While next year’s festivals might seem a distant summer speck on the horizon to most music fans, for the people who actually book the bands it’s show time! Horse trading for big names has been going on for months now, while those acts looking to fill the remaining slots are out to impress. In fact to help the bookers there's a circuit of pre-festival festivals, a series of showcase conferences that take place around the globe bringing together bands, festivals and other vested interests, like record labels.
In its ninth year, M For Montreal's aim is to add a Canadian twist to next year’s line-ups so invites representatives from the likes of Glastonbury and Iceland Airwaves to the Canadian city each year for four days of gigs programmed by local music personality and bon vivant Mikey Rishwain Bernard (now something of a living legend on the international festival circuit). Though technically unable to promise headline slots at major events, Q's Paul Stokes tagged along with the actual delegates last week (19-22 November), and presents five bands he’d book for next year... if he had a festival... potentially explaining why Stokesfest isn’t an actual a thing... yet...
Vocally drawing together Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, then pairing it up with some jangling shoegazing pop and a bit of Gallagher-esque brawn, this Montreal band were very impressive. It's early days and they’ve got a few rough edges but Heat (pictured) possess true raw talent.
Kandle And The Krooks
Canadian rock royalty in waiting – the eponymous Kandle Osborne is the daughter of 54-40 frontman Neil Osborne, while he backing band includes members of Broken Social Scene and The Stills – there’s a strong, sassy yet sultry feel to the group's smokey torch songs. Plus they do inter-song banter Dolly Parton would be proud of.
This husband and wife duo – their name roughly translates as “don’t even try”, such are their marital bonds – mix synths and guitars to produce epic soundscapes on which to lay their cool French vocals. They’re moving to Berlin next year and will no doubt feel right at home.
A flurry of wiry, shrill guitars and Mekon-like vocals, their clattering, angular patterns gradually come together forming cute, psychedelic pop songs. Mentally absorbing, but you can mosh to them too.
DJ Windows 98
The brainchild of American ex-pat now Montreal resident, Win Butler, this aftershow DJ set involved him and percussionists playing over Talking Heads songs. Might be a trouble booking though. Not only was his early hours slot ended when the police turned-up, but apparently he’s got a side project called Arcade Fire that he’s quite committed to. Paul Stokes @Stokesie
For more head to Mformontreal.com.