Usually on Sunday night people recover from Saturday night and ease in the upcoming week with Netflix and Chill, football and chicken wings, or another combination which suits the mood. On Sunday November 24th, there was no chilling though, as two hot young electro pop bands hit L’Astral. The venue is one of my favorite live music spots in Montreal because of the tight sound and friendly crowd and staff.
This being Sunday, the dance floor wasn’t packed as Icomfortably parked myself in front of the stage. And, from this vantage point the bands looked beautiful and sounded even better. Brooklyn’s argonaut&wasp opened with a dreamy and powerful set. The Brooklyn-based indie rockers started with synth-heavy dance pop like Phoenix, which was dope because, well, Phoenix rules! Near the end, argonaut&wasp let theirheavy side out, unleashing raw shredding like Dinosaur Jr.
Lead vocalist Trey Schibli said it was the band’s first time playing in Montreal, which seems crazy as New York isn’t far from Montreal and they’ve obviously been at this for a few years because their electronic rock style sounded highly polished. At one point, someone in the crowd yelled out “we need more cowbell!” Schibli responded “yeah, that’s not going to happen.” The four-piece proceeded to rip up the stage with layers of infectious hooks and catchy dance tunes.
The bright guitar twangs and carefree vocals of “Monacillo” blended so seamlessly with the next track it could have been a DJ beat matching. The audience was completely taken in by what was going down and, for once, hardly anyone stared at screens or filmed the show. I doubt it will be argonaut&wasp’slast visit to our city.
Between bands the stage was reconfigured with several long tubes of light placed vertically to illuminate the area with white and neon-coloured columns. The retro-future 80s atmosphere suited Miami Horror, who wore bright white jeans, matching blue track jackets, and sounded like classic synth pop and new wave with a modern French touch. They looked fabulously unfashionable wearing those white pants in Montreal in November!
What else would you expect from Miami Horror’s leader Benjamin Plant but to transport the sunny beach vibe of hisnative Australia to a chilly fall evening in Quebec? On “Leila,” the bright and blissful high energy nu-disco blended flawlessly with modern house music and electro. This was the positivesound to start the week, or finish the weekend, on a high note!
Then, like a rocket launching, the dark synth-pop of “Moon Theory” blasted the crowd to another galaxy. A guy near the stage with perfectly messy bedhead hair and headphones around his neck was obviously was a huge fan of the band judging by the smile on his face all night. He finally let it all out and banged his fist in the air while screaming in ecstasy. The band had touched the right nerves and he went home satisfied.
By the end of the night Miami Horror’s laidback stage presence and perfectly crafted pop music had embraced the crowd like a warm jacket on a cold night. Leaving the venue, I must have had the cheesiest grin on my face from the three hours of nonstop fun and great music. But I didn’t care how stupid I looked smiling from ear to ear as I skipped down the street on a cold and gloomy November night!
Written by Rob Coles
Photography by Marc-Antoine Morin
*edited by Danielle Kenedy