Sunday, the day of rest, but everyone knows there’s no rest for the wicked or festival goers such as myself (so just call it Sunday, the final day of POP Montreal). Even though the schedule was not as jam-packed as previous days, there were still a fair amount of day activities and concerts to go to. Early in the afternoon I made my way to the POP Headquarters (HQ), a huge mansion-like building that’s taken over by the festival during the week. I decided to hit up some of the early day activities like the symposium and the bluegrass BBQ.
Every year POP Montreal hosts the POP Symposium at its POP HQ. The symposium focuses on different topics around music like Touring 101 or Women in Indie Music. The day’s panel, called “EMC Present: From Both Sides of the Stage” was hosted by POP Montreal and the Entertainment Management Conference (EMC). The talk was moderated by Aïsha Vertus a Dj, Journalist and curator, and included panelists Kaitlyn Daley from Blue Skies Turn Black, Peter Edwards, Studio Director, VP and founder of Indica Records,
as well as lead guitarist for Grim skunk, and finally Julie Fainer, or DJ Killa-Jewel. The chat was filled with great musician and industry related insight about the work behind and on stage, as well as some inspirational words of wisdom throughout. My educational afternoon ended with a record fair, some bluegrass music and pirogies at the BBQ right outside the building.
Sunday night was more of a relaxed affair compared to the venue hopping of the night before. After looking at the schedule I decided to head over to Petit Campus and set up camp there for the evening. The night promised some interesting female lead bands, with Soccer Mommy, Stef Chura, and headliner of the evening, Jay Som.
Petit Campus, a small venue located in the same building as Cafe Campus, gave more of a casual jazz night vibe with its tall table setup, making bands have to work a little harder to get people to the front of the stage. The night began with Soccer Mommy. The indie-rock/bedroom pop band from Nashville started off with one of her more well known songs, “Try”. It’s the kind of music you hear at home while looking at the ceiling, not really the stand up and dance type of thing. Her dreamy/somber indie-rock music somewhat went with the relaxed ambiance of the venue, but throughout I found the performance to be a bit monotone, with little interaction with the crowd. She ended her set with some slower songs like “Allison” playing solo without drums or bass, giving a quiet ending to her set.
Stef Chura was up next and I had no idea what to expect, but I was definitely not expecting the unique vocal style that made up her performance. Her sudden dramatic yodel-like shifts through different high pitches and falsettos reminded me of an exaggerated indie-rock Shakira (her early singer-songwriter years, not the “Hips Don’t Lie” years) with a bit of Alanis Morissette. At the beginning her singing sounded charged and incoherent to me, but as the set went on it seemed to subdue a little and fit her music better. Stef Chura slowly let her personality out as she chatted with the audience and played songs from her debut album “Messes”.
When headliner Jay Som took the stage you could tell right away the band had the sort of chemistry you’d enjoy watching. The charismatic lead singer, Melina Duterte, chatted with the crowd throughout the show by making silly comments and trying to get us excited and motivating us to loosen ourselves up a little. Jay Som started the set with “Everybody Works”, the title track of her newest album that came out this year. Throughout the set Melina and her bandmates played out several onstage gimmicks, looking like kids playing in their garage. It was refreshing to see a band playfully enjoying their set. Jay Som rocked out hard to some songs as the bassist flipped his long hair back and forth in text book rock n roll fashion. They played popular songs like “Baybee” and “The Bus Song” making the crowd move their feet to the catchy guitar rhythms and synths. Jay Som ended the show with a short solo set playing “I Think You’re Alright” and “Lipstick Stains”. Towards the end of the songs the band came back in to bring the set to a strong close. Jay Som’s on stage personality, vocals, and overall sound make them most definitely worth the watch!
And with that another POP Montreal year comes to an end with some great music discovery. Happy Sweet Sixteen, and see you next year!
Find out More: