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Taverne Tour Tests a Cure for Seasonal Depression 

Shake off your winter blues with Backxwash, King Khan, Lydia Lunch, Adam Green, Sophia Bel, and more.

by Stephan Boissonneault

Photo illustration by Michelle Cavaleri

The beloved Montreal alternative music festival Taverne Tour is back to full strength this winter featuring an impressive musical lineup showcasing some of the city’s best and brightest rising stars with a few acts from abroad that will make your head spin. Taking place February 9 to 11, the idea is to discover new favourites while hopping between venues.

With headliners including Of Montreal, Backxwash, Adam Green, Lydia Lunch, and Sophia Bel, get your rock and roll passport ready. These are our top show picks for Taverne Tour VI.

Thursday, February 9 

Kicking off the festival on a high note is Of Montreal (from Atlanta, Georgia) and Crasher—two acts that fall under the weirdo psychedelic pop umbrella. Crasher are quickly becoming local favourites in the city with their fresh take on synth punk that is committed to getting bodies moving. Of Montreal has an impressive discography that runs 17 albums deep, including their most recent offering, Freewave Lucifer F<ck F^ck F>ck. This is their first show in Montreal in several years so expect band leader Kevin Barnes to bring the theatrics. 

If you like your music a little bit heavier, don’t miss hip-hop anti-hero Backxwash at La Sala Rossa. As a bonus, she’s playing with Dreamcrusher, an electro noise artist that gives a new meaning to chaotic. And across the street, we recommend popping into the Laura Krieg show at Casa del Popolo to sink your teeth into her gothic-tinged, Quebecois vampire rock. 

One of the loudest shows of the year will be taking place down the road at Le Ministere featuring post rock wizards Yoo Doo Right, sporadic noise punks, Gloin, and the drone metal from thisquietarmy x Away. Despite the name, they’re not actually that quiet, so don’t forget your ear plugs. 

Friday, February 10 

The surrealist folk poet Adam Green will finally be able to play Montreal after his show was canceled last year and you know he’s going to whip out some Moldy Peaches tunes. Check his show at La Sala Rossa and if you wanna get down and disco, come early for Kristian North and Night Lunch. 

It’s bound to get wild and weird with local rock and funk alumni, The King Khan & BBQ Show. Lou Reed himself (RIP) once hand-picked them to play the Sydney Opera House. King Khan and bandmate Mark Sultan will be reminding everyone what makes them such an unstoppable duo at Le Ministere. Make sure you don’t miss openers Pressure Pin performing just before on the same stage—one of the most batshit art punk projects to come out of Montreal in a few years. 

Across the street at Le Belmont is a hip-hop dance party with Connaisseur Ticaso, Hua Li, and Nicholas Craven, but if you venture down Mont Royal to L’Escogriffe you can drink your face off and catch disco punks, Chose Sauvages. Next door at the same time, make sure to check out the RANGE sponsored anti-pop showcase at Quai Des Brumes featuring Sophia Bel — more info. 

If you’re still looking for a party around midnight, you’ll want to check out Jonathan Toubin, one of the most prominent proprietors of rock and soul in NYC. Toubin sold out Madison Square Garden with his New York Night Train party and now he’s bringing the same energy to Taverne Tour at Le Ministere. Did we mention this one was free?

Saturday, February 11

The last night of Taverne Tour will start out with a bang with the country psych from one of Canada’s best, The Sadies at La Sala Rossa. At the same time we have a great post punk/ evil disco show at Le Ministère with La Sécurité, Annie-Claude Deschenes (of Duchess Says & PyPy) and CDSM. 

Head on over to L’Esco for punk rock pioneers Lydia Lunch Retrovirus. One of the progenitors of the no-wave genre, Lunch is a NYC hellraiser from the heyday of CBGBs. 

To finish off the night and keep your tour going well into the morning there’s a pizza party at Le Ministere with surf punks, No Waves. Pizza and punk has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? Become ungovernable. Grab a slice. Become pizza punks.

For more information about Taverne Tour and to purchase your tickets, visit tavernetour.ca