Metronomy lives on Forever

Even in the middle of a snowstorm, this English electronic group was on fire

Up until now, Metronomy has been evolving their sound between each new album. From lo-fi electronica to wonky pop, and from new wave to electronic rock, each release and subsequent tour had its own fresh take on what Metronomy was.

Last year, the band put out their sixth album, Metronomy Forever, a 17-track amalgamation of every genre Metronomy had dabbled in, while still having room for a few surprise twists. This direction also sums up their current tour quite well––Metronomy has brought their performance to the next level while still paying homage to their funky indie roots.

Olugbenga Adelekan on bass guitar and Oscar Cash on keyboard.

Upon arrival last Friday night, Feb. 7, the MTelus venue was quite empty even though it was only a few minutes away from the official start time of the show, most likely due to the unfortunate weather. The supporting act was supposed to be indie-dance artist Charlotte Adigery, but her replacement, Montreal’s own Birds of Paradise, informed the crowd that she was unable to make it. They joked about how it was as much a surprise for us as for them, as they only got called a few hours prior and already had tickets to the show. It ended up being a nice surprise as they captured the crowd’s attention with their unique blend of machine folk and romantic pop. In particular, their cover of Ozzie Nelson’s classic “Dream a Little Dream of Me” was a standout moment.

Metronomy kept it simple this time, at least compared to the gimmicks and wild costumes of their past live shows. A cloth backdrop was the only real set-piece. On either side of the stage, Michael Lovett and Oscar Cash were playing customized synth structures on wheels, with Anna Prior on drums towards the back. Bassist Olugbenga Adelekan and lead singer Joseph Mount were at the front, with plenty of space to dance around. Their set––or lack of one––and the matching white jumpsuits might seem minimal on paper, but the simplicity put an emphasis on the lighting and the music.

Metronomy treated the crowd to an energetic 21-song setlist, packed with their greatest hits and some hidden gems. Between each track from Metronomy Forever were hits from the last few albums crossing all genres while avoiding any jarring changes to the vibe. Every member had a track where they got the spotlight to shine. Prior’s vocals in “Everything Goes My Way” and Oscar Cash’s theremin synth in “Boy Racers” are two good examples.

Throughout the whole night, the crowd could be heard singing along to every track and had great energy. As the set came to an end with “Sex Emoji,” people weren’t ready to go home just yet, and cheered until Mount returned to the stage solo for an acoustic version of “Upset My Girlfriend.” Then the rest of the band slowly made their way back to the stage for a final explosive rendition of “Radio Ladio.”

All together, Metronomy’s concert was a great treat for their biggest fans and a fantastic first show for new ones as they enter a new decade of their career.


Metronomy live on Feb. 7 at MTelus.

Photos by Cecilia Piga


Caveboy––a DIY punk approach to alt-pop

Montreal band Caveboy is ready to share their debut album with the world

In 2015, Caveboy released their first self-titled EP and quickly began the long journey of growing their audience. From playing in festivals such as SXSW, Osheaga, and Pride Toronto, to supporting some incredible acts like Tash Sultana, Tom Walker and Wintersleep, Caveboy has worked hard to grow their audience while still self-releasing all of their music. It doesn’t look like they’ll be stopping any time soon.

Lana Cooney

Since their first EP, the band has continued to release singles and amass fans thanks to their unique new wave 80s pop sound and chaotically-fun live shows. The all-women trio consists of Michelle Bensimon, lead singer and guitarist, bassist Isabelle Banos and Lana Cooney on drums, with whom I recently had the opportunity to chat about their story and the newly released debut album, Night in the Park, Kiss in the Dark.

Cooney, a Concordia alumnus, grew up in a musical home here in Montreal where she gravitated to the drums at the early age of 10. Having a musician for a father meant she had plenty of instruments lying around, which she was always encouraged to mess around with. 

“I was just drawn to the drums,” said Cooney, before diving into her musical journey and the formation of the band. In high school she would go on to be the first female drummer in Lindsay Place high school orchestra, where she started meeting   other musicians and jamming out in her mom’s garage. “And that’s [the garage] where Caveboy got its start too.”

Banos met Cooney on their Cégep orientation day when she spotted the drumsticks sticking out of Cooney’s bag. A few years later, the two friends would go on to invite Bensimon to create the trio that became Caveboy.

Jumping to 2020, Caveboy released their debut album on Jan. 31. It was always a dream of the band’s to produce a full-length album, and they’ve done it. The very relatable album covers themes of being heard, relationships between childhood friends, partners and family.

