This review is guest-written by a friend, Carter Unikid, who attended the show with me.
Back in the day, a great comic was someone who told great jokes. The great English-speaking comics could tell those jokes in Philadelphia, hop on a train to New York, tell the same jokes, then ride up to Montreal and tell them all over again to adoring audiences. With word of mouth and an enterprising booking agent, the great comics would eventually land a sitcom, tone down whatever it was that made them great, and ride the TV industry as far as they could go.
Juts for Laughs is here, and one Montreal dream of mine that has gone unfulfilled is to be the unwitting victim of Just for Laugh's fake police officers. They usually film around the Carre St. Louis, and last week I thought I had finally fallen victim to one of their low-brow and bizarrely addictive gags, when I was pulled over by a police officer for riding a Bixi on Prince Arthur Street between St. Laurent and Hotel de Ville.
This might be the last concert I ever review in Montreal, and I love Beirut in a way that maybe no reviewer should, so bear with me if I am lacking in some objectivity as I write this. The fact is that there is no band out there who combines light-hearted melancholy with borrowed orchestral traditions in the way that Beirut does. He manages to turn ritual musical laments into rhythmic and life-affirming pop, without once giving off the odious whiff of world music in the process.
Last night's concert at Metropolis, part of the Jazz Fest's programming, couldn't possibly live up to my expectations. Shockingly, at times it surpassed them, even if the night was imperfect. But as I opened my mouth to join a packed-to-the rafters crowd at the Metropolis in belting out Elephant Gun, my body unexpectedly seized up, and I was overwhelmed by the sensation that had brought me into the Midnight Poutine fold almost two years ago: the search for a moment of natural ecstasy, of intense and immediate realization of place, time, and self. (I did say this wasn't going to be objective, though I should have also warned this would get cheesy).
At first glance, Metro Viau looks to be caught at the intersection of industrial wasteland and 70's era Montreal megaprojects. In a seeming deadzone, Viau falls just south of Parc Maisonneuve, lies in the shadows east of Stade Olympique, grazes the northernmost border of Hochelaga-Maisoneuve, and sits gratefully west of the industrial yards on the other side of Rue Viau.
But walk a few minutes out of this urban wormhole and encounter not only some of the city's biggest tourist draws, but dynamic Montreal neighbourhoods as well.
Montreal may still have the best collection of music talent per capita in this corner of the world, but no one puts on a show like Brooklyn. Metropolis hosted Santogold on Thursday and TV On the Radio on Wednesday, two unique Brooklyn powerhouses with nothing in common except their ability to put on a smile-inducing show. Both shows were packed and there was surprisingly little overlap between the crowds on either night: TV On the Radio's show seemed dominated by a slightly older music-savvy crowd while Santogold had a lot of pretty young things' shaking their American Apparel booties. The TVOTR show was excellent, but Santogold got me dancing, and that's almost cheating I like it so much.