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'Such a cool line-up!' What to see at POP Montreal 2016

PART II: Performers/Concordia grads from Heathers and Nancy Pants share their top festival picks
September 22, 2016
By Arwen Jean Fleming


At POP Montreal this year, it's a case of so many Concordians, so little time...

This week, we're running a three-part "mini" series to cover as many as we can. This is Part II of our POP Montreal extravaganza; read Part I here.


At POP Montreal on Friday, September 23, at 9 p.m. at Turbo Haüs.

Heathers is a critically-acclaimed three-piece post-punk / grunge band featuring guitarist and Concordia grad Heather Hardie (BFA 13), bassist and vocalist Helen Chau Bradley and drummer Nikki MacMillan. Fresh from the success of their recent U.S. tour, the band is now enjoying a jam-packed show schedule at home in Montreal.

“After that,” says Hardie, “we're planning to take a small break from playing to focus on writing and recording over the winter. We plan to release a new full-length album in the spring!”

Heathers got its start during the 2012 student strikes, when Hardie was studying art education at Concordia.

“We were all in school at the time,” she says, “and one of our first songs was about the kettling that took place during the demonstrations. As students it felt really good to have a musical outlet to vent those frustrations, and also to learn and create something together.” 

The band is also committed to promoting up-and-coming local talent. In 2014, they co-founded the queer feminist record label Saturn Returns with fellow Montreal bands Doilies and Loosestrife. The label showcases queer-identified performers while prioritizing accessible venues and anti-oppressive practices.

Hardie and her bandmates are also ardent supporters of Rock Camp for Girls, a local organization dedicated to fostering the musical talents of girls and gender-non-conforming youth.

“We love seeing more women getting involved in music,” says Hardie. “If any current students are interested in starting a band or learning how to play an instrument they should take part in the Riot Grrrl Band Off in the spring. That's where our band formed four years ago!”

Heather Hardie’s top picks for the fest

  • Chevalier Avant Garde + Freelove Fenner + Brave Radar + Phern + Mavo
    Studio Rialto, 5719 avenue du Parc | Thursday, September 22, at 9 p.m.
    “The Fixture Records showcase has such a cool lineup. I've been fanning over Chevalier Avant Garde for a while but have yet to see them. We have band practice that night but I hope to catch the show after!”
  • This Filthy World: an evening with John Waters
    Theatre Rialto, 5723 avenue du Parc | Saturday, September 24, at 8 p.m.
    “Because it's so hard to only choose two, I have to include this event. I love John Waters and his kitschy gross humour and aesthetic. He's also such a great storyteller — I'm really excited he's coming for POP Montreal!” 
Nancy Pants | Photo by Sean Vadaru Adam Waito (BA 07) from Nancy Pants: "it's probably better in the long run just to throw yourself completely into whatever you truly want to be doing." | Photo by Sean Vadaru

Nancy Pants

At POP Montreal on Friday, September 23, at 9 p.m. at O Patro Vys, and on Saturday, September 24, at 9 p.m. at Bar Le Ritz PDB.

Nancy Pants is a self-described “lo-fi, dirty-garage-psychedelic-punk-dream-pop project” featuring Adam Waito (BA 07), Ohara Hale and Jeremy MacCuish. The band has just returned home following its first European tour, where they premiered tracks from their second soon-to-be released full-length record.

Waito, a graduate of Concordia’s sociology program, is a longtime veteran of POP Montreal, having performed in past years with festival favourites Telefauna, Adam & The Amethysts and Miracle Fortress.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing him play live, you may recognize his distinctive artistic style — since the early 2000s, Waito has illustrated eye-catching posters for some of the city’s biggest music events, including POP Montreal, Blue Skies Turn Black, Passovah Fest and Suoni Per Il Popolo.

“Since moving to Toronto last fall,” Waito says, “I've made freelance illustration my primary mode of ‘employment’ aside from music. I contribute drawings regularly to Vice and Munchies, as well as other diverse clients, and make comics and zines for fun.” He recently illustrated a series of film comics to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

“I've been working on new music in my garage that I may consider releasing at some point, either as Adam & The Amethysts or under some new moniker — I haven't decided yet!”

Many of Waito’s earliest musical partnerships were formed during his studies at Concordia.

“Socially, attending Concordia was crucial to my integration into the Montreal scene,” he says. “The People's Potato was a real social hub for me, especially in my first year! Student events were also really important, like the Art Matters parties, for example.

A lot of current big-time indie superstars went to Concordia and got their start playing at things like that. I think one of the first Arcade Fire shows was in the Hall Building somewhere — I'm not kidding!”

Waito says he sometimes wonders if he should have gone to art school, but he has no regrets about studying social sciences. “It was intellectually enriching, even if I don't specifically use my sociology degree much nowadays.”

“If you want to become a professional artist or musician,” he says, “it can be good to have a backup. Only a lucky few actually get to quit their day jobs. But it's probably better in the long run just to throw yourself completely into whatever you truly want to be doing.”

Adam Waito’s top picks for the fest


The 2016 POP Montreal festival runs September 21 to 25. Find out more about Concordia’s alumni network.


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