Published Jul 26, 2014The Montreal Electronic Groove Festival curated quite a night of left-field experimental (and local!) pop on Friday July 25 at the Sala Rossa. First up was the electronic-punk infused Propofol, who playfully performed the majority of their upcoming album, Commando. Regardless of the fact that there were only a handful of attendees for this earlier set, they were equal parts entertaining (drummer Joe deserves a mention for his hilarious comments that peppered the set) and impressive, with lead singer and bassist Marie-Anne Arsenault performing like a natural rock star. The set was short and tight, making the release of their debut in September more tantalizing.
Up next came DJ/producer Marie-Hélène L. Delorme, a.k.a. FOXTROTT, who proved herself a live force to be reckoned with. Accompanied by a trio of musicians, including a drummer, a drummer/percussionist and a French horn player, they were easily the highlight of the night. They were remarkably confident and had great command of their material, made even more impressive by the fact that this was the first time the band performed live together. Delorme wears her influences well, with the set evoking Björk at times, the Knife at others. The array of percussions (maracas, steel drums, tambourines) never felt like an afterthought, fitting perfectly with the electronic arrangements of the songs.
By their set, the crowd had increased significantly, and FOXTROTT had everybody in attendance at full attention. Delorme took the time to introduce her band and also compliment the two other bands on the bill — all three acts were very complimentary of each other, and it was nice to see such solidarity and support between local artists. Expect to hear substantial buzz surrounding FOXTROTT as she gears up for the release of her debut album, A Taller Us, this fall.
A decidedly simpler setup awaited us for the night's headliner, Mozart's Sister. Two girls, two microphones, two keyboards, and that's about it. And while this should have allowed us to fully concentrate on Caila Thompson-Hannant's vocals and performance, sadly this wasn't always the case. The gig also doubled as a release party for Mozart's Sister debut album, BEING, but it was hard to gauge whether the people in attendance cared, as they dispersed significantly and seemed more interested in chatting than watching the performance. Despite the sound reaching near ear-piercing levels for most of the set, the songs were very catchy, and her performance style was veered between synth-pop, full techno (almost trance) territory and retro-house mode. She gave a cute shout-out to her biggest supporters, her mom and her mom's beau (both standing front row, centre), before launching into the dancehall-tinged "Fire."
While it was by no means a bad performance, it was also far from memorable, made even more apparent after FOXTROTT's incredible set.