indie montreal 2013: review

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photo by lorraine albert

indie montreal spans a lot of days and a lot of venues, and i would have loved to attend all the shows. but i decided to choose one show to attend, and of course, i chose the motel raphael x lakes of canada x inlet sound show at divan orange last week. is it starting to look like i’m stalking motel? i just really like folk music, okay?!

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photo by lorraine albert

the week of their indie montreal show was also, coincidentally, the week that motel raphael found out they’d come in first place for the regional round of CBC’s searchlight competition – the hunt for canada’s best new artist. so needless to say, spirits were high all around, and when i arrived at divan orange, the girls couldn’t keep the smiles off their faces as just about everyone in the venue congratulated them and gushed about their general awesomeness. a really lovely precursor to the show, where motel would be opening for montrealers lakes of canada, and toronto-based folk band (and fellow searchlight regionals winners) inlet sound.

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photo by lorraine albert

motel raphael took the stage, joined by livia morris on the trumpet, and the replacements for their usual bandmates, milo johnson on upright bass and mark beland on the drums. the mega-watt smiles were still plastered on their faces as they opened with young, followed by a personal favourite, walk back to me.  i am more impressed with these girls every time i see them – especially when it’s obvious how much heart is behind their music. maya led the girls in an acoustic version of sweet brown’s infamous youtube song, ain’t nobody got time for that – it was just as awesome as you’re imagining it to be – before the girls performed their hit (and the song they’re nominated for in searchlight), ghosts. and in a totally non-cheesey but entirely predictable way, the crowd went absolutely nuts. mega-watt smiles continued. be sure to check out the video for ghosts here! the girls played jameson (their twangiest song, and another personal favourite), pretty distractions, and rooftop of romolo’s, before closing with the beautiful harmonies of london and up north.

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next up was lakes of canada, a five-piece choral folk band whose sound is somewhere between fleet foxes and the civil wars. lead vocalist jake smith has a pretty powerful set of pipes on him, and it was really a pleasure to hear them play. lakes opened with a stunning number dedicated to iconic canadian folk artist stompin’ tom connors, who had passed away a few days prior. they followed it up with a moving, emotive song – their second dedication, this time to smith’s girlfriend (recognizable by her shy smile at his very sweet words) (i tried not to throw my drink at them) (just kidding, guys). they also moved into the crowd to perform an unreal a capella number that brought the house down (almost literally, there was so much stomping) (yes it WAS like out of a movie, in case you were wondering).

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inlet sound, a five-piece folk-rock band from toronto, led by michael wexler, closed the night. they performed a solid set that was comprised of some equally solid tracks from their recently released LP, the romantics. they performed completely uninhibitedly, and the band’s chemistry together was ineffable – their four years together has created an amazing stage presence, and solidified their alternative-meets-indie-folk sound. their single, magnetic north is pretty with an edge, and a good representation of their sound – listen to that one here.

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