CM Does M For Montreal, Day 1Monday, November 25th, 2013
With POP MTL 2013 under their belts, Canadian Musician correspondents Candice Dugas and Melanie Cheung are back with coverage of the 8th annual edition of M for Montreal.
The beginning of another music festival brings the kind of excitement only music junkies can relate to – that tingling feeling that something special is starting, that rush when the lights turn low and the first note drops, the joy of seeing a musician in their element, their dream coming to fruition on stage. M for Montreal promises all of those things.
Day 1 of M for MTL brought us to the Gold Badge-only event presented by Scion Sessions showcasing Dusted, Black Atlass, and Majical Cloudz. We arrived early Wednesday night at Casa Del Popolo to catch Black Atlass and entourage doing their sound check.
In an intimate venue like this, it was easy to gain access to up-close-and-personal interactions and performances. We also caught Matt Babel (former MuchMusic VJ) interviewing Majical Cloudz on their connection with the almighty Grimes and their music career to date.
The show started with the acoustic folk sounds of Dusted. This duo is the pairing of Brian Borcherdt of Holy Fuck and Loel Campbell, drummer of Wintersleep. Seeking a new sound that differs from his Holy Fuck catalog, Brian was channelling twangy rock and roll vibes. His airy vocals and guitar strumming paralleled those of The Shins and brought the crowd to a unified head bob. Loel Campbell was giving a show of his own with his drumming performance. He must have broken six drum sticks in his pounding fury.
M for Montreal was their first official performance since the release of their 11-track debut album, Total Dust. Paul Murphy (lead singer of Wintersleep) was among the Gold Badge crowd in support of his friends.
Next up was Black Atlass, the 19-year-old Montrealer, born Alex Fleming. As he jumped on stage, his crew was the first to shout out in support.
Black Atlass is the total package. He’s referred to, for obvious reasons, as the anti-Justin Bieber. His rise to stardom was accomplished by staying true to his sound and vision, which led to his recent signing with Brooklyn-based label Fool’s Gold Records. Tonight’s show made it evident why his aesthetic and sultry vocals are easily marketable. He’s even been featured as Vogue’s Artist of the Week.
His suave M for MTL performance was delivered with grace and style. Alex has a way of controlling the microphone that would make any girl blush. With themes of love, relationships, and new experiences, his music is meant for listening when the lights go out.
“Paris,” his hit single inspired by Montreal and licensed by Paris Fashion House Louis Vuitton, is always a crowd favourite. This hypnotic piano ballad possesses a new R&B flavour. We’re excited to see what’s more to come from this Montreal native.
Ending the night was Montreal-based indie synth-pop band, Majical Cloudz. Singer-songwriter Devon Welsh and producer and live collaborator Matthew Otto delivered a powerful performance.
Devon sings with such intensity that it is difficult to look him directly in the eye. He’s deeply expressive and somewhat intimidating. His music tells stories of friendship, love, and chemical adventures around the city. Majical Cloudz songs are profoundly lyrical with a mix of filtered synths. Devon has collaborated with Grimes and was 2013 Polaris Music Prize long lister.
With a successful Day 1 at M for Montreal on the books, it was time to rest up for more festival fun to come.