We played two shows this summer after a relatively long period of dormancy. The shows were super fun. I want to give a big thank you to the promoters, the other artists we played with, and everyone who came out. These were the kind of shows that remind me why we do this crazy thing.
Our show at Pop Montreal was a little less triumphant. I don’t know if it was the bill of wildly disparate acts, or just the simple fact that it was a rainy Wednesday night at midnight, but we had trouble getting out a crowd. Having said that, the crowd we did get was of a high quality, with some old friends and some people who’d never seen the WP in action, and who liked what they saw.
Onstage, I had to internally repeat my mantra that it’s as important to give the same quality of show for a small crowd as a big one. I really believe that, but I sometimes feel like saying to festivals, and other promoters: if you put us in front of a big crowd ready to have fun, we will deliver. Repeatedly proven, that’s the WP guarantee.
I saw a number of other enjoyable shows at Pop this year, floating around ADD-style with the privilege of my artist’s pass, but the highlight didn’t happen until the final night of the fest.
On Sunday night I wandered downtown to see the Unicorns reunion. For anyone who missed it, these guys were a cornerstone of the whole “Montreal music scene” explosion (Arcade Fire’s first big US tour was opening for them)—or would have been, if they hadn’t broken up at the height of their fame.
I thought the show would be like a high school reunion, full of old-timers, but to my surprise it was mostly younger people who never had a chance to see the band back in the day. I was happy to see the guys get their due, but seeing them play songs from their only album, recorded when they were still teenagers, didn’t hold that much appeal to me. Maybe the past 10 years have gone by too quickly for me to feel nostalgia! I snuck out and biked up to Divan Orange to see Shonen Knife.
And man, am I glad I did. Their showmanship, energy and songs totally renewed my faith in rock n’ roll, as corny as it sounds. And I know everyone there felt the same way. It’s been years since I’ve seen a show where the room was so full of joy. When I think about it, it’s crazy that a band that’s been around for over 30 years, and that toured with Nirvana post-Nevermind among many other accomplishments, was playing such a small room. But what fun to be in that room.
Oh, and one more plug: this Sunday, September 28, I’m super stoked and honoured to be co-hosting one of my favourite radio shows, Free Kick, on CKUT in Montreal. I’ll be digging deep into my collection for strange gems and hopefully previewing some new stuff by favourite artists. It’s from 11am-1pm on 90.3 FM in Montreal or ckut.ca.