POP Montreal’s Friday night loft concert on St. Laurent Blvd. was a huge hit. Featuring the Postelles, Dinosaur Bones and Armen at the Bazaar, the show went on until 2 a.m., when the cops cut it three performances short. The party, however, carried on into the early hours of Saturday morning.
This was the organizer’s second such party, officially known as Hollerado’s Annual Pop Montreal Nacho House. Hollerado is an Ottawa-based rock band that coined the nacho house party concept last year. A surefire recipe for success, this party brings together music, alcohol and specially prepared nachos, all under one residential roof.
A highlight of the evening was the one-man act Armen at the Bazaar, the second performer of the night, who wooed everybody with his voice and music. This 23-year-old Toronto native had people singing along with his more mellow songs such as “ZED” and dancing to faster numbers like “Fire.” Stylistically similar to Imogen Heap and self-professed to be inspired by tUnE-YarDs, Armen uses looping to create his desired effect. He begins by creating various sounds with instruments like drums, guitar and his own voice, recording them as he goes, and then replaying them at intervals during the song. The true attraction is his strong and melodious voice; Armen began training at the Toronto Children’s Chorus at the age of four.
Now a McGill graduate living in Montreal, this fiercely ambitious musician is determined to make his name on the indie scene. His music so far is a blend of folk, pop and indie, but what he’s working on these days, or nights rather, is “borderline dancy.” Since Armen has a day job, he puts in studio time at night, going for at least five hours at a time. He is also a huge fan of electronic music, which might come as a surprise to his listeners, but he is certain electro beats will make their way into his music in the future. He feels his music so far has been lacking percussion, and he is working hard to incorporate this into his next EP. The goal, Armen said, is to get people dancing.
Another appeal to Armen’s creations are his lyrics. Although he suspects they are his weakest link and confessed to having trouble writing them, his lyrics do not lack depth. He has a theory that seems to help him, which is to avoid over-thinking it. “If you start thinking too much about what you write, it sounds contrived.” Armen feels his other area vulnerability is his lack of classical training. He has a lot of respect for people who know their theory well, but relies more on gut and uses his ear to figure out what he needs to play. “Trial and error is such a huge part of my songwriting,” he admitted.
Armen’s first official tour as a solo artist begins the first week of November in Montreal. He will then make his way to Toronto, New York, Boston, Maine, Vermont and Ottawa, coming full circle back in Montreal Nov. 18 at Casa del Popolo.
The Postelles, from New York City, had the crowd of some 200 people dancing, crowd-surfing and converting the place into a mosh pit in response to their electric performance and edgy beats. Dinosaur Bones also added flavor to the night with some fast tunes that gave the audience what it wanted, finishing up just in time for the police bust. Hip-hop group Grand Analog was due to play next, offering a change up from the indie vibe, but the incredible noise level and people waiting in a lineup downstairs may have been what ushered in the cops, robbing them of their turn onstage.
For those who were hoping to see cancelled performers Grand Analog, Ismism and The Balconies play last Friday, check out their MySpace pages for upcoming shows, and pray the cops don’t piss on the party.