Socalled / Kali / Dishwasher / Miracle Fortress / Magnus Friendship Cove, Montreal QC - March 4, 2006

According to The Globe and Mail, not only is Edmonton the new Montreal, but it’s better, because here in Montreal every band sounds like Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade. While reductive missives fired off from Toronto are nothing new, anyone who made it to this show, smack dab in the middle of nowhere, was treated to some of the variety that will always come out of the MTL, regardless of where the pens are pointed. Situated in a space that serves as band rehearsal spot, yoga studio and apartment for some of the evening’s musicians, what started off as a slightly awkward art party turned into one of those shows you can brag about actually being at years later. Magnus warmed up the crowd with some perfectly executed geek-hop built on the real deal beats of the duo’s Graham Van Pelt. Pelt, who appeared solo next as Miracle Fortress, took the evening’s one misstep, as the guitar feeback/noodling went a bit long and brought the momentum back down to zero. Dishwasher is Martin Cesar from Donkeyheart (and more recently, with Van Pelt in Think About Life), and Jebus Christ, he’s on some next shit. With his back turned to the crowd, he delivered a truly odd set of visuals, comedy skits with a stuffed animal and purposely off-kilter drumming; it’s hard to know exactly what it was, but knowing it was good was easy. The star of the night, though, was clearly Socalled. The multi-talented musician and producer, whose music is being reduced down to the cutesy (and insulting) title of "heeb-hop,” had the place on its feet within minutes, getting the crowd to sing along to songs they didn’t know and that Socalled appeared to have composed on the spot. One of his greatest skills is an ability to bring disparate music together, and he did so here to perfection, calling up, among others, Kali for an incredible dancehall/klezmer mash-up, and beloved local songstress Katie Moore, for the amazing "Cowboy Song.” While Kali, who brought along a guitar and a female vocalist, dropped a serious acoustic set of reggae and dancehall songs, the place was still obviously recovering from Socalled’s musical kick-ass-ity.