Summer in Montreal means Festivals ! Last year I had the chance to cover Pouzza Fest and Francofolies. This year my first festival of the year was the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.
Again, big thank you to Thorium which allowed me to do this on the 4th and 5th of July.
Let’s go for some photos !
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal – 4th July:
My first band of the night was Aurora Nealand & The Royal Roses. Typical jazz band (for me). A nice way to start the festival and get in the mood. Nothing special to say about this one, I did not found them bad, nor good, just nice for a non jazz listener like me.
Moving to the main stage I had the chance to have the amazing Urban Science Brass Band, and their “marching” show, getting in front of the stage. It was a really nice surprise, these people know how to deal and make a crowd dance. With the music, we got some breakdancers and musician battle. Really cool.
They will be there tomorrow also, I will not miss them.
A minute after the USBB finished Annie G. Roy arrived on stage. The young, 20 years old, singer won the Musika contest of the Evenko Foundation and this is not a surprise when she starts to sing. She got a really nice voice that suits perfectly with jazz. I am sure her career in music and jazz will not stop soon.
Change of mood with Dwane Dixon. I think we are closer to rock or blues than jazz, but it does not matter. Really talented guitar player, he delivers to us a really good performance which bring us back to the 60’s/70’s. I definitly recommand it to you if this 60/70/blues/rock sonorities are familiar to your hears.
The “scène du monde” give us a taste of travel with a band specialized in cover of psychedelic Turkish rock songs (When we are talking about niches..): Altin Gün. They are coming from Amsterdam and were really happy to be there. We can saw that as every members is at 100% on stage. Really a nice band that you must check out if you want to discover something different.
Back on the main stage to see Hannah Williams & The Affirmations. She has a wonderful voice that really make her stand out. This very talented singer is join on stage by some back vocals and musicians that are really good too. The band plays some groovy and soul songs totally mastered. You know that I have a real appreciation for the light, and congrats to their light tech, it was amazing ! For a little time we feel like in a fairy world.
My next stop was a one man show. The great Steve Hill made me feel as a whole band playing. But this is not his only talent, he is also reported as a genius guitar player. Title which he totally deserve. It was my favorite show of the night, I did not know I could like blues that much. I strongly recommend you to check him on stage !
Steve HillMy last show of the day was Jupiter & Okwess. It was the perfect choice, the band has so much energy on stage, their African rhythms just make you want to dance. I do not know if I would have listened to them in another context, but they definitely blew my mind.
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal – 5th July:
The second day started with Kepa, not the typical musician as he was a professional skateboarder before taking a guitar and an harmonica to play some mordern blues. His switch was a good choice as his music is really nice and a perfect starter for this new day of festival.
I move quickly to the main stage to be on time for the arrival of Urban Science Brass Band on Place des Arts. I made it and I am able to see the full show, front row. Good choice, the band is really amazing and joyful, making everyone smile. We even had the chance to get a rap impro by one of the singer, using only words written on some spectators’ shirts. BRAVO!
Allison Au and her Quartet is now getting on TD’s stage. They won the Juno 2016 prize for best album of the year and play a jazz with multiple origins. I may not be the best audience for that, but I am sure that Jazz fan would appreciate.
After some time on outside stages, I go check the inside venues to see the opener of Bonobo: Milk & Bone. The duo is here thanks to the last minute cancellation of St-Germain. Their really ambient electronic music is a really good introduction for Bonobo. I will just regret the cruel lack of lighting… not best situation to photograph people.
I move to another opener this time for Beyries: Alela Diane. The languorous mood which came out of her music is not letting me indifferent. I was not expecting this kind of atmosphere. I am not really fan of this kind of songs live, but I will definitely check it on CD. The crowd seemed not to agree with me as they listen carefully and gave nice ovations between the songs.
I was now in front of a dilemma. Cover Bonobo’s or Jain’s show. The schedule was allowing us to, in thoery, cover both, but as Bonobo was a bit late we finally decided to go directly to MTelus to see Jain. At the end, she was also late…
But it does not matter, it was worth the wait and miss of Bonobo as the show was, as always, amazing. She change her cloths for this new album with a more “science fiction” style but her energy is still as crazy as the last time I saw her. It is a show you need to see if you like her music !
Last show of the day for me covering the french artist: Mome ! I did not knew him before, but a friend who was going to see him encouraged me to come to take pictures. When I arrived and see only some DJ set on stage I was a bit afraid that I will only have a man probably standing behind his desk during the whole show… because it is generally not the most exciting subject to photograph.
Finally I was wrong and Mome, really happy to be here, moved a lot and also came in front of the stage, play some guitar and jump as he was a rockstar. A really nice discovery for me and a great showman. No better way to end this day.