Oh man, I loved the hell out of Heavy Montreal. The whole weekend was absolutely wonderful but Day 2 was the day I was most excited for, so Day 2 is what this post will be.
I had never been to a festival before this one. They have never appealed to me and I hadn’t seen a line-up good enough to motivate me to go.
Festivals just seemed so… big. Whenever I saw pictures I just kind of imagined being in a sea of people, way at the back where I wouldn’t see anything. Plus, I knew most of the time sets were pretty short. And then with the recent increase in music festivals I just felt like people would go just for show and not because they cared about the music. The thought of being trapped with thousands of faux hippie-grunge kids made wary.
Then I saw an ad that said Iggy Pop would be playing in Montreal and thought “Festival or not, I really wanna see Iggy Pop”.
So I bought a weekend pass to Heavy Montreal and so began my festival journey.
Alright, so the day started off at about 11:30 when my friends got up and out of bed. I had actually had a pretty restless night because I was so pumped for the show.
After a breakfast (though it was lunchtime) of bagel sandwiches I head off with Deborah (of the Renegade Girls blog fame) to Parc Jean Drapeau.
I felt so lucky because the two bands I went to see (Billy Talent and Iggy Pop) were playing on the same stage so we just had to make our way to the front and wait.
We got there at about 2pm just as a set finished. After every set most people left (presumably to go to another stage, chill, or eat, I guess) so we got to the barricade without any trouble. Deborah declared that she would not be moving from the spot until Iggy Pop finished, and she kept her word.
When she finished Deborah somehow caught a pick which she graciously gave to a Lita Ford fan who was asking security if there were any picks of setlists left.
The afternoon continued and we were both wayyy too excited just like hopping up and down saying “BILLY TALENT AND IGGY POP” while roadies set stuff up.
When French Metal band Gojira came on we found out the true meaning of Heavy.
I had no idea who Gojira were but before they came on this girl behind us asked if we were familiar with their music and we said that we were not. She looked a little concerned and just said “Hang on to the barricade”.
Holy French Metal, Batman, I got separated from Deborah because the moshing was so intense. I just remember sweaty bodies, lifting crowdsurfers, and feeling a little too suffocated while keeping Iggy Pop and Billy Talent in mind to make it through the set.
But, alas, it was over and we survived. Deborah ended up being bruised up as she was right in front of the security guy who was pulling crowdsurfers out, so she got kicked in the head a few times and somehow got mud on her. “But Billy Talent and Iggy Pop,” I reminded both her and myself, and we were good to go.
Abbath performed a set that felt waaaayyy too long while we were waiting for Billy Talent. I was so pumped for Billy Talent I just wanted them to get on stage and play some jams. I was even more pumped when we saw friggin’ Ian D’sa just off stage. I was like “DEBORAH, LOOK, OH JEEZ!” He was just chilling, playing the guitar while I was just trying not to scream as the Billy Talent banner came down.
Our patience was rewarded when Ben, Ian, Jon, and Aaron walked out on stage and just dove into “Devil in a Midnight Mass”. I spent the next 45 minutes shouting lyrics along and having an amazing time.
We were front row center and all these guys were riiiiight there in front of us. Performing the hell out of bad-ass songs with all they had. What else could I ask for?
Man, Ben is so theatrical and it’s absolutely inspiring. They had a little break where he talked about hockey teams, Montreal, and very kindly offered to buy everyone a beer if they didn’t vote for Stephen Harper.
It was a great set. All the songs were high-energy and I could hear the crowd singing along. There was beautiful unity going on and I made eye contact with Jon Gallant a few times.
I did not get into Billy Talent too long ago but they mean so much to me personally. Plus their songs and their messages are so fantastic. These guys are pissed about some things in this world and they talk about it. A song like “Surprise, Surprise” is like everything I wanna say but they say it better then I ever could.
I am rambling, but what I am trying to say is that I love the heck out of this band and their music and after seeing them live I love them even more. PLEASE DO A TOUR SOON. I WANNA SEE A FULL SET!!
After they finished a nice security guard brought their setlist to where I was but I didn’t wanna be rude to the person that asked for it so they took it. I asked him if there were any more setlists but he was like “no, why didn’t you take the one I had?” He seemed nice.
