I’ve never had older siblings. Growing up, it’s strange having no guide to follow – you have to figure things out for yourself all the time. I’m not saying that I’m an ideal person to look up to, but at least when it came to things like getting caught by my parents with drugs or applying to University, my younger siblings had it easier. Or, at the very least, they knew what not to do.
M for Montreal is a relatively young festival in comparison to the institution that is POP Montreal. People have a hard time figuring out exactly what it is, and how it differs from POP. Truth be told, this festival is still finding it’s own voice in one of North America’s music-hubs. The fertile hips of Montreal have given POP a little brother, and now, it’s his turn to make friends.
M for Montreal, as always, focuses almost exclusively on local talent, giving it the kind of edge that a local beer will have over a Heineken. It really is a who’s who of the up-and-coming Mile Enders. This year’s line up even has exclusive hype-performances that are restricted to “gold or bronze members” such as Phil Collins-wave D’Eon or the ethereally grungy Doldrums. Where POP has a secret love affair with Arbutus Records, M for Montreal has space for artists such as Edmonton rapper Cadence Weapon, or the established francophone darling Philémon Chante.
A quick look at the M for Montreal line up prompts a response of “I don’t know any of these bands,” and that’s exactly this festival’s charm. Take the time to discover well established acts like Tornstartsbandht, Peter Peter, or Active Child. They will probably be in your iTunes a year from now, after they follow the classical College Music Journal music marathon >South by Southwest->European Festivals flowchart of fame. It’s always better to be able to say, “I saw them a long time ago, they were pretty good, I guess” than “I really want to see so and so!”