Dancing to the downfall of capitalism

U.S. Girls put on high energy and politically conscious show at Le Ministère

On Feb. 16, excited music fans packed into Le Ministère on Boulevard Saint Laurent to see Canadian experimental pop artist U.S. Girls, aka Meg Remy.

Local artist Lune très belle opened the show. Through her set, her French vocals were echoed as she bounced between two mics in front of her, one over her keyboard and the other over her synthesizer.

Lune très belle’s songs were sparse and pretty. This was matched by her quiet and seemingly timid stage demeanour. She didn’t have much candour with the audience, and the set felt more like an improvised recital than your typical concert affair.

After a short intermission, Remy’s band took to the stage. Band members entered one at a time. First, high synths filled the room, next the drummer kicked in, playing a few bars before the background vocalists took the stage and began to sing. Finally, Remy entered the stage and jumped into her brand new single “4 American Dollars,” a song about the failure of the American dream.  

After a few songs, Remy stopped to chat with the crowd. She mentioned that the last time she played in Montreal, it was at a porn theatre (Cinema L’Amour). She went on to ask how the cops in Montreal were, a question that was not surprising considering Remy’s heavily leftist, political lyrics. The audience gave a decidedly negative response to her question. Remy responded, in a sarcastic manner, that even cops were babies once, and we should try to foster conversation. This tongue-in-cheek comment ended with her saying, “I think they’re crying out for help with their occupation—same with me.”

After a few low-key songs, Remy picked the energy back up with the swanky and danceable “Pearly Gates,” a song whose lyrics reference the #metoo era. This song got the audience moving and really showed off Remy’s infectious stage presence.

Near the end of the show, Remy stood at the centre mic in silence for a few moments and then asked the audience to pretend their head was being pulled up by a string in order to stand up straight. She then asked us to breathe deeply. Everyone in Le Ministère stood for the next few long moments in silent breathing meditation, before the band jumped into the next song. 

For the finale, all the musicians left the stage except Remy and one vocalist to perform the 2010 song “Red Ford Radio.” The two started centre-stage, singing directly to each other. They started to repeat the lyrics, “I’d do anything to get out.”  As they continued to sing those lyrics, they both dropped their mics, and the audience started chanting along with them. They proceeded to join the crowd as everyone sang in unison. After circling through the crowd, Remy and the vocalist sang one final “I’d do anything to get out,” as they exited through the stage door.

While U.S. Girls’ show was short, clocking in at only around an hour, it was high in the energy and charisma that matches her recorded material. Overall, U.S. Girls played a tight set that was artfully arranged. Years-long fan or newcomer, this show would make anyone fall in love with Meg Remy. 

Photos by Britanny Clarke.


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

Exit mobile version