Thursday and Friday were big nights for local promoting company Passovah Productions. Hosting a two-part series of shows, the company celebrated its three years on the Montreal scene.
Founder Noah Bick started Passovah in 2007 and since then, it’s grown from producing small shows at local underground venues to hosting over 70 different gigs around the city. Having cut his teeth with local promoters Pop Montreal and Blue Skies Turn Black, Bick decided to use Passovah “to either help friends or make friends.” As he explains it, “I’ve made it my mantra to only book bands that I’m friends with or that I really respect.”
In that vein, last week Bick assembled an impressive cast of local talent. Beginning at Divan Orange, Thursday featured a three-part rock show, with local favourites Special Noise headlining the set. Following a hypnotizing performance by solo act Royal Palm was Ancient Kids, an all-star band featuring members of other local acts like Sunset Rubdown and Adam & The Amethysts. Speaking to Ancient Kids guitarist/vocalist Jordan Robson-Cramer before the show, he explained how Bick asked him to do a show, but he “was never ready.”
But after three years of offers from Bick, he & his co. finally took the stage to deliver a refreshingly straightforward indie-pop set that featured minimal reverb and synthesizer and Robson-Cramer’s clear, soulful voice, and no synthesizers. Unfortunately this didn’t last long, as Special Noise took the stage to deliver an ear-splitting show that was far too loud for Divan Orange’s limited space. A spectator after the show succinctly described the band as “music that promotes hearing loss rather than actual melody.”
Thankfully, the decibels remained manageable on Friday for the second part of the celebrations, which took place at Il Motore. Featuring an impressive lineup of new and older favourites from Montreal, the show featured seven local bands who came together to play cover sets.
The night demonstrated the communal goodwill between Bick and his artists. Each set was laidback, with musicians who seemed truly pleased to be playing. A welcome sense of lightheartedness filled the room as artists joked in between songs or cracked up at their own cover versions.
Bick, a fan of the Talking Heads, was looking forward to a cover of the ‘80s band by Play Guitar. His status as a full-time student means that Passovah is now producing less gigs. “It’s pretty exciting to be able to work with them,” explained Jeff Simmons of Play Guitar, in light of the scaling back.
In a city full of fledgling promoters, it can be hard to gain a proper foothold. Yet Noah Bick demonstrated that what Montreal needs is a little more fun. With a scene that seems to get increasingly affected by the day, a bit of youthful exuberance was a refreshing change of pace.
Check out Passovah Productions at www.passovah.com