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Music

Sarah's Favorite Concerts of 2008

Posted by Sarah / December 16, 2008

Bell Orchestre -2008If you're a regular follower of this site, you might have noticed how many concerts the MP team has covered in the last year. I'm lucky enough to have had the chance to participate to that coverage quite a bit, and today, I'm going to highlight my most memorable concert picks of 2008.

We're lucky here in Montreal to get all the fine artists who decide to come take a spin onto the planks of our numerous venues. In the last 12 months, I've probably seen close to 70 bands play live, and impressively enough, I can't really say more than two of those shows were really bad. Read on to see which ones stood out of the talented bunch.

When I think back on all those wonderful musical moments, three concerts strike me as outstandingly fabulous.

The best concert I've seen this year is by far Bell Orchestre's long awaited return to the stage, which took place during the Montreal Chamber Music Festival over at St. James United Church. The venue is one of the heavy factors in the balance for me since not only was it a stunningly gorgeous place to hold a concert, but the acoustics were pure magic. Welcoming a couple new members to the group, the Bell Orchestre plays music that impressively still manages to stay on the sidelines of indie though it's style is not particularly rock-ish, rather a very intense and heavy free form of jazzish-classical type blend. This was probably one of the best concerts I've ever seen. Plus, I just got notice last week that the band has been signed to the great Arts & Crafts record label and are working on a new record. Can't wait to hear it!

Karkwatson -2008Karkwatson runs a close second place in my top three with pair of unique concerts that took place at Le National this past summer. In a very original attempt to merge the anglophone and francophone Indie music scenes of our beautiful city, Karkwa and Patrick Watson joined into double-digit mega-band for two nights only. The attempt was successful, so brilliant in fact that it was my first crush on the widely acclaimed Karkwa, whom I have since completely fallen in love with. The rocky edge of Karkwa blended with the spacey melodies of Patrick Watson enhanced both of their acts so beautifully that it gave a whole new meaning to the live music experience for me. Without getting lost in endless Phish-like jams, the handful of talented musicians created a fresh passion and joy that developed playfully right before our eyes in an almost theatrical way. There was just so much energy coming from that stage it made me feel like this was just so much more than just a concert.

Jason Collett -2008Jason Collett came through Montreal for the first time this year during the first warmer springs of April, but he heated up Petit Campus like it was the middle of July. Collett steped up on those planks with his trademark plaid shirt to play his folksy tunes, but the show he put on was just so much more than that. In all of my years of music listening, I have never even once thought that folk music could be even remotely sexy. Sweet, yes; pulling heart strings even sometimes, but never sexy. That was until steamy-man Collett came to Montreal. Rolling around on the floor with his guitar and dropping to his knees in the most sensual move I have ever seen a musician pull on stage (let alone while keeping his clothes on) is just part of what made this concert so great. What really tops off a concert for me is when musicians I love manage to make something really special out of the live experience for their audience while taking the music so much further than their already-amazing records. I liked Collett before, but since that show, I've adored him.

There are concerts that make you feel great, while others can make you discover new music, new bands, and sometimes even make you feel overwhelmed with joy just thinking back to those fabulous intimate and special moments you can share with a band while they perform, as though the world stops turning and it's just you and them in the world. This is probably my favorite thing about this city: not only do we have great bands playing every week, but they keep coming back because they love us as an audience. The record industry may suffer from all the technology, but it's the people who dish out their hard-earned bucks to go see touring bands that sustains the great amount of superbly talented musicians that we have in this country. And to that affect, I applaud Montrealers who keep going to shows in great numbers. Here's to you, because it wouldn't be possible without your undying love for live music. But mostly, keep it up folks!

Which ones were your favorite musical moments of 2008? What show blew your mind?

Photos by SarahBrideau.com

Discussion

14 Comments

hofo96 / December 21, 2008 at 06:34 pm
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I saw quite a few shows but the ones that stand out are Sam Shalabi at the masonnic temple, Mark Berube at the Divan Orange, and Lenny Kravitz' encore at the Bell Centre stand out in my mind.
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