Montreal

Who to check out at the Mile Ex End festival this weekend

Patrick Watson, Charlotte Cardin, Suzanne Vega and Dallas Green will get down under the Rosemont viaduct this weekend. Here's who to check out.

CBC's Nantali Indongo lets you know which acts to catch at the event

The members of Foreign Diplomats are originally from Laurentians and feature a David Bowie, Smiths-like sound. (Jerry Pigeon)

A few acts will certainly have a fan base waiting for them at this weekend's Mile Ex End festival.

There will be little over 20 concerts in two days, including big acts like City and Colour, Cat Power, Polaris Prize shortlisters Basia Bulat and Andy Shauf, and Polaris winners like Patrick Watson.

Montreal indie music institution Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Polaris winners that Patrick Watson told me inspired him to "create a show where people have a moment that would get them outside of themselves," will also perform.

And to seal the deal for the inaugural edition's success, they've rounded out all that star power with rising Quebec stars Charlotte Cardin, Matt Holubowski and Aliocha.

Suzanne Vega is to celebrate 30 years since her 1987 album Standing in Solitude, featuring the popular hit Luka. So if you want to go back to your teen years, this one's for you.

Seasoned acts and newbies

The blend of seasoned acts and newbies will help stretch the range of attendees.

Expect the usual funky-soulful party from CBC Rock Your Campus contest winners, Busty and the Bass, who helped warm up the crowd for Anderson. Paak at closing night of this year's Jazz Fest. 

And former Deltron DJ and producer, Kid Koala, is offering up something special for children attending the festival.

I'm looking forward to extremely talented, rock pop group, Foreign Diplomats.

Originally from the Laurentians and now signed to Indica Records, the band is slowly building up cred, touring around Quebec and Europe.

They met in high school and having been working on their music since 2010.

I'm hearing a bit of The Smiths and David Bowie in their sound, and from Facebook videos of live performances, they look like the kind of guys who sweat through their T-shirts in a set.

Lead singer and arranger, Elie Raymond, explained that the group now is not what it was in the beginning.

"At one point we were nine in the band, and that was too much, now were five boys who want the same thing: playing music and having fun."

Foreign Diplomats play Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Megative, new group with old ties

Megative is a new group with old ties to the city, introducing itself to Montrealers at Mile Ex End Festival.

Tim Fletcher from the Stills and Gus Van Go of Me Mom and Morgentaler, both bands now defunct, have come together with six more experienced musicians and performers from New York and Montreal for this new project.

The two frontmen have been planning for years to work on a project that would pay homage to their mutual loves: apocalyptic reggae (think the political themes of London-dub reggae of the 70s) and the moody and strange vibe of albums like the The Clash's Combat Rock — their favourite Clash album.
Megative is a new group with old ties to Montreal. Two of its members were in bands that may be familiar to some. (Ty Snaden)

With only one single out at the moment, the festival will be their real testing ground. They haven't actually played a show yet.

"It's going to be crazy," Gus Van Go said, laughing.

"There's a lot of us on stage... eight musicians... we've been rehearsing and we're having so much fun at the rehearsals."

That experience and chemistry is sometimes all you need when people already know the calibre of your talent.

"I think a lot of the Me Mom fans would love this," Fletcher added, although he wasn't sure if Stills fans would dig it.

Gus reassured him, though.

"Stills fans loved your voice, and your voice is in this, so it's cool."

Catch Megative at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nantali Indongo is CBC's Arts & Culture contributor and host of The Bridge. Follow her on Twitter @taliindongo.

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