The 21st edition of Montreal’s MEG festival happened over the long weekend and it carried on its well earned reputation of being fun, diverse and filled with great music. While I did not have the opportunity to attend any of the other great events happening over the four days, I was able to take in the Sunday’s Piknic Electronik and if I do say so myself it was a wise choice.
MEG is all about hip hop and electronic music. What it isn’t about is being trite. Being what you’d expect from a festival that bills itself this way. Yes, it is filled from stem to stern with music from those genres, but it is not predictable. What it is equals an experience unlike any other.
Piknic Electronik has itself earned a stellar reputation. A fully warranted one. For years now it has brought a wide variety of DJs from around the world who play all different kinds of music. What they do have in common is that they are all talented and will have you up dancing.
Dancing outdoors. And on this particular day, in perfect weather. Warm sunshine though not too hot. There are two stages at Piknic Electronik, a bigger one set up just past all the food trucks and bars which greet you just past the entrance. Then a smaller one just a little further on in a more woodsy environment. But also just past a couple of bars and even a volleyball court sponsored by Red Bull.
The big stage only began at 4 p.m., so I started at the smaller one called Scene du Boise. There I was greeted by the rather funky music provided by one half of the Quebec DJ duo, Saudade. These two women are filled with funky souls. Groovy funky souls. Totally stuff you would hear in a club which would have you up dancing all night long.
How they seem to work is that they trade off turns at the turntable. First up was Loum. Her sound is a cross between ambient and pulsating. Filled with dub and industrial. All quite danceable. It was early (doors opened at 2 p.m.) and while the crowd was a little thin those who were there were enjoying the sun and the music.
Around 4 pm a hand off happened and Nela Paki took over. Her sound is more moody yet still makes you move. Filled with jazz, industrial, funk, and dub sensibilities. She benefitted from more people being there. The crowd was filled with young people, which is not unusual, but on this day it was university frosh day. Students from McGill and other schools were there. They brought plenty of enthusiasm for the event and the music. Dancing plenty.
It was time to wander over to the bigger stage known as Piknic Stage. I found another local DJ in DeRic Frey. This was a dsicovery for me. Not previously familiar with Frey, I fell in love almost immediately. Seemingly taking a cue from the sun and beautiful weather, all his music was perfect suited and made you feel like you were on the beach in the Caribbean.
It was house music mixed with a splash of techno. Frey has been around from more than a minute, so showed he knows how to read a crowd. When he found something that worked he stuck with it. Though was not afraid to venture out somewhere and more often than not we came along with him.