September is always a great month for music in Montreal with Pop bringing tons of concerts to the city’s already jam-packed music scene. Here are some of The Main’s picks for the best September concerts:
1. Gaslight Anthem: September 18th @ Metropolis. $27 in advance, $30 day of
The boys of Gaslight Anthem have taken a bit of a left turn with their most recent album, Get Hurt. They’ve left behind the Springsteenian, American heartland-inspired rock of their first three albums and replaced it with a brand of music that has a bit more rhythmic and emotional diversity. Despite this change, though, the New Jersey-based quartet still writes some of the catchiest pure rock tunes of any band out there today. As a bonus, Florida punk rockers Against Me! are set to open the show. This will be the first time Against Me! tours North America since their lead vocalist Laura Jane Grace came out as transgendered.
2. Black Keys September 18th @ Centre Bell. $45-$89.50
This has been a very quiet album cycle for Dan Aurbach and Pat Carney. Their latest album Turn Blue didn’t have as many radio-friendly hits as previous efforts El Camino and Brothers, as the band opted instead for a more psychedelic rock approach. This, however, should not be taken to mean that the Akron boys have lost any of their swag. They still have stadium status and Turn Blue is a great, albeit mildly less danceable, record. Openers Cage The Elephant always bring tons of energy to their live performances as well so this show should be a great time.
3. Twin Shadow: September 19th @ Le Late Night Little Burgundy. $15 in advance, $20 day of.
R&B virtuoso Twin Shadow (nee George Lewis Jr.) has been at the forefront of the 80’s synth-pop revival we currently find ourselves in for quite sometime. His music sounds like everything you loved from the 80’s except with much better production value. With a voice somehow reminiscent of both Peter Gabriel and TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, Lewis also definitely brings the goods live where he is usually accompanied by a three piece backing band. Unreleased material has also recently been peppered into Twin Shadow’s setlists so keep an eye out for that.
4. Bonobo: September 21st @ SAT. $24 in advance, $27 day of.
Bonobo had a mind-blowing set at Osheaga last year and now he’s back for more as part of Pop Montreal. For those who are in to the subtler, finer points of electronic music, this guy’s your man. Bonobo crafts ambient soundscapes with jusssst enough of an underlying beat to get you moving a little bit. If you like electro but don’t like raging and hate boisterous crowds, you will find sanctuary at this show.
5. Black Lips: September 26th @ Club Soda. $29.65
There’s so much to love about the Black Lips. Their ultra stripped down, low-fi approach to rock and roll is a massive breath of fresh air in an era dominated by synths, studio bands and EDM. Furthermore, the Atlanta quartet has no qualms about giving their blood, sweat and tears to the audience during live performances as their shows are famous for copious amounts of nudity and sometimes a little bit of vomiting on the part of the band’s lead guitarist. Their latest album Underneath the Rainbow has a bit of a shinier vibe to it which is almost certainly due to production from The Black Key’s Pat Carney. On the whole though, the band’s seventh release brings more of that distinct edginess that fans have come to love both on record and on stage. If you’re looking to come out of a show smelling like sweat and Molson Dry, this is your gig.
6. Lilly Allen: September 27th @ Metropolis. $34.50-$37
While Allen’s anti-pop narratives have been somewhat undercut by Lorde in mainstream music media these days, the feisty Brit has continued doing her thing despite lessening fanfare. Allen’s third album, Sheezus (awesome) continues to prominently display the songstress’ trademark carefree attitude as well as the strong disdain for pop stars that has gotten her into hot water so many times in the past. The irony of the whole situation, however, is that this disdain for pop is wrapped into some of the catchiest tunes you will ever hear. Recent setlists have seen Allen relying equally on new material and tracks from her classic record, It’s Not Me, It’s You so you should definitely head down to the show if you want to hear a good amount of Allen’s back catalogue.
7. Metric, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Death From Above 1979: September 12th @ Espace Montmorency. $46
There’s nothing I can write about this show that’s going to be able to provide more hype than the names on the bill and the associated price tag. For just $42, you can see 1990’s Indie rock legends Neutral Milk Hotel on a highly anticipated reunion tour, contemporary Canadian indie powerhouse Metric, and DFA 1979 who are promoting their first new album in ten years! $42 is cheaper than it would usually cost to see any of these bands individually! Get out there!
8. Turqoise Jeep: September 17th @ Club Lambi. $17 in advance, $20 day of
The award for most ridiculous/hilarious concert of the month goes to: Turquoise Jeep. This hip-hop parody group has been responsible for several of the most hilarious viral videos of the past few years. I didn’t even know these guys gave live performances until today and the news absolutely made my day. If the video below rings a bell, I’ll see you at Club Lambi.
9. Shovels & Rope: September 28th @ Corona Theater. $22 in advance, $25 day of.
In the wake of the White Stripe’s retirement and The Black Key’s ascension to rock radio glory, Shovels & Rope have taken up the mantle of residing earthy blues two-piece royalty. Although tinged with a bit more of a country vibe than their predecessors, the South Carolina duo still knows how to bring some serious foot stompin’ blues to the table. This is the band’s first appearance in Montreal since a seriously underrated performance at Osheaga in 2013. I have a feeling it will be much more expensive to see them the next time they come around so head on down and see them for cheap while you still can.
10. How to Dress Well: September 14th @ The Belmont. $15 in advance, $20 day of.
Tom Krell aka How to Dress Well is one of those rare breeds of musicians who somehow manages to pull influences from all corners of the music industry and turn them into a style that is at once unique and completely cohesive. Combining a beautiful falsetto with choppy R&B beats and elements of avant guarde noise music, Krell creates tunes that exist somewhere in the musical Bermuda Triangle between Justin Timberlake, James Blake and Aphex Twin. Don’t miss it.
Nik Turner’s Hawkind: September 14th @ Il Motore. $20
Crowbar: September 17th @ Fouf’s. $25
Wand: September 18th @ Casa Del Popolo. $10 in advance, $12 day of.
Timber Timbre: September 19th @ Metropolis. $30
Why?: September 20th @ Vitrola. $18 in advance, $20 day of