The beast was wild. With layers and layers of epic violin tracks atop of controlled chaos provided by Jim White's drumming — thank you, mate, for stepping away from 4/4 beats — and Mick Turner's stoic-dynamic/passive-aggressive approach to improvisation, the Silver Ariel trophy recipient and his crew tore into numbers like "Sometimes I Forget You've Gone" and "Some Summers They Drop Like Flies."
And as the magnitude of the sound kept being amped up by Ellis's demonic cries — coming from lungs that no human being can claim to be endowed with — the question at the back of the room was: who is making all that racket? Is the crowd chanting along, or has the band been granted with extra voices by a trick of the brain and a notch of metempsychosis?
Chances are this was Pop's strongest show so far. Someone give this man a microphone and let him try to out-cool Cave next time the Bad Seeds are in town. No, wait. Someone give this man a late-night show and let's make sure it does not take 10 more years for Dirty Three to come back to Montreal.
To see Exclaim!'s Pop Montreal photo gallery, head here.