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‘Themes of chance, absurdity and anxiety’: what to see at POP Montreal 2016

Performers/Concordia grads from GG Love, High & Mighty, St. Lawrence Warehouse Company and yoo doo right share their top festival picks
September 23, 2016
By Arwen Jean Fleming

Concordian Georgia Graham lends her vocals to synth-pop trio GG Love. Concordian Georgia Graham lends her vocals to synth-pop trio GG Love.

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 III of our POP Montreal extravaganza; read Part I here and Part II here.

GG Love

At POP Montreal this Saturday, September 24 at 9 p.m. at Club Lambi.

GG Love is a synth-pop trio comprised of bassist Michael Cota and Concordia students Georgia Graham and James Player on vocals, keyboards and guitar.

The band launched their debut album, Looking Cool, last summer to critical acclaim. They followed it up with a Canadian tour and a playful, tongue-in-cheek video by music scene enfant terrible Jordan Minkoff (best known for last year’s Arcade Fire mockumentary, Playing With Fire).

Released as a limited edition cassette, the band’s now sold-out album features hypnotic dance beats, shimmery synths and the soothing vocal stylings of Graham, its frontwoman.

“My time lately has been spent at school, at work and writing songs at the studio,” says Graham, who studies photography at Concordia. She adds that balancing her school work with a music career can be challenging, but it’s also really helpful for staying focused and motivated.

“I like having two main creative outlets because they influence each other both indirectly and directly. When I'm burnt out on one I turn my focus to the other. At school I'm given the opportunity to work on my own stuff while learning from the people around me which is so great.”

Graham and her bandmates are currently hard at work on their next full-length album, which they hope to launch early next year.

“GG Love is different in that it's very much a collaboration. I feel really lucky to be making music with James and Mich," Graham says "I've lived in Montreal for three years and I continue to be impressed by the creative energy of the people I've met, and their commitment to art and music. I've found the community to be very supportive."

Georgia Graham’s top picks for the fest

  • Carla Sagan + Un Blonde
    Casa del Popolo (4873 St. Laurent Blvd.) | Thursday, September 22, at 8:30 p.m.

  • Annette Peacock 
    Ukrainian Federation, Salle Exclaim! (5213 Hutchinson St.) | Sunday, September 25 at 8 p.m.

High & Mighty

At POP Montreal this Saturday, September 24 at 9:30 p.m. at Barfly.

High & Mighty is a recent transplant to Montreal’s music scene. Founded by Salt Spring Island natives Clayton and Jake Upex, the punk folk act is bolstered by local talents Ben Massicotte on guitar and Daniel Moscovitch (BA 08) on drums. The band’s heartwarming sound balances soulful nostalgia with inventive rock riffs.

“High & Mighty is anything but, and everything still,” says Moscovitch, referring to the group’s desire to push genre boundaries.

Moscovitch says Concordia’s Department of Music provided him with crucial support early on in his career. “So many of us were given a chance to succeed and learn in the program when other schools weren’t necessarily willing to give us that chance,” he says. “I think because of that, many of us feel the need to pay that forward in our careers.”

“Concordia also taught me to choose my partners and bandmates wisely, avoid negative egos and push the limits.”

In recent years, Moscovitch has branched out into music production and band management.

“I’m currently producing a full album with High & Mighty,” he says, “while mixing and producing records for various other artists and backing up various others on drums.”

Dan Moscovitch’s top picks for the fest

  • Little Scream 
    La Sala Rossa (4848 St. Laurent Blvd.) | Thursday, September 22 at 9 p.m.“Little Scream is totally fresh and fearless with their ideas and I love the surprises that lurk in their songs.”
  • Po Lazarus
    Club Lambi (4465 St. Laurent Blvd.) | Friday, September 23 at 9 p.m.“They’re releasing their first album during POP, so it’s definitely going to be a crazy show.” 

St. Lawrence Warehouse Company St. Lawrence Warehouse Company performs "Grace" for Klatsch Sessions.

St. Lawrence Warehouse Company / yoo doo right

St. Lawrence Warehouse Company plays POP Montreal this Sunday, September 25 at 9 p.m. at Divan Orange.

yoo doo right plays POP Montreal this Friday, September 23 at 8:30 p.m. at La Vitrola.

St. Lawrence Warehouse Company (SLWC) is a collective of musical storytellers dedicated to crafting urban folk songs that blend experimental sounds with traditional Canadiana.

Four of its members — violinist Isabella Harned, accordionist Bashu Naimi-Roy, multi-instrumentalist Marc Richard and drummer John Talbot — are current Concordia students, while flautist Laura Glover (BA 13, Gr. Dip. 16) is an alum.

Talbot, who's studying anthropology at Concordia, is performing double duty at this year’s POP fest as the drummer for both SLWC and yoo doo right, a post-punk rock outfit that draws inspiration from krautrock rhythms and ambient soundscapes.

In addition to Talbot, the band’s lineup includes guitarist Justin Cober, bassist Charles Masson and fellow Concordia student Charles Bourassa on synthesizer and pedals.

Improvisation, genre-bending and a raucous, high-intensity sound are central to yoo doo right’s style, Talbot says. “We’re choosing to ultimately not be limited by expectations of genre and engage with themes of chance, absurdity and anxiety.”

Both SLWC and yoo doo right will be releasing full-length albums later this fall and Talbot is looking forward to hitting the road to share new sounds with their fans. “Aside from music,” he adds, “I am looking very forward to finishing my degree this year!”

John Talbot’s top picks for the fest

    Piccolo Little Burgundy (5719 Parc Ave.) | Thursday, September 22 at midnight.
  • Holy F*ck 
    Fairmount Theatre, Salle Shure (5240 Parc Ave.) | Thursday, September 22 at 9:30 p.m.

POP Montreal runs September 21 to 25. Read
Part 1 and Part 2 of our series profiling Concordians performing at the 2016 POP Montreal festival and find out more about Concordia’s alumni network


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