POP Montreal 2012

Posted 10 years ago by myetvmedia

POP Montreal is an annual festival that explores the interconnected worlds of music, art, fashion and culture. POP Montreal was launched ten years ago by a group of friends and colleagues in Montreal’s thriving music community. In a span of only five days, the festival welcomes over 600 artists from all over the world, with events at small venues all around the city to create an intimate atmosphere and a strong connection with an audience that can range from fifty to a couple thousand people.

This was my first POP Montreal experience – even with the incredible roster of artists scheduled to play this year, POP Montreal is more underground than you would think, despite the fact that the festival itself seems quite commercial: artists like Catz n Dogz, Peaches, Elite Gymnastics, Grimes, Nicky da B, Parlovr and Shaydakiss were among the most anticipated acts of the festival. I chose four events to attend throughout the weekend, starting with Austra’s free show at the Mission Santa Cruz, sponsored by Converse.


After showing up to the venue about an hour and a half before Austra was set to go on, the line was almost 60 people long. In minutes, the line extended down the street and around the corner – our hour plus wait in line is a story in itself but we finally made it inside, just in time to grab a beer and see Austra come on stage. The venue was, bizarrely, the basement of a Portugese church out in the plateau, and was probably the biggest mistake POP Montreal could have made: the single room was tiny, with a low ceiling and small stage, with no windows and no air circulation so I’m sure you can imagine just how unfortunate the temperature was in there. Despite the heat, Austra played an incredible, although short, set, opening with crowd favourites Spellwork, Beat and the Pulse and Lose It among others – typically crazy high energy, Katie Stelmanis never fails to impress with her fragile yet powerful vocals. Full disclosure: the sound was terrible. Normally, I’m not one to complain too much about sound quality but this was the worst I’ve heard in a long time as the size of the venue made the reverb overwhelming. The show’s highlight was the debut of their new track, Painful Like.

Photo courtesy of: Pop Montreal

POP Montreal’s Indie Show

Next up was the POP Montreal’s Indie Show at Petit Campus on the main, featuring local girls, folk band Motel Raphael, alongside country/roots girl band Oh My DarlingPetit Campus was the perfect atmosphere for the show; intimate yet open, the setting was a great match for the sound. Motel Raphael opened in their typically quirky, honest way with quick introductions of the band members Emily Skahan, Clara Legault and Maya Malkin, before launching into an entirely original set with favourites like GhostsLondon, Rooftop of Romolo’s and Pretty Distractions. The girls, who normally play solo or with bassist Robin Graham, introduced new collaborators Dane Stewart and Olivia Morris on xylophone and trumpet respectively, bringing an entirely fresh sound that spoke to the bigger venue and nature of the festival. Oh My Darling was definitely the wildcard of the festival, but I fell in love with them almost immediately. Based out of Winnipeg, the band is made up of Allison de Groot, Marie-Joseé Dandeneau, Rosalyn Dennett and Vanessa Kuzina, and introduced some serious bluegrass like I’ve never heard before: claw-hammer banjo, upright bass, violin, guitar and all the charm you’d imagine from a four part country girl band. It was a very special moment when Vanessa Kuzina (lead vocals) introduced a song she had written for her grandmother, Won’t Need My Shoes on Heaven’s Floor, with a moving story about her grandmother’s recent passing at 91 years old.

Photo: Emma Robertson

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POP Montreal 2012

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Pop Montreal Promo


  • Marie Darsigny
  • Motel Raphael
  • Purity Ring 2
  • Danica Olders
  • Purity Ring 1

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