Global music, not world music

At Berbati’s Pan last Saturday I anticipated being overwhelmed by the sounds – reminiscent of Godspeed You Black Emperor – for which Japanese theatrical rock band Mono is famous. Between the dynamic power and occasionally unforeseen sweetly serenading qualities of the brief Mono show and Montreal Rocker Pan Am following their act, I was absolutely in music heaven. I was screaming so hard by the end of Montreal band Pan Am’s set that I was dry heaving.

I did really go to the show to see Mono, but the room was too small for the band’s equipment needs, and because their stage volume was so loud (it was louder than the house system they were jacked into) I found myself likening their performance to the dissident rock of Sonic Youth or older Jim O’Rourke music fused with the GYBE and Broken Social Scene theatrical sound.

I had a minute to speak with one of the players from Mono, but she didn’t really understand me (language barrier and all) but I did get a chance to have several long conversations with Pan Am’s Roger Tellier-Craig – also a member of GYBE – who was wonderfully human and humble and spoke glowingly about the music scene up in ol’ Canada. I kept telling him how amazing their ridiculously short set was and we laughed and parted ways, but not until I convinced him to give me a discounted copy of the album they’re promoting this tour.

Ratatat simply annoyed me, based first on the fact that I was a show tech for nearly eleven years and know as a fact there is nothing worse than a pettily famous band with heads so big they can hardly even fit through the door to the club let alone lug to the bar. Secondly, because if I wanted to watch GAP ads, complete with trite electro effects, I could do that in the comfort of my own living room.

Mouse on Mars, on the other hand, was a phenomenal end to an overall excellent bill. Straddling a line between powerhouse hip-hop and jazzy electro-punk, Mouse on Mars is a powerful group comprised of a couple Germans and a drummer who – don’t take this too hard, ladies – lives in Italy now. Overall, their show was so sick, people left Berbati’s with music infection streaming violently through their vascular systems.

Pan Am stole my heart shortly after Mono sweetly broke it. Ratatat brought back my sense of humor and cynicism, if only because they really seemed to believe they were simmering rock stars. Mouse On Mars, on the other hand, was a great way to balance out a night of talented to musicians.

From ancient crescendo power from Japanese artists, to amazingly potent pieces hailing from the Montreal scene, to humongous ego of two fairly attractive people from the United States, to the big and smart German soul, it was a great big international something that any music lover would be foolish to miss the next time around.