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.

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