M for Montreal 2011, Day 4: Drunken Bus Ride

Mikey, our tour guide and host, is in rough shape.  The only thing keep his vertical from going horizontal is a can of Red Bull.

Then again, he’s in good company.  The school bus we’re on is filled with extremely hung over music industry people.  And after all it, it is early.  Noon?  What an ungodly hour to get on a school bus.

Mikey is trying valiantly to point out various landmarks on our way up to Mt. Royal.

“Look over there! Leonard Cohen owns that house.  It’s the second one.  Or the third.  I forget.  And that park? Good drug dealers.  On this corner?  I usually throw up at around 3:30 on a Saturday morning.  And you see that restaurant?  Great poutine.  I was once thrown out of there for taking off my pants.”

And so it went.  We stopped by Schwartz’s for a bag of smoked meat sandwiches.  They smelled great, but the ultra hung over and the vegetarians among us looked distressed.  They were helped by the back of still-warm Montreal-style bagels that came a few minutes later.

We eventually made our way up Mount Royal where we still munching sandwiches overlooking the city.  It was nice.

Then it was back on the bus for an afternoon showcase of Francophone artists.  As much as I wanted to go, I needed a dark hotel room for a few hours.

Two final recommendations from this year’s M for Montreal:

If you haven’t checked out The Barr Brothers yet, get on it.  Think a darker Mumford and Sons but with a harp (yes, a full-sized harp) in place of banjoes.  

Second, there’s Elephant Stone.  And you can probably tell from their name, their worship the Stone Roses. Some of their songs remind me of the heavenly jam that ends “I Am the Resurrection”–except with a sitar. That may look crazy in print, but in practice, it works great.  Give them a listen

Time to go.  Nice job, guys.  See you next year.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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