dramatic entrance.
The show opened with their catchy single “Purple, Yellow, Red & Blue. The entire show had an explosive, powerful energy. Psychedelic animations projected onto their backdrop of large cut-out mountain-shaped screens. John Baldwin Gourley’s distinctive, high pitched vocals carried us through their solid, lengthy set. The band played songs mostly from their latest album Evil Friends, a collaboration with producer Danger Mouse that dropped in June. They also made sure to include hits from their previous album, In the Mountain In the Cloud.
They closed the show by once again playing “Purple, Yellow Red and Blue.” As an encore, they delighted us all with a cover of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter,” though the highlight of the night was their rendition of Etta James’ “I’d Rather go Blind,” which showcased a softer side to Portland’s psychedelic indie rock band.
Having missed Portugal the Man at Osheaga 2012, we were happy to be redeemed.