Isabelle Banos

“There are some ballads, some dance-y ones, and even some psychedelic ones,” is how Cooney describes the album in her 60-second elevator pitch. When asked to pick one song from the album that those new to the band should check out first, she replied “N.Y.P!”

Montreal has and will always be part of Caveboy’s story, with their upcoming official release party on Feb. 8 at the Centre Phi. While the city’s lower cost of living and abundance of small venues has been a great help for getting the band’s feet off the ground, they have their sights set on longer and further tours. It’s a goal of Cooney’s to get on the road as much as they can this year and keep growing. The live performance is equally as important to the band. Adding performance enhancing elements to their live shows has been a focus since the beginning.

Michelle Bensimon

“Stuff like lighting! Not steroids,” said Cooney, with a laugh. From sets, to merch, to social media––they like to be as involved as possible, and every new team member is personally hand-selected, leaving nothing to chance. It’s clear this band is one of the most dedicated ones in the city, and one to keep on your radar this decade. 

Night in the Park, Kiss in the Dark is out now, and it’s not an album you want to miss out on.


Photos by Cecilia Piga.


Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: Bombay Bicycle Club – Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

After six years, Bombay Bicycle Club is back with what they do best

It’s been a long six years since Bombay Bicycle Club’s last album So Long See You Tomorrow came out in 2014. After a three-year hiatus, during which time the London band’s members tried to pursue solo projects, they reunited having realized how much they missed recording together. From this, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong was born.

At 11 tracks long, this fifth studio album successfully captures many of Bombay Bicycle Club’s ever-changing sounds and styles from over the years. The percussion and horns in “I Worry Bout You” and “Do You Feel Loved?” display their world music influences. The bright electric guitar riffs in “Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)” and “Is It Real” capture that indie rock spirit, which contrasts, but still suits, the electronica leaning “People People” and “Let You Go.”

On their official website, they describe the album’s main topic as  “the comfort that music can provide in times of need”. Upon further listening it’s easy to see it also covers themes of friends falling out, missing the people you love, and second chances. In the title track “Everything Else Has Gone Wrong,Jack Steadman sings “And yes, I found my second wind // And yes, I found some hope again,” and this truly does feel like a second wind from the band. While there’s a little bit for everyone in this album, and nothing is that risky or new, it still feels like the Bombay Bicycle Club we know—and I’m happy with that.

Rating: 7.5/10

Trial Track: “Everything Else Has Gone Wrong”


Part concert, part book tour: Canadian Twins Tegan and Sara put on a unique show at the Corona Theatre

Most artists releasing their ninth album might feel the need to forget the early awkward days when no one would pay attention to them, but Tegan and Sara do not see their messy, formative years that way at all. The twins have embraced and celebrated their roots through the release of their new album,  Hey, I’m Just Like You, and first memoir,  High School.

The Corona really felt like a theatre last Wednesday, as Tegan and Sara brought their Hey, I’m Just Like You tour to the city. They had set up chairs on the ground and had ushers in the alleys directing everyone to their purchased seats, already hinting this would not be your typical concert. The stage was simply decorated in two halves: a keyboard and guitar amps on the right, and stools and a bookcase on the left with about a dozen journals on it.

By 8:10 p.m. everyone had found their seats.  As the lights went down, Tegan came out, and began reading the first memoir excerpt: a vivid childhood memory about her sister’s night terrors. Afterwards she revealed how she had only recently found out it was her and not Sara who this story was actually about, and wondered aloud how many of her memories were really her own.

Tegan made her way over to the right side of the stage as the LED lights illuminated the keyboard and amps. Sara joined her sister for their first acoustic performance of the title track “Hey, I’m Just Like You.”  This sequence would repeat itself throughout the night: memoir excerpts from each sister, followed by a song with a similar theme. Every few tracks, archive footage of them in their highschool bedrooms would show up on screen, with Tegan or Sara narrating or cracking jokes over it.

Even the smallest cough could have been heard over the acoustic tracks and readings, yet the crowd was totally silent except when time to cheer.  They were laughing just as much as they were tearing up, as the chapters covered everything from their first kisses, water beds, and acid trips (“don’t do drugs kids,” they giggled. “It was the 90s.”), to bad reviews, internalized homophobia, and the fear of how coming out would ruin their careers.

The tracks from the new album worked with just the two of them on stage, and made up half the setlist. With just guitars and keys, it sounded like polished versions of the original demos, and let the lyrics and storytelling shine.  Songs covering the feelings of fearing the future, and messy first relationships like “Hello, I’m Right Here” and “I’ll Be Back Someday” felt like two teenage girls wrote them in their bedrooms. Unfortunately the singles from previous albums they incorporated onto the setlist like “Closer” and “I Was a Fool” left me missing the live drums and band they usually tour with.

