Photos by: Rughda, Zoe, Camilo, and Dominique
(apologies in advance for the lack of specification as I was too faded to recall who took what)
It was not too long ago (Sun, Sep. 13, 15:09 to be exact) that I got a text from Freq Show collaborator and visual artist, Zoe (aka Fatblood) saying: “Okay, who wants to play hookey and go to Pop Montreal?” to which I promptly replied, “Hell yes, let’s go.” Two mornings later, at 5 am, Zoe and Camilo pulled up in front of my house in a minivan filled with projector, camera equipment, and more than enough room for me to stretch out and go right back to sleep. We were going on a 6 hour road trip up to Montreal to see our boy & one of the illest producers on the team (if you can even really fairly say that, they’re all ill) Mello Mel hold it down for the Freq Show in the group’s first international trip.
After a long scenic drive and an annoying interrogation by Canadian Border Patrol, who couldn’t seem to figure out the difference between our crafts and what we actually get paid for, we made it to the sparkling city of Montreal, tired, but ready to check into our hotel, into the festival, link with Mel, and figure out what
the waaaaaaveee was we were going to get into for the night, in that order. Luckily, there was more than enough options to choose from… Pop! Montreal is an annual international music festival located in the heart of one of Canada’s biggest cities, and we got there on the first night. Mello Mel wasn’t listed to play until the next night at Blue Dog Motel with Fool’s Gold’s signee Shash’u. We decided to stop by a couple different showcases and see as many acts and try as much craft beer as we could before we crashed for the night.
What we saw was impressive. Every showcase had a different vibe depending on the music being played there. Each venue attracted groups of people who had something in common, an ear for good music, and it was evident in the way people were mixing and mingling everywhere we went. We were particularly impressed by a certain A Pigeon, a band from Montreal with a standout lead singer, Annie, and spectacular producer, who I would kill to see at a Freq Show event. She reminded me of an FKA Twigs with more… substantial lyrics… Or more of a Lykke Li or Bjork… And for their entire set, we were all in a trance, hypnotized by the music and the outstanding performance quality. For lack of any better words, it was a really great show. We had to personally invite her and her producer to Mel’s show the next night.
On that note, we were ready to call it a night, after having stuffed our faces at Oh Dumpling! with some of the tastiest Chinese dumplings I’ve had in a while. We had a long day ahead of us the next day and wanted to pack in as much action as possible, while still having energy to rage for Mel’s hour long set that night. We went around the city and absorbed the sights. Everybody is so chic in Montreal. I remember realizing that the homeless in Montreal were so fly, and I truthfully couldn’t tell a difference between how they were dress and how the hipsters of Williamsburg dress.
We got to the venue Mel was supposed to play at. It was a nice little barber shop with two seats in the front and a railroad styled bar in the back, with a couple of taxidermied animals on display. For my Jersey readers, it was like a combination of the Meatlocker in Montclair with Center Stage Cuts in Newark. We got there a little early so Camilo and I could help Zoe set his projectors up for his installment. Mel came in for sound check when Zoe just got his presets going and we had our own little pre- Freq Show event with us and the cool dudes who worked at the barber shop. People passing by the shop on the street stopped and even walked in to see what was going on. They were bummed to find they had a couple hours left before the show started, but they knew where we were going to be. There was still time before his show so we used it to get food and window shop and play with the tools at the Moog store and all the boutiques all along the strip. So much fromage. And La Belle Guelle.
It was finally show time. Whoever put together the line up did an amazing job, because each set flowed into the next seamlessly. I was rocking out to all the throwback rap Gayance was rocking with, spitting Bun B and Project Pat lyrics word for word with my brother Mel
like I wasn’t only born in 1993. She set the mood for the party and I was a dance machine for the entire night, in my own world, getting myself amped for the whole reason I was in Montreal anyway, to witness Mello Mel kill it in somewhat foreign lands.
Shash’u rocked out next, which also got my blood pumping. His set was so dope, I had to dap him up for it afterwards. Hopefully we can see him in Jersey sometime, too. And then it was finally Mel’s time to shine… And I was THERE for it.
Mel killed it. As usual. Of course. What else did you expect? What else? Say no more. No more needs to be said. He killed it. You shoulda been there. Lemme drop this again for you so you know I’m not playing.
And the cherry on top? Annie from A Pigeon came, at exactly 1:45 am, when we told her Mel’s set would begin. And I finally had someone to share the dance floor with.
It was love. The next day was spent with more great Canadian food, a lap or two in the pool, a mean sauna session, and a visit to the farmer’s market before we made way back over the border. The drive back was even more scenic, as we got to watch the entire sunset from start to finish. We stopped by an antique shop or two and at a car show along the way. We kicked it at the shore of Lake Champlainand watched Fatblood feed seagulls french fries. It was an awesome way to spend three days.
Much love to the Freq Show family for including us on this ride. We look forward to building again in the future.