Day 3 of the POP Montreal Festival picked up again after a somewhat slow day, giving us actually two Winners: Sebastien Grainger (ex-DFA 1979) and Winnipeg-based indie rockers Novillero.

To continue with Madman’s daily updates of the Montreal POP Festival, and read a short Novillero interview, hit the Jump


Sebastien Grainger:

The night began eating a meal of amazing Tapas (fried goat cheese balls drizzled with honey, plates of olives, coconut curry shrimp, roasted rosemary potatoes with this crazy cream sauce…mmmm…I’m getting hungry just remembering…) at one of Montreal’s more famous dining spots, Sala Rossa (also the bottom floor of the club where the Madman witnessed Silver Apples the night before). After ingesting a superb drinking base, we went straight to Théâtre National to see Sebastien Grainger (formerly of DFA 1979 fame), who has a new LP coming out October 28, Sebastien Grainger and the Mountains. It was a packed show, which is uncommon given the fact he was on at 8 pm. Live, the dude killed it — solid live voice, and his new material is a definite pick-up this month (check out the above track to see if it’s your speed).

I would’ve been able to see more bands, but the Madman got coerced into seeing more of Downtown Montreal that night, and ended up in a gay karaoke bar watching friends make drunken asses of themselves singing Blondie’s “One Way Or Another” and various Madonna vocal abortions. A kid from RCRD LBL, who will remain unnamed, went onstage and nailed a note-for-note rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”. Kid’s an immaculate dresser too, so I think the local resident’s were big fans of his (everyone except the lesbian 4-some in the front row).

But I digress.

I bring that up only to explain why I only saw a few more shows that night, the only ones worth mentioning being An Albatross (awesome noise) and Zombie Zombie.

Luckily, earlier that day I was able to catch Novillero — indie rockers from Winnipeg who were recommended to Lost In A Supermarket by several different Canadians. I missed their headliner showcase the night before, but got super lucky and stumbled across them playing a free BBQ on Friday. That’s the dope thing about POP Montreal — you just stumble across great bands playing all the time.

I saw Novillero perform 4 songs, with 3 different singers — including an indie’d-out cover of Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”. With that many capable singers, it’s pretty easy to expect that they’d have some euphonic multi-part melodies…and they do. Great energy, if not a bit goofy, and as a total bonus their bass player is a dead ringer for the Fonz…after a couple more years of heavy drinking.

We cornered Novillero’s Jack Jonasson (the tambourine player…not kidding), for a quick Q&A. Here’s what he said:

Have you guys ever made it out to California?
We played South by Southwest in 2006, and we met this person named Allison Schneider – she’s a music supervisor for NBC – and she saw us play and liked the band. So she ended up flying us down to LA, and got us a guest appearance on this show called Monk. You know it?

Yeah, that’s the one with the detective with OCD, right? Were your songs used, or were you guys actually on the show?
We were on the show, but we also had two songs on it, too. The whole setup for the episode was we were a band playing at a music festival, and there was a murder at the festival in the middle of our set. So he interrupts us to get a piece of evidence from the audience.

Do one of his tics set in? Like does he bug out cos one of your shirts is untucked?
Uh no, but I tried to touch him at one point and he flipped out.

Now I saw you guys play and three different people sang – who’s the real singer?
We do sort of split our vocal duties. We sprinkle our sets with interesting covers — like we do “Golden Brown” by The Stranglers and a bunch of soul covers — and those all kinda get split around between everybody just to break up the set.

Who’s the lead vocalist?
Rod Slaughter, the keyboardist. And I play tambourine, sing background vocals and play some twinkly keyboards here and there.

So you’re like a legitimate member?
I’m legitimate. I started off as their manager, but now I’m in the band.

What’s the scene like in Winnipeg?
It’s really good. I mean it’s like any other music scene where you have your great bands, your good bands and your shit bands. But it really does seem to me that there are a lot more great bands and good bands than there are shit bands.

But are there a lot of people going out? That’s almost more important to a scene than the quality of the bands — I mean if you got a bunch of shitty bands then of course it’ll suck, but a lot of eager people usually adds up to a good scene.
There’s cycles. People will stop going to shows, but then something will happen — either a new venue will happen and everyone gets excited about that, or a new band comes along that sort of ignites the excitement and a new scene will spring outta that. And so it’s going through a bit of that right now, where there’s a bunch of really great fucking bands in Winnipeg like Crosstown Rivals, Weatherman Underground, and Boats is awesome, Flying Fox and Hunter Gatherer. There’s a really good, healthy scene.

Lots of people talk about how Winnipeg is so super cold, but I think it actually helps. Nobody really wants to go out, so everyone holds up and gets together and drinks and plays music and stuff like that. Everyone ends up at a place and stays there; it’s not the kind of place where you’re gonna go bar-hopping or whatever.

And one of the benefits of Winnipeg is that it’s separated from the bigger music centers of Canada like Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal. Like no offense to bands from those cities, but a lot of bands sort of focus on doing what they need to do to Make It, and I think that’s different in Winnipeg because there’s not that musical industry there. So everyone’s just making music to make music, and to enjoy it, and out of that comes a real honest creativity I think.

If you got stuck sharing a Green Room with any band, who would it be?
Wow. That’s a good question. Can I have a minute to think about that one? (sits back, ponders for about 90 seconds.) You stumped me on this one. I’d say probably the Sex Pistols in 1977, just because I think it would be such a shit show. Black Sabbath maybe? My favorite memories in Green Rooms with bigger bands are always those ones where things just kind of devolved into shit, and so I think Led Zeppelin, or the Sex Pistols or Black Sabbath in their prime, where everyone’s just fucked up.

If you were Lost In a Supermarket, what aisle would we find you in?
Probably the candy aisle. I like candy.


Novillero rocking out the BBQ scene in Montreal. Note Jack jamming that tambourine, man (and the Fonz to his left)…

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