Monday, October 6, 2008

Atomic Bubblegum does Pop Montreal

Mr. Bubblegum and I ventured to Montreal over the past weekend to see a few shows that were pat of the Pop Montreal festival. Friday was our big marathon, as we went to see none other than the legendary Mr. Burt Bacharach at 8:00pm, and then scurry a few streets over to see the equally legendary M. Jean-Jacques Perrey at 11:00.

Burt performed at the very elegant Église Saint Jean-Baptiste on Rue Rachel. The man is 80 years old now, but he still looks amazing, is very energetic and charming, and most importantly all class. He played piano and was backed by a full band and three vocalists (who were sadly no Cilla Black, Dionne Warwick or Dusty Springfield). It was absolutely amazing to hear my 1960s favorites like "Don't Make Me Over" (I almost cried during this one), "Walk On By", "The Look of Love", and "Anyone Who Had a Heart". My favorite Burt Bacharach-related record is an Italian compilation called Mo'Plen Bacharach that came out a few years ago, so I know a lot of these songs better in Italian than I do in English. The whole CD is chock full of goodness, but my absolute favorite is the cover of "Anyone Who Had a Heart", "Quelli Che Hanno Un Cuore" performed gorgeously by Petula Clark. I think it's so much more haunting than the original. I thought I'd post it for the occassion:

Burt played a lot of later tracks too, which I don't much care for being a '60s nut (sorry, but the Arthur theme just doesn't do it for me), but I certainly got to hear everything I'd hoped to.

Perrey was fantastic as well. His set was performed with the person he's been collaborating with recently, Dana Countryman. The tracks they did were more or less variations on the tracks Perrey did with Gershon Kingsley on The In Sound From Way Out. So, short of hearing those songs, it was really what any fan would have hoped for. Plus, he, although slightly more frail, was certainly as charming as Burt had been. I believe they're the same age. Perrey did perform "E.V.A." from the album Moog Indigo, so that was a big fan bonus. Afterwards, we rocked down to one of our favorite brassieres, Dieu du Ciel!, for drinks. I am a huge fan of their Route des Épices beer, and was on a mission to find some in bottles to bring back to home, which happily I was able to do on the last day.

On Saturday, we had a little more time to chill out around town. We had noodles at a fun place called Tampopo, and for dinner ate at a wonderful, relatively inexpensive French bistro called Bistro Justine à vin. After dinner, it was back to gigging, and we went to La Gymnase a few blocks away to see Darren Hayman, former frontman of Hefner (a radical change from the '60s maser of the previous night, but there you go!). Mr. Bubblegum and I are big fans of Hefner's first few albums, and luckily Darren played excellent renditions of "The Weight of the Stars", "I Stole a Bride" and "A Hymn to the Postal Service".

We'd hoped to grab a late-night poutine around the corner at La Banquise, but we were still full from dinner by the time we left the gig (which was quite late), so we just returned to the hotel.

The next morning on our way out of town, we stopped at our favorite breakfast place, St.-Viateur bagels. It's the perfect breakfast when you're just about to set off on a five-and-a-half hour drive and want to make sure you're full enough not to be tempted by fast food on the way home! They serve an AMAZING artichoke and green olive salad that I'm determined to learn the recipe for!

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