What started as a rather mundane day turned into a most excellent one. I made my weekly trek from the cottage to the city to do some cleaning, mowing and fix a bathroom fan in a rental unit. You know, run-of-the-mill stuff. Throughout the day I kept thinking I should run down to the Jazz Festival when I'm done, but the heat was crazy. I think it was something like one bazillion degrees.
After sitting in the air conditioned house for about a half hour I couldn't take it and had to go. I grabbed an old camera and headed to the bus stop. As I sat there in heat that matched the surface of the sun, I kept thinking this is a bad idea. It's too hot and those three "In transit" busses that just drove by are a sign I should go back home and enjoy the cool air. Some clarification, "In Transit" is code for driver doesn't want to stop because it's too damn hot and if the bus stops there is no air flow. Or something like that. Anyway.
I stuck it out and a bus finally arrived extremely late. I climbed in and was off to the festival. In a bus, with no air, and a bunch of other sweaty people. It was magic. Not really, but everybody's skin did glisten nicely and the trip did become a little more pleasant once I hit the subway.
I got off the subway a few stops before the festival site. I wanted to walk a bit to see if anything else was happening. There wasn't, so I headed to the festival. Once in the festival site, I wondered from stage to stage parking myself every once in awhile on my way to the next stage to people watch and check out one of the many performance acts. Montreal has the best street performers. Being the home to the National Circus School and the headquarters for Cirque du Soleil Montreal has a tendency to attract unique acts that can be seen performing all over the city.
Don't let the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal name foul you. If Blues or World Music are more your taste, chances are there will be a band performing that will please your taste buds. Although all the bands I had the privilege of watching were spectacular, two really stuck with me, Altın Gün and Jupiter & Okwess.
Altın Gün bills themselves as a band offering an exciting mix of Turkish folk, psychedelia, funk and rock. These guys did not disappoint. This was my favorite band of the day. Their unique sound and funk beats made it impossible to stand still. Judging by the audience reaction I'm sure I'm not alone when I say this performance was fantastic. I'd recommend you check out their KEXP performance.
Jupiter & Okwess melted my face off. Described on the festival site as modernity and tradition colliding in one explosive musical cocktail!. I couldn't agree more. Their style of Afro Jazz will suck you in and not let go. There was so much energy coming from the stage it felt like the whole audience had become one entity. I'd recommend you wonder over to their site.
The world can seem like it's blowing up all around you, but when you add in some music we become one and everything is alright. The one thing that stuck out for me during this outing was the since of togetherness. We listened. We participated. We laughed. We were one. We were happy.
Links to the bands I saw this night:
Jupiter & Okwess
Hannah Williams & The Affirmations