Montreal, 2009

Cris and I drove up to Montreal to attend the Kinetik festival.

Thu May 14, 2009

Set the alarm a bit earlier than normal, and Cris drove the car (with the bikes on top) to Kenmore where he got out to take the T to his office, and I drove the short distance to my work, parking across the street in the $10 lot that we used when we went up to Fantasia last. I kept getting distracted by looking out the window and seeing the car and bikes as I tried to get work done. :) I left the office at around 2:15, aiming to fight the traffic through downtown and pick pu Cris at 3, but the stars aligned and I made it to Downtown Crossing in about 10 minutes. Oops. Cris couldn't get out early, so I parked in Fort Point and sorted out CDs in the changer, and read a bit. Then made it over to the pick up point and circled a few times until a loading zone spot opened up and then watched for him. I think we hit the highway at around 3:30pm, with me driving, and it fairly promptly started to rain. Heavily. Because it wouldn't be a trip to Montreal without a downpour. I'd picked up some extra food at lunch, and after I'd driven about 4 hours, we swapped drivers and I dug into my food. Cris got us across the border (no real slow down there, though US customs asked some quick questions before we got to the Canadian border and across) and into Montreal (gorgeous sunset as we came over the hill with the whale tails), and we found Dimitri's place easily. Parking was another thing, though, we circled a bit until we found a spot to leave the car while we unpacked. Dimitri handed over the keys, gave us the quick tour of his studio and absconded to his girlfriend's for the weekend.

We got the bikes down from the car, did a quick change out of work clothes, and biked down Sherbrooke to the venue, Usine C. It was a bit tight biking on Sherbrooke, I hoped to find an alternate route for the other nights. We made it there, and found a bike rack right outside of the venue, score! Locked up and went inside to get the tickets and wrist bands, running into Ben I think as we waited in the slow but short ticket line. Checked our bike bags and helmets and put in earplugs (so so so glad I brought a pile of them, thogh the first night wasn't that loud), and went into the main concert room. It was huge, a big stage at the front, lots of open space, then the back blocked off for the sound board and the video projection controllers. The only problem was that the floor was all concrete, by the end of the weekend my back and feet were killing me.
We got there just in time, just past 10pm, to catch most of Terrorfakt's set. Sparks flew everywhere as they used grinders on oil drums and shopping carts. They also banged things with sledgehammers, but I wasn't too impressed with the hammer-ers ability to keep time. :) It was an entertaining show, reminiscent of concerts I'd gone to see years ago in Toronto. Speaking of Toronto, I ran into Lee from there, we were both hanging out in the back left corner and it was great to catch up in little snippets throughout the weekend.
I think I had just enough time to run to the upstairs bathroom and then it was time for Project Pitchfork. Oh, wow. I'd never heard them in concert before, it was almost a spiritual experience. I felt like I was being filled up with the spirit of industrial music, it was awesome. I spoke briefly with Zoh after their set and she felt the same way. The lead singer kept reminding me of Monk/Will, they share a slim goth/rivet head aesthetic. The set started off fairly slow, and grew to a frenetic pace by the end.
Interlace was up next, the only note I have is that the lead singer was channelling the vampire from the B&W film Nosferatu. :) We ended up leaving in the middle of this set, worn out from the long day. Biking home (er, to Dimitri's) was much more relaxed and seemed to go a lot faster because I knew the way. Until we got turned around and ended up biking up to Rachel. We made our way back eventually, and stopped at the 24 hour grocery on St. Laurent to get some raisin bread, yoghurt, juice and granola so we'd have something in the apartment for breakfast. I kept Cris company as he found a place up Clark to park the car out of the no-morning-parking side.

Fri May 15, 2009

I think this was the morning where the garbage man kept having conversations right outside the window (he was called and told that a friend had died and had to tell the woman who was asking him something a bit later). Dimitri had left us a map with brunch places marked on it, so we walked over to St. Denis and went to Universel for food. We ended up seated next to a trio of other Kinetik goers, but we all kept to ourselves and dug into our food. From there, we walked down St. Denis and visited Rio, where I ran into Lee as I was buying a grey and black striped top. We said hi in passing and went on our ways. Cris and I continued downhill, walking along Ste Catherine until we got to the store that I had earmarked as selling Utilikilts, since I wanted to try one on in person and see if they suited me. Unfortunately for my credit card, they did, and I snapped one up. It was a store for predominantly gay men, but they didn't blink an eye at me buying a man-skirt. :) Oooh, the pockets, I'm in love. :)