This got significantly less heavy and more punk and NOFX performed on the adjacent stage. While I may not agree with their ideals a lot of the time, they were definitely funny as hell. Their quick, punchy songs were a nice break from long guitar solos and thrumming bass lines. Sometimes a little fun is good. And they had a piñata. Who doesn’t love piñatas and stupid jokes?
I am very glad they were entertaining because the anticipation, hunger, exhatsion, and dehydration were getting to me plus I knew seeing Iggy Pop might get emotional so I was like “I WANNA SEE IGGY, THIS IS TOO EXCITING.”
Deborah and I just kept saying “Iggy!!!” and just jumping up and down. I couldn’t believe it was happening.
Iggy Pop is part of the Holy Trinity of Holiness and Proto-Punk. Iggy, Lou Reed, and David Bowie. In a way, for me they are It. The ultimate. Untouchable, unreachable, unbelievable rock. I didn’t dare dream about seeing any of them live. Lou has unfortunately passed (BLESS HIS SOUL AND GUARD HIS WORK AND PASS IT ON TO MANY GENERATIONS TO COME) and Bowie isn’t doing shows. And I just wouldn’t think Iggy Pop would tour near me. It’s Iggy Pop. Part of popular culture, influential as hell, creator of crowd-surfing, subject to many legends. He’s the proto-punk archetype, he made Lust for Life, he did things noone had ever done and he made theatrics real.
It’s Iggy flippin’ Pop. I am not worthy!
But turns out I was worthy. Standing at the barricade worthy. Look him in the yes worthy. Being witness to an incredible show worthy.
Holy hell, I love Iggy Pop and I hope I can succeed in explaining how great he is.
Look, going in I was like “I CANNOT BELIEVE” but also “It’s a shame I didn’t see him like in the old days, in his prime” Guess what? This is still his prime and he is as unbelievable as I imagine he’s always been.
Like, this man is a legend. He could have sat down on a chair and stared at us the whole time and called it a day. He could have done a 45 minute set and left.But no, he was up, dancing, jumping around, singing as well as ever, doing stripteases and being grateful.
I repeat, I CANNOT BELIEVE.
A lady who was next to me looked like she was going to cry at one point and I really got how she might be feeling. Oh my gosh, he killed Sister Midnight, dancing along to that hypnotizing beat and cool guitar. I’ve always thought Nightclubbing would be a great song for a striptease (which is the reason Closer by Nine Inch Nails is even remotely sexy) and apparently Iggy Pop does too. It is not easy to do a striptease when don’t have a lot of clothes on to begin with (a relatable problem, I’m sure) but, you know, it’s Iggy friggin’ Pop so he finds a way to make unbuckling a belt a whole thing. And then there was sexy dancing on a chair, which may have involved dry humping furniture. And pouring water on himself. YO, JOE MANGANIELLO AIN’T GOT SHIT ON IGGY (My fellow Magic Mike fans, say heeey!).
I think we need a moment to think about the fact that this 68 year old man did a striptease at a Metal festival and did it well.
And do y’all know what happened towards the end of the set? They played Mass Production. They played an 8 minute, mostly instrumental song that I would never even think got played on tour live.
It was rad. It was beyond rad. It was amazing and captivating and I couldn’t be anywhere else but in that moment entranced by Iggy Pop and how unbelievable everything about him, from performance to vocals to attitude, is. Then they finished it off with Neighbourhood Threat as the encore. I flipping screamed so loud and reached for Iggy Pop and waved as he came by and waved and smiled at us. I sang along and still could not believe I was hearing these gorgeous songs live by their creator himself. And it was done. It was too much but I wanted more. I had to sit down then and there to just breathe and take it all in. I still haven’t taken it all in and I am still so in awe of that man.
As Deborah and I sat in the hammocks of the “espace chill”, gathering strength to subway and walk to the hotel, I felt giddy. I felt grateful to have been there, I felt pride that Iggy was so good, I felt amazed, I felt a sort of calm that everything was right and better than expected.
But mostly I felt like I couldn’t stop smiling (even just remembering it all while I write this I feel the same way) and for that, and so much more, I thank Iggy Pop.