After two hours and upon reaching the end of the memoir, Tegan and Sara wished us a wonderful night, summarizing their show as an invitation to “visit [our] younger selves more often and be more compassionate to them.”  While it is tough to define exactly what this show was, and I still hope to get the chance to see them in concert with the band one day, they really do have something special, raw and vulnerable on their hands.


Photo by Susan Moss


Maisie Peters shines at Petit Campus

The Folk-Pop artist was a big hit at a small venue last Thursday

For a set where more than half of the tracks are acoustic ballads, Maisie Peters’ fans still managed to make full use of the dance floor last Thursday at Petit Campus. After running onstage as her band began the intro to “Stay Young,” the English artist set the energy level for the rest of the evening. Once the initial cheers died down, she didn’t hesitate to let us know that while many of these songs are sad and slow, “you’ve still got to stomp your little feet for me.”

The night began at 8 p.m. with Australian alt-pop artist Jack Gray opening the show. Due to Visa issues, Jack explained, his band could not join him, and his set was going to be acoustic. Jack’s vocals were highlighted really well as he reimagined his greatest hits; “Bullet” and “Fools,” and he showed off his talent on a guitar and keyboard, sometimes at the same time.

During the intermission, the venue played some real bops as they set up the stage, keeping the energy up and the crowd singing along. Once 9 p.m. hit, Maisie’s bassist and her synth player took the stage, and fairy lights were illuminated around Maisie’s mic stand. The first few tracks clearly showed off her newer electronic sound. During “Adore You” and “In My Head” she was gracefully dancing around the stage as if in her own world, and the crowd was equally as enthralled.

Photo by Cecilia Piga

Halfway through, as Maisie picked up her guitar, it was time for those acoustic tracks. “Take Care of Yourself” from her newest EP, It’s Your Bed Babe, It’s Your Funeral, was dedicated to World Mental Health Day, and the crowd knew all the words to her first single “Place We Were Made.” The band left, as Maisie said she had prepared a special Canadian cover for us: a mashup of Drake and Carly Ray Jepsen; “Call me Maisie.” It was a hit and the crowd burst into laughter as they slowly caught onto the pun. In general, Maisie was quite funny. Her seemingly sad songs often had hilarious backstories. She even dedicated a song to her boyfriend modelling her new shirt at the merch table, which I only later realized was a mannequin.

Ending off her set with an extended version of “This Is On You,” Maisie wished us a goodnight, promising to return to Canada more often. The audience’s cheers would not subside until the band came out again for an encore. Playing literally their last two songs (that exist!), “Personal Best” and “Worst of you,” brought the night to a satisfying ending. Maisie Peters’ vocals really have grown so much since her debut on Youtube at the age of nine. Overall, for such a small venue, the production was great. Having the live bass and synth players really made the tracks sparkle, then her coming to meet all the fans after the show really made it a special one.


Feature photo by Cecilia Piga


Australian artists Mallrat and Allday bring their rap and hip hop to Montreal

Mallrat + Allday at Le Ministere for their first Montreal show

Australian musician Grace Shaw,  who goes by Mallrat, is now old enough to be in the venues she is getting booked at – but that wasn’t always the case. After releasing her first EP at just 17 years old and quickly gaining popularity, she often had to be escorted quickly out of most of her venues. Now having graduated from school, the indie pop and hip hop singer is free to go on a larger tour, co-headlining alongside one of her major influences and friend, Allday.

Montreal was the fourth stop on the “Mallrat & Allday North American Tour.” The show began at 8 p.m. sharp at Le Ministere, when supporting act Japanese Wallpaper took to the stage. The venue has a very low stage but because it wasn’t overly packed, everyone had a clear view of the many instruments set up across the stage. Japanese Wallpaper was a fitting choice as he had helped produce tracks for both Mallrat and Allday in the past. The thirty-minute set got the crowd ready for more, and gave some time for the room to slowly fill up.

By 8:50 p.m. Allday got on stage to some loud cheers from a few fans who were clearly there for him. They fans knew every word, and you could hear their dedication in their singing. Allday had a drummer and a backup singer, and was accompanied by Japanese Wallpaper on keys. Starting off with his newest single, “Protection,” and then fan favourite “Switch Sides,” it was going well until the power on stage shut off and the track came to a halt. Allday was very professional, laughing along with the crowd, and asking for poutine recommendations. He settled on going to Patati Patata after the show.

