Home Quebec music Brownstein: concert to relieve Montreal indie groups hard hit

Brownstein: concert to relieve Montreal indie groups hard hit


The Bob Dylan Tribute Concert will feature more than 30 local artists whose lives “have been turned upside down” by the pandemic.

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The blues comes naturally to Shane Murphy these days.


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Murphy, normally a giant teddy bear, doesn’t mince words: “That was just terrible.”

Among the best guitarists and blues singers in the country, the native of Montreal, like so many other independent musicians, relies on the scene of local bars and clubs to exercise his profession and make a living. Those doors have been completely closed to Murphy and others during much of the pandemic. Now they are open halfway, that is, with public health measures taken into account, bars and clubs without designated seating plans are limited to half days.

Bar and club owners in this situation rightly believe that the situation is not entirely fair when the Bell Center and other large venues across the province are allowed to operate at full capacity from Friday, with crowds by the thousands quite close to each other. They are begging the province to show some consistency here, but Health Minister Christian Dubé said on Monday it would take at least “a few weeks” before restrictions were relaxed for bars.


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“If we can tolerate 22,000 people side by side in an amphitheater like the Bell Center, and this, more or less 10 cm apart between each of the 22,000 seats, we can now tolerate seeing dining rooms and bars accommodating the permitted capacity of their establishments under the same conditions as those required at the Bell Center, ”noted Pierre Thibault, president of the Nouvelle Association des bars du Québec, while noting that more than 10,000 bars and restaurants have suffered for over 19 months due to the pandemic.

Murphy can easily understand.

“The lives of almost everyone in my business have been turned upside down, he said over breakfast at Greenspot Restaurant. “I’m just trying to keep my head down and get out of it. But sledding has been particularly difficult during the pandemic. “


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While Murphy’s dance card before the pandemic was full most weeks, he’s now down to one Friday a month at Brutopia’s downtown bar.

But there’s a little beam of light coming in for Murphy and the others. Billy Bob Productions, co-directed by local lovers of the Montreal music scene like radio host Mitch Melnick and lawyer Lloyd Fischler, has just announced that they will be hiring more than 30 artists to take part in a late tribute to the Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday, November 27 at Club Soda. Among those expected to perform Dylan tunes from the town’s folk, country, blues, rock, gospel, punk and pop communities include Murphy, The Damn Truth, Dawn Tyler Watson, Rob Lutes, Li’l Andy, Patrick Krief, The Nils, TJ Lots of Asexuals, County Durham poets and the legendary Chaim Tannenbaum of fame from the McGarrigle sisters.


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Sadly, capacity, for now, is limited to just 230 remote seated customers, and half of those seats were gobbled up just two days after they went on sale.

Over the past 25 years, Billy Bob Productions has hosted over 200 concerts, including tributes to Dylan’s milestone birthdays as well as countless tributes to Tom Petty, Southern soul, rock and roll and London punk. . The 40th anniversary of The Band’s Last Waltz team marathon at Corona in 2016 remains one of the most memorable concerts ever held in town.

“As much as we want to pay tribute to Dylan’s seven decades of career as a rock ‘n’ roll poet laureate, the big goal here is to support Montreal musicians who have mostly been out of work for too long,” said Melnick. , host of TSN’s popular afternoon show 690, where listeners are treated with healthy doses of Dylan mixed with Habs et al. “For many of them, this will be their first paid indoor concert in 19 months.”


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“And again, no one can ever accuse us of lining our pockets with these shows. We have more modest dreams – like one day just breaking even, ”snapped Melnick, eating alongside Murphy and Fischler.

“It was never about the money, Fischler said. “It’s about our love for local live music and for partying with like-minded friends.”

“This concert is a start,” added Murphy. “It will be great to get together with musicians, to vibrate and