The fall season begins with a rock ‘n’ roll bang in Montreal, from a star-packed outdoor block party followed by the Pop Montreal music festival, to exciting new art, film and cultural events that both enlighten and entertain…
(pop goes the city) It’s that time of year again: the Pop Montreal International Music Festival unleashes hundreds of rock, pop, hip hop, folk and electro artists on the city, with dozens of shows every night, along with symposium talks, film screenings, art exhibitions, and more every day, September 17-21. Opening night sets the tone for the fest’s 13th year, with a party at POP HQ, a wide-ranging discussion with Steve Albini, Fashion POP’s catwalk spectacular, shows by Sun Kil Moon, Kid Congo Powers and many more, plus a late-night dance party with Latin-Grammy award-winners Bomba Estéreo. Thursday’s packed with free talks, a cooking class, and shows by The Gaslight Anthem, Trust, Mozart’s Sister, Ought, Alden Penner and more music at venues city-wide, while Friday and all weekend keep music fans on their toes with free outdoor events, the Puces POP art craft fair, music-industry insider talks, pop-fueled parties and plenty of quality show-hopping.
(out about) Spend time outdoors while the weather’s great at the Montreal Botanical Garden, where the luminous Gardens of Light exhibition turns nighttime at the gardens into a phenomenon, with colourful lanterns in the shapes of animals and people in the Chinese Garden and a light-and-sound show in the Japanese Garden. Make your way through Old Montreal to the back-to-school Weekend at Peel Basin, featuring free musical performances, fabulous food, boat tours and more for the whole family, 6-10:30 p.m. on September 13 and 11-5pm on September 14. Hop on a bike and take a tour around town or even all the way to Parc Jean-Drapeau, where the Shrine Circus sets up September 12-21. And for a change of pace, explore the countryside around Montreal for a day – check out our ideas for the perfect family-friendly day trip.
(art film) Artists, film and TV stars and more luminaries of the comic arts world arrive in Montreal for Montreal Comiccon, September 12-14 – catch a glimpse of several main actors from Star Trek: The Next Generation, including Sir Patrick Stewart himself, as well as Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, wrestling’s Hulk Hogan, and hundreds of costumed comic book fans. See what’s going on in Montreal’s contemporary art scene at Ateliers Portes Ouvertes gallery and studio tours – artists welcome the public into their studios and the Mile End neighbourhood shuts down St-Viateur Street to traffic on Saturday with a street sale, yoga classes and community events – while in the neighbourhood, take a coffee break, go shopping, have a drink and be sure to bite into a warm bagel of your choice. In the Quartier des Spectacles, walk through public art-and-architecture exhibition The Fountain House, by German collective raumlaborberlin, presented by Montreal’s Goethe Institute and part of the upcoming Montreal Biennale art festival. Look for New York artist Kurt Perschke’s Red Ball art project, part of performance art festival Les Escales Improbables, in the city streets. See newsworthy images from around the globe at this year’s World Press Photo Montreal exhibition, at Old Montreal’s Marché Bonsecours.
(on stage) Not your average dramatic ballet, Les Grands Ballets stages Christian Spuck’s comic political satire Leonce and Lena about two lovers spurn the conventions of their respective courts, at Théâtre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts, September 18-27. Meanwhile, the comedic love-triangle story and coming-of-age tale The Graduate has received glowing reviews on stage at the Segal Centre – see it until September 23. The National Circus School shows off its latest high-flying acrobatic creation, Méandre, at La Tohu September 12-13. And the 12th edition of the Quartiers Danses festival features contemporary dance performances throughout the week at the Gesù theatre, including works by Randy Glynn and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, and free dance shows at the Place des Arts Esplanade: on September 15, see choreographer Neil Sochasky’s work based on the cult film Amélie, and Geneviève Lauzon’s free-flowing Moi | ioT.
(live music) Friday night lights up the late-summer night with a Block Party featuring Neutral Milk Hotel, Death From Above 1979, Sky Ferreira, Metric, The Barr Brothers and Thus: Owls, all at Espace Montmorency. Also Friday night, hear inventive Australian electronic singer-songwriter Chet Faker at L’Olympia, a talk by hip hop legend Talib Kweli at the Phi Centre followed by a show at Telus Theatre, Jay Brannan bringing his brand of folk to Petit Campus, and the Montreal Flamenco Festival closing on September 12 at Cabaret Mile End. Classic melodic metal band Stratovarius blurs darkness and light at Cabaret Mile End on September 13, while The Growlers get down at Bar le “RITZ” P.D.B. . On Sunday, catch some early-autumn sunshine at outdoor electro-dance-party Piknic Electronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau, and later on hear Chicago’s Russian Circles get heavy at Cabaret Mile End, more wild psych sounds come courtesy of Nik Turner’s Hawkwind at Bar le “RITZ” P.D.B., and beloved American jam band Moe drops by the Corona Theatre for some good times. Monday night belongs to Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers, ripping up the stage at Cafe Campus. On Tuesday, September 16, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull bring their summertime dance party to the Bell Centre, and L.A.-based singer-songwriter Nick Waterhouse gets soulful and funky at Petit Campus. French singing legend Charles Aznavour returns to the city to charm fans once more, September 17 at the Bell Centre, while the Golden Voice of Africa, Salif Keïta, brings his afro-pop sounds all the way from Mali to Montreal, at L’Olympia. And September 18 is made for rocking out with The Black Keys at the Bell Centre, and The Gaslight Anthem, with opening acts Against Me! and TwoPointEight, at Metropolis (part of Pop Montreal), and Buffalo, New York metalcore masters Every Time I Die, at Club Soda.
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