After everything was fixed, Allday dived into some more hits to finish of his set. “Restless,” the most pop-like song on the setlist thus far, really let Allday show off his singing talent. The room was heating up but he told us how he bet his bandmates that he wouldn’t take off his grey oversized suit jacket no matter what, and that he wasn’t going to lose with only one song left. They then played “In Motion,” a track featuring , Japanese Wallpaper.

Mallrat didn’t keep us waiting long. Mallrat’s live DJ, Denim, came out to get the crowd pumped. She then hopped onstage as the track “Sunglasses” came on. While I do usually prefer live drums, having DJ Denim on backup vocals and her DJ equipment gave the set a very club-like feel, and the bass and drops sounded great.

Mallrat expressed how lovely she found our city, having spent the morning out shopping with Denim. The stand-out moment of the concert was when Mallrat sang “Circles.” It’s only been out since Sept. 5 and it was only her fourth time playing it live, so she warned the crowd that it’s a challenging song and that she would try her best. With a lower range than most tracks and very breathy vocals,  I understand why. But Mallrat knocked it out of the park to loud cheers from the crowd.

Once “Groceries,” Mallrat’s most popular single played, it seemed like the show was over. But the crowd chanted “one more song!” and Mallrat came back out, flattered.  They played “Uninvited” and while most of it was on the backing track, the crowd really got into it. She even invited two young fans from the front row to come dance and sing on stage.

Mallrat, Allday and Japanese Wallpaper put on a high quality show with a small budget. While it didn’t have the most intensive production, the way they all synergized into each others’ sets and rolled with the punches demonstrated their skill and chemistry together as friends, on and off stage.


Photo by Britanny Clarke


Mika rocks out at Corona Theatre

Mika’s larger-than-life energy filled Corona Theatre to the brim

Mika is back on the big stage—or at least it felt that way last Sunday at the Corona Theatre, as the multilingual artist gave the 1000-seat venue a stadium-like performance. Last time Mika was in town he took to the stage with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for a unique collaboration.

This time, however, Mika returned for two nights on his “Tiny Love Tiny Tour” with his classic band backing him. Tiny Tour is an apt description, as Mika returns to North America for only six dates in five cities – “Tiny Love” is also a reference to the most recent single of his upcoming album, My Name Is Michael Holbrook.

Doors to the sold-out show opened at 7 p.m, but the line stretched around the block and moved slowly. The crowd was made up of every generation – from toddlers to seniors. Kiesza, the support act for the night, came out at 8 p.m. to a good few cheers, and took her place beside guitarist Chris Malinchak.

After her first song, she explained that she had been in a terrible car accident and had to put her career on hold. Now she has returned, with her own music label and new indie-folk sound. Kiesza dived into some of her unreleased material; the crowd adored her and by the end, everyone was singing along to“My head is f***ed.”

Kiesza enchants the crowd while seated at centre stage, with guitarist Chris Malinchak strumming along. Photo by Cecilia Piga

Mika’s band took to the stage at five minutes to nine, and as the first notes of “Ice Cream” began to play, the singer ran on stage, dressed in a red pantsuit and a white shirt with a LOT of ruffles. The unoccupied piano was positioned on the left of the stage with the rest of the band at the back on individual platforms. This left a lot of room for Mika to fill – and fill it he did. The crowd was immediately jumping along with him and singing the catchy single that dropped last spring.

Mika then introduced himself and asked the crowd what language they preferred before telling his first story. Almost every song came with a detailed intro, whether it was a joke, a story about the song or just where he’s at in life. For a first time viewer of Mika, it really helped form a connection and learn a bit about him, but it resulted in a shorter setlist.

The stories weren’t the only way he connected with the crowd. Mika tried on fans’ hats during “Dear Jealousy,” had a dance-off with the balcony in “Big Girls (You Are Beautiful),” and even jumped into the pit and literally danced with the crowd during “Popular Song.” The room’s cheers peaked as “Elle Me Dit” began playing.  The only French tune on the setlist, it was clearly a fan favourite here in Quebec.

Alas, the end was soon approaching; Mika was breaking a sweat but not losing any steam. Having already ditched the suit jacket after the third song, he excused himself for a minute and removed his ruffled shirt before performing “We Are Golden.”  The band stepped out and then quickly returned for an encore with the 2007 megahit “Grace Kelly,”  and ended it on a high note as the crowd sang along to a remixed version of “Tiny Love.”

With that kind of energy and storytelling throughout his set, Mika is someone everyone would be lucky to experience live. While I couldn’t return the following night, I was grateful to have experienced this award-winning artist for the first time and enjoyed it so much.


Feature photo by Cecilia Piga

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