Dateline Sunday, October 7, 2007, 6:00am:
It rained a lot today. I got caught in it after wandering in what I thought was an entirely new direction until I realized I was standing in front of the Ukranian Federation again. I huddled under a tree and waited for the rain to stop, when it didn’t I got in a cab and went back to my hotel.
Montreal has a lot of construction going on, but they seem to handle it differently than in the US. It looks like they dig a huge hole in the road and then put a fence around it while they relax for three weeks. Sometimes walking through the city feels like you are walking on and off of a pirate ship on rickety boards that wobble over these great cement chasms. I walked across some of these as I tried to find the venue where Health were playing. When I found it they wouldn’t let me in, they were at capacity. It was the only show I wasn’t able to get into all weekend, which sucks for me but is pretty great for Health.
The lineup for Saturday night’s big show was probably the most anticipated by Canadians because it was pretty much all Canadians performing. I walked in midway through Oakley Hall’s set. Oakley Hall are an interesting band because the music they play is pretty Southern country influenced, except they all live in New York. This is not a new thing with bands at all, but because there are so many people in Oakley Hall I expect at least one person to play either the washboard or the jug (no one played the washboard or the jug).
Spencer Krug of Sunset Rubdown
I expected Black Mountain to be on next, but instead Sunset Rubdown came on. I’m not sure if this was because Sunset Rubdown are less popular than I thought or because Spencer Krug doesn’t have much confidence in the quality of his songs, which he’s kind of alluded to before. They were good songs though—more sweeping anthems because they don’t really build, instead they start lush and expand into powerful jams with instruments that might be xylophones. Only one person in this band was drinking beer. Whenever I see people in bands not drinking beer on stage I think they are nervous, if they are drinking beer then we are automatically bros.
Amber Webber of Black Mountain
Stephen McBean of Black Mountain
It was hard to tell if everyone in Black Mountain were drinking beers. Their main singer, Amber Webber was drinking wine and they were all just playing extended stoner jams that sometimes sounded like Pink Floyd and looked like Black Sabbath. Stephen McBean is way skinnier than I expected, it’s almost like he can barely hold the weight of his meaty solos but he does with the help of Webber’s hypnotic vocals. By the end of their show the entire audience was either swaying or ecstatically spazzing out even though those two things don’t really go together. I was taking silhouette pictures and drinking Pop Montreal Limited Edition Beer and before I knew it I was standing on the street clutching a Black Mountain 7″. I am back at the hotel and there are still some Doritos here so I am eating them while watching an awkward Canadian comedy where everyone pauses for like 20 seconds every time they speak.