M for Montreal Takes a Psychedelic Turn On Its Fourth and Final Night
Last night (Nov. 22) here at M for Montreal, the fates guided us toward psychedelic rock, and we followed them to the end of the road. Join us on our final dispatch from M for Montreal as we recount our final journey through acid visions and garage crunch.
The Montreal band Elephant Stone were on our list of the acts we needed to see while we were here this week. In that list, we compared Elephant Stone to Tame Impala, and gave them a nod for their pop songs.
At La Vitrola last night, Elephant Stone replicated their recordings live, with some minor freak-outs sprinkled in -- including most of frontman Rishi Dhir's sitar parts, played live on a real-life sitar. Elephant Stone don't quite have the pop chops of Tame Impala, and they might have compensated a bit by going out on a limb last night -- instead, they played it relatively safe. They're a good band we'd love to see again, but we'd be excited to see them stretch out in either regard.
Heat also knocked out a set at La Vitrola last night. We'd seen the band play at Cafe Cleopatra on Thursday night, and were thoroughly impressed then with the way their twin guitars meshed and melded, resulting in a thrumming, strutting '60s rock sound. They lock together on extended garage-rock runs like the Strokes, and when they get in a steady groove it is a treat to listen to.
For the most part, the vocals are a close imitation of Lou Reed; what they lack, and what made Reed -- and successful copycats like the Violent Femmes and the Modern Lovers -- great was their capacity to surprise, particularly with their lyrics. Unfortunately, listening to Heat sing about "getting f--ked up with [their] friends" isn't as compelling as listening to Reed talk about scoring smack in Harlem.
(By the way -- if there's any breakout star of this year's M for Montreal, it's the Rickenbacker guitar. Elephant Stone all rocked shiny Rickenbackers, including Dhir's beautiful bass; Heat all swayed with Rickenbackers in hand during their brief set tonight. We notice these things.)
Down at Le National, on the other side of the entertainment drag, Thee Oh Sees surprised no one by turning in a furious, physically absorbing set. Now a lean three-piece band, with enough overloaded bass to give you welts on your eardrums, the band blasted through great punk rock tunes, whether you recognized them from one of their last 11 albums or not. There's nothing new here, but the thrill is alive and well. Thee Oh Sees are still worth the price of admission.
Also throwing their hats in the psych ring: Sandveiss, Black Sabbath worshippers from Quebec City who can trudge through the sludge with the best of them, but could use a little more growl; and Jack Name, a lo-fi electronic outfit that drone over the top of their vocal melodies, piercing your heart with cacophony but hiding god-knows-what under there.
We also caught a set from nu-metallers DOT, who, as you will see, had lights strapped to their heads. Check out our exclusive pics from last night below: