My all time favorite place to hang out in Montreal is back in business. Huzzah. Green Room has returned. Hopefully its upstairs compliment, the Mile End Cultural Centre, will also find its feet again. All the same, the Green Room manages to combine great vibe, good dj nights, excellent art exhibits, and, of course, fantastic live music at better hours than some places that shall remain nameless.
Indie Montreal, the promoters/booking agents for this event, also deserve a quick nod for bringing lesser known music to this city and promoting lesser known local acts. I enjoy my concerts best when I don't have to wear earplugs and the audience has no idea what to expect. Hence, my seemingly psychic ability amongst friends to know what bands are worth listening to. They regularly consult me with the question, "Anything hot in Montreal these days?" And then I prattle off the list. Really, I just like small shows best and make a mental note of the ones that impress me. It's all the work of small promoters like Indie Montreal that make the $5-12 shows possible. Blue Skies Turn Black just brings in bigger much loved acts that have regular airplay on XMRadio. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but my budget does not allow me to see these acts. In better days, better times, perhaps some money will plunk down in my lap or I'll get a new radio show at one of the local stations and take advantage of free concert tickets or something along those lines.
Alright, enough props to the people who make things happen. Now, some props to the very excellent show I caught at the Green Room last night, promoted/booked by Indie Montreal. Owing to a lame ass friend, I missed the opening act, but I did catch the Maritime goodness of Share and Montreal local folk-popster Laurent Bourque last night. So happy to make it out to this show.
While Maritime music often tiptoes through folk and fiddling, it tends to feature a diversity of styles that make it hard to classify. From the first few songs, I thought Share was going to be a pleasant, folk-laced pop with a bit of melancholy to round out the upbeat strumming. There was a double bass, after all, a euphonium, and almost everyone was supporting the hipster-facial hair style of the moment (that would be something like a handlebar). I knew I'd like them, but it wouldn't grab me by the cahonas (if I had cahonas to grab). Au contraire, mes amis. Without warning, about four songs into the set, things got wilder and wilder. With three guitars going simultaneously, I'm talking huge wall of sound here. Nothing was as it seemed, I guess. Where I expected a jam, things ended abruptly, as if to tantalize me with an opportunity to dance that just was yanked away. I loved it, teased and delighted at the same time. I think this is the real feature of Maritime artists -- they're incredibly diverse and hard to slot in a single genre. Share is a band I'd like to share will everyone (I'm sure they hear that ALL THE TIME). Nuff said.
I missed the openers, as I mentioned, but holding the middle slot for the night was Montreal based Laurent Bourque and his lovely band. Bourque was more folk-pop, more singer-songwriterish than Share. What I liked most about him was that he really gave it his heart when he performed. He sang big, played big, and just exuded the love. He's a young sprout which means he'll probably be around the local scene for a good long time.