As per usual in the winter, Montreal was a bitterly cold place to be on Friday night. Maybe I’m just a miserablist, but when it’s -20 out and the wind threatens to leave your face perma frozen, there’s really not a lot of fun to be had outside. So while thousands were getting their jollies down at the Old Port for Igloofest, I figured squeezing into one of the city’s best music venues for a sold out show was probably a good call.
The show in question was for the launch of Maica Mia’s new album, Des Era, a collection of mesmerizing ‘slowcore’ numbers punctuated by lead vocalist Maica Armata’s haunting melodies. Fleshing out their usually minimal guitar and synth textures with the addition of new members, including Godspeed! You Black Emperor’s Maurie Pezzante, the band was able to create a brain melting wall of sound that left me feeling almost dizzy by the end of the night.
Opening up the show were local bands Essaie Pas and Ought. The latter were first up, belting the crowd with an onslaught of jagged, hooky post-punk. By the end of their set the room was pretty much full, and the audience won over by the band’s swagger. Essaie Pas played next and flipped the atmosphere on its head with an electronic set that sounded like if the soundtrack to Twin Peaks had been written by Kraftwerk [and there’s nothing wrong with that might I add].
Maica Mia took to the stage shortly after eleven and wasted no time getting things going. Playing many songs from their new album, the band sounded much heavier than on record and played with a greater sense of urgency. Band leader Maica Armata filled the air with siren-like howls, and the intensity of each band member was felt even more by the hypnotic images projected onto the screen behind them. By the end of their set, it was clear the band appreciated the love from the crowd as Maica offered a shy but heartfelt thank you and left the stage. Judging by the crowd enthusiasm, it’ll be interesting to see what 2014 has in store for the band.