Back to the apartment, and then we walked back out to move the car and get supper. I had put my new patent leather Fluevog boots on for walking around, and when I poked my head into a store selling neat looking dresses, the saleswoman gave me the hard sell saying that the dresses would look perfect with my boots. Not at $400+ each, but thanks. :) We moved the car to a spot right next to the apartment, score! Then we walked over to Le Nil Blue, an Ethiopian restaurant that we'd spotted earlier. They weren't quite open, it wasn't 5:30 yet, so we wanderd up the street and fell into buying CDs at a basement store. Back to the restaurant and ... waiting. We'd hoped to have a nice but relatively quick dinner forgetting previous experiences at Addis Red Sea, but the food was good enough that it was worth the wait and missing more of the concert than I'd anticipated. We walked back to the apartment, unlocked the bikes and rode to the venue.
We got there in time for Aesthetic Perfection's set. The lead singer was tall, skinny and bald, swearing gloves printed with hand bones and a shirt with rib bones. He had the biggest smile I've seen in ages, and really liked to touch his head, I was convinced that he was on something. :) But he gave a really energetic performance, bouncing from side to side on the stage, and pumping his fist though most of the songs. Solid dancy music.
Next up was Soman, another bald smiling dude, but his fist pumping included snapping his fingers. Constantly, it was impressive. He seemed to be having an awesome time, it was infectious. Unfortunately he'd decided to spice up his one man + keyboard/laptop stage act with a couple of dancers, and despite their scanty outfits, they just weren't very good. One looked a bit like Cindi Lauper, the other like a suicidegirl, but they had no rhythm. Luckily, it was fun enough to watch the guy smiling like his face wouldn't crack. :) The music started off a bit slow and worked it's way up to dancy.
God Module was up next, all spiky hair and gaffer tape (that kept peeling off as the lead singer got all sweaty). They played some pretty horrific movie clips on the screens above them, I couldn't watch them (outboard motor propeller through an obviously fake head notwithstanding, I wasn't in the mood for gore). The set turned into a game of God Module Says, with all the members exhorting the audience to lift their arms, dance, sing, etc.
Reaper was next, and with it came the first guitar to hit the stage. They were very earnest. I didn't really like the talking singing that they had going on, but it got better as the set went on.
Then Amduscia. The lead singer had bright red liberty spiked hair, and a monocoluar goggle with a metal headpiece covering half of the shaved part of his head, and a bright blue LED shining inside it. The music didn't do too much for me, though.
And then Grendel. The lead singer paced the stage, it was almost as if everyone had taken lessons: bounce to the left side, put leg up on monitor, bounce to the right side of the stage, put leg up on monitor there, repeat, embellished with fist pumping. The singer reminded me of my old work colleague Andy, he had the same intensity as well as body type. The songs started sounding the same after a few, so we ended up leaving.

Sat May 16, 2009

We got to sleep in until around 11 or so. I gave Dimitri a call and he and Mod were up and read to go for brunch in 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the rain started as we unlocked the bikes and headed over to St. Denis. There was a line out the door at Universel so we went across the street to L'Evidence and were seated right away. I had a nice time catching up with Dimitri and getting to know Mod, but I kept eyeing the street outside with water pounding down, and eating a slowly as possible. :) The rain was still pretty heavy when we left, but we got on our bikes and headed to the old port to the Ramsey House. I was giggling at how insane the rain got, I always revert to a 5 year old when I get to bike in the rain. We were dripping by the time we got to the museum, but they had a small coat check where we could hang up our wet weather gear to let it drip for a while. We were just in time (2pm) for the English language tour by the British docent (she'd been giving tours for 20 years). A guy from Israel was the only other person in our group, so we got to ask questions to our heart's content. We'd come specifically for the history of biking exhibit, but the docent tour focused on the permanent collection. It was neat to be allowed to go past a gate into a kitchen area and to see the cooking implements up close. I want to go back to the Fireplace in Brookline and see if I can name more of the stuff they have up on the walls now. :) After the tour, Cris and I went back to the bike exhibition and took our time looking at everything. I had a slew of memories come back when I saw an old style odometer that I'd had on my second bike as a kid. The bikes covered quite a few of the smallish rooms and it was neat to see some of the original two wheeled beasts. The rain had tapered off by the time we left, and we biked back toward Dimitri's. Unfortunately, Cris picked up a puncture in his tube and had to patch it, while I read.

Once Cris's bike was back in riding trim, we got dressed up and headed toward the venue to grab some food. I had on my camo mini skirt with my rain pants over it for modesty and just kept them on through dinner. We went to a fairly casual Portuguese place called Barosso, and I had a good quarter chicken and some yummy sangria. We split a half litre and I was just a bit tipsy, the weights and measures act to my rescue. :)
We got to the venue for Cenotype's set. This was the noise night, and pretty much my favourite night of the event. Cenotype played dancy noise. The band was made up of three big dudes who looked like hardcore motorcyclists, and then a slight front man.
Cervello Elettronico was up next, but were plagued by technical difficulties. The sound kept cutting off and they weren't able to build into a groove. I wasn't too impressed, will check out their recorded stuff to get a better feel for their sound.
Mimetic was next up, a single guy (in a neat red jump suit) on stage. I felt that the set built up to the okay level, but he wasn't my favourite. He was easy to spot hanging out in the vendor area during the rest of the night though!
Architect was up next, and a pair of Boston folks had built them up as the epitome of IDM music so I was looking forward to finding out just what IDM was. Turns out that my definition is that it's music that I dance to with my torso, but it doesn't get my hips/feet into the action. Daniel Meyer was also DJing in the cafe area downstairs for a set later on in the evening. I ended up making a dash to the cafe to get a martini (really confusing the bartenders), and sat at a table and talked to a guy (Sam?) from SF for a while. Everyone was really nice, it felt like a Convergence but with industrial music. :)
I was back in time for Iszolscope's set, more dancy noise, which I really liked. Lots of pointing and throwing the horns from the band members, the lead was a Jason-from-Liquid-look-a-like, it was a bit disturbing. I want to pick up a CD at some point, but it's hard to imagine sitting at home and listening to it, it needs 10 foot speakers and a dark dance floor to really appreciate.
Imminent was a guy and a laptop. No stage presence, so Cris and I wandered out of the venue and found a cafe where I could get some tea. The rain had stopped, it was nice to get a bit of fresh air. The whole venue tended to get inundated by the fog machine, and the doors to the bbq/smoking courtyard tended to stay open and let the clouds of tobacco smoke in. We talked a bit with the cafe guys (older man and his son and grandson maybe?) explaining about Kinetik and showing them the band listing that I'd kept in my pocket. I was taking brief notes on my palm pilot when I could get away with not looking too geeky, I'd been scared that the huge number of bands would all blur together. They mostly did, but some stood out even without notes.
We were back in the venue in time for Noisex's set, but by that time we were worn out. We sat against the wall for a while, and then I got up and danced when the music built up to a crescendo.
I'd been looking forward to Winterkalte for a while, Tony had been talking them up for years. They did not disappoint. It was two older guys, looking very business casual, with the one on keyboards looking like Martin from Toronto. They were having a tonne of fun, big smiles and teasing back and forth on stage. I loved the driving noise.
We waited a few minutes while Caustic took the stage, but their banter was grating on me by that point and we left after their first song or two. As we were biking along Ontario close to the venue, I saw a guy rolling on the ground clutching his stomach, a bike spinning it's wheel next to him. I stopped and when I saw that he could move, told him to get onto the curb, and I got his bike out of the road. A group of three people also leaving Kinetik stopped (part of the Winnipeg contingent) and tried to talk to him in French. I'm still not 100% sure that it was his native language, he might have been from Europe for the festival (from his t-shirt), but he was definitely impaired. I hope it was just that he was very very drunk and not concussed, he fell over repeatedly, including when he tried to get back on his bike. Cris and I talked a bit with one guy about Minnesota. I was shivering badly in the cold and damp and had to leave, but the trio was taking care of him. I looked for them again the next night to see if I could find out what had happened, but didn't spot them. I was shivering badly all the way back to the apartment, and took a hot shower once I got there and immediately burrowed under the covers.

Sun May 17, 2009

We decided that we'd join Tony and Hilary and Brian and Ben and co for dim sum in Chinatown at 1pm, so we made a little bit of breakfast at the apartment and hung out relaxing. Once it got close to 1, we biked down to Red Ruby on Clark (an easy trip, as we were on the corner of Clark and Pins!). I think we were the first to arrive, but Brian and Tony came soon after, and then the rest trickled in. We had a surprisingly short wait for two tables of 10, it's a huge place. Still, very crowded with families going out for dim sum. I managed to track down all my favourites, going up to the dessert bar to get the lotus paste buns, and grabbing a bowl of the sweet tofu that jiggled alarmingly but still tempted the others into trying it. We cross pollinated the tables a little, getting some Montrealers stopping by to chat from next door. :)

We biked home via Rachel again so that Cris could get a replacement tube in case of another flat, and I poked my head into the Le Chateau up there to see if they had anything I liked. I ended up trying on an almost perfect dress, but the frill at the hem turned me off. I did pick up a pair of wide net tights as I'd been wearing my skirts with bare legs all weekend having forgotten to pack tights. We made it back, and while Cris relaxed, I went out to get my drug store shopping done. I walked over to the Shoppers on St. Laurent and rampaged through the allergy meds section. I also picked up another box of my favourite hair dye, the blackest cherry noir fatale. I was also on a quest to find a warming face mask, and found an end cap full of Life brand packets. I picked up three or four of the masks, and a bonus foot scrub to treat my poor abused feet. I took a sadly quick bath, using one of the face mask packets and the foot scrub (the peppermint in the latter was really refreshing), and got dressed for the club. I wore my long Illig skirt with the reflective piping but it didn't pick up the black light, I was a bit disappointed. The rain held off, though, so I was able to bike in the skirt, just had to keep hitching it up when I got on again after a stop.

We got to the venue just as Astyplaz was doing their last song. First female vocals I'd heard all weekend, but she was a bit breathy and not quite what I was looking for right then. We'd been given a summary and had decided to miss them, so that was the right decision.

Then Necessary Response took the stage and though the front man immediately looked familiar from Aesthetic Perfection, he kept reminding us that he was happy to see us again. :) He seemed a bit worn down, his voice going from partying all weekend, and his extra pep took a while to kick in. It was generic EBM music, nothing to object to.
FGFC820 was military inspired dancy industrial music, with FLA type over-processed vocals. But the front man (from Queens, NYC, and a foul mouthed mofo, and misogynistic) was pretty charismatic, and had actual audience patter rather than just telling us to dance or raise our arms. I liked when he said that "my political opinion doesn't matter, we just want you to have an opinion of your own". He brought the audience down a little by dedicating a song to a recently (like yesterday) killed soldier.
Pride and Fall were up next, and Ben found me to declare that Chris would really like them, they were definitely reminiscent of VNV. They were all power ballads all the time though, and seemed to think that all 1000+ of us already knew their lyrics and aimed the mic at the crowd to sing far too often, so I couldn't get a handle on what they were singing about.
I've seen Assemblage23 before, in Boston, right after he decided that he wasn't going to use voice processing, and he's still trying to sing unprocessed. Mistake. *sigh*
And... Das Ich, my most anticipated band of the weekend. And they did not disappoint at all. :) They looked like imps from hell on stage, but they were all very thankful for being there, for the crowd's reaction, for everything. :) They got the best crowd response, without having to play Das Ich Says, it was a huge love fest. :) I pounded my feet to a pulp dancing.
Icon of Coil was good enough to get me dancing again, through the pain of abused feet, knees, legs, and back.
XP8 - we stayed for a couple of songs, the lead singer was pretty shouty, but had nice abs. :)
The ride home was thankfully uneventful this night.

Mon May 18, 2009

We had a quick breakfast in the apartment, using up the last of the perishable food we'd bought. At around noon, we packed our stuff into the car, but kept the bikes out, calling Dimitri to come by and pick up his keys. We biked up to St. Viatur to get bagels, I finally had enough CDN cash to get a full dozen of the sesame bagels, and they just fit in my bike's rack trunk. I requested going back to the car via Mont Royal St and found Diabolique. I tried on a few things while Cris went to get something elsewhere, and fell in love with a camo printed corset that I'd seen a woman wearing at Usine C. It was on sale so I snapped it up. I resisted the black and purple print top for $20, hopefully I won't regret it! Then we stopped by Swartz's to get smoked meat and turkey sandwiches for the drive home, standing in a fairly long line at the take out counter. I also got a huge pickle.

We put the bikes on the car and drove up to the big Mountain Equipment Co-Op store, where Cris found some biking long shorts/capris/knickers. Then it was time to hit the road home, the GPS taking us the long way around the city. We stopped briefly at the duty free, and I got a bottle of gin. We ate at Three Tomatoes Trattoria in Lebanon, it was good, leftovers in the trunk for work the next day. The rain held off, Cris slept while I drove, then I slept while he drove, with him doing 4 hours this time, 2 to start and finish. We made it home around 10:30pm, unpacked the car and fell into bed. I dragged my way through the week until I'd caught up on sleep, and it helepd to see a chiropractor who realigned my back and convinced me to ice it and take ibuoprofen to speed up the healing of the strain. Overall, an awesome trip, though. :)

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