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Festival Review: CoS at North by Northeast 2011

on June 22, 2011, 5:02pm
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Wednesday, June 15th

LOOM – The Rivoli – 8:00 p.m.

loom rivoli2 Festival Review: CoS at North by Northeast 2011

LOOM is the pseudonym of singer-songwriter Brooke Manning, performing solo for Canadian indie label Nevado Records. She has a minimalist strumming style to say the least, with an absolutely beautiful, haunting voice. In a way, she struck me as a bit of a female Thom Yorke, except without any trace of pretension. There was an especially cute moment where she covered ‘Tom’s Diner’ by Suzanne Vega; she forgot some of the lyrics, but made up for it quite entertainingly by having us jump to the universally familiar “Do do do do do do do do.”

Moon King – Horseshoe Tavern –  9:00 p.m.

moonking horseshoe Festival Review: CoS at North by Northeast 2011

Moving over to Horseshoe Tavern, an eccentrically interesting trio calling themselves Moon King got the M for Montreal showcase underway, filling in at the last minute for Dance Laury Dance. It was apparently their first-ever gig, and they sure tried to grab people’s attention between periods of the Stanley Cup final with their absolutely booming dance-punkish drum machine and short, punchy material. “All our songs are like a minute and a half long,” stated lead singer Daniel Woodhead. When he wasn’t trading acoustic guitar riffs with his female counterpart, he was sitting cross-legged on the tiled floor in front of his band, or inviting those watching onto the stage like he was Noah and was saving them with his makeshift Arc. Like I was saying, interesting…

O Voids – Horseshoe Tavern –  10:00 p.m.

ovoids horseshoe Festival Review: CoS at North by Northeast 2011

With Dance Laury Dance AWOL, O Voids became the first Montreal band to hit the stage. I’d describe their sound as droning post-punk that sounded more like it was coming from the gritty streets of New York City than from Montreal. Fans of Interpol would no doubt like them, but the hockey fans in attendance at the Horseshoe were more concerned about the Boston Bruins beating Vancouver for their first championship since 1972. Definitely more bodies along the lengthy bar area at the front of the club with their eyes glued to the TV than in back listening to O Voids, unfortunately.

Parlovr – Horseshoe Tavern – 12:00 a.m.

parlovr horseshoe4 Festival Review: CoS at North by Northeast 2011

Parlovr may very well be the musical equivalent of the fries/gravy/cheese curds delicacy known in Montreal as poutine. No, it’s not the healthiest meal, but at its best, poutine is hot, sloppy, gooey, and so damn good, a real food indulgence. Parlovr, on the other hand, are three guys full of ‘joie de vivre’ who you want to treat yourself to again and again and again. They made everyone feel good, even those who wished they were rioting out in Vancouver, setting cars on fire. The suddenly jam-packed crowd were whipped into a dance frenzy by drummer Jeremy MacCuish, lead guitarist Louis Jackson, and keyboardist Alex Cooper, who sported a ratty old Quebec Nordiques t-shirt to mark the occasion.

A quick hockey rivalry lesson for you: Montreal Canadiens fans aren’t very fond of the Boston Bruins, but before they moved to Colorado in 1995 and became the Avalanche, there was one team Habs boosters loathed more than anyone else, and those were Les Nordiques! So it’s probably safe to say Parlovr were pulling for Vancouver to win…

We Are Wolves – Horseshoe Tavern –  1:00 a.m.

wearewolves horseshoe3 Festival Review: CoS at North by Northeast 2011

The last time I saw We Are Wolves, at Montreal’s Osheaga Festival, they came out wearing these gothic-looking, cape-like apparatuses. There were no gimmicks needed this time as they closed out the first night of music at NXNE – Not like the teeming crowd at the “’Shoe” cared anyway. They flocked to the front for the incredibly heavy, bass-driven industrial sound that characterized their entire headlining set. Wolfpack leader Alexander Ortiz reminds me of a chiselled Gene Simmons wielding his oversized bass guitar, elongated tongue wagging as he howls songs like ‘La Nature’ from their French titled debut, Non-Stop je te plie en deux (“I’ll fold in two”). Oh, and did I mention their drummer stands the whole time – Very cool! Forget Edward or Jacob, everyone left Horseshoe Tavern as Team We Are Wolves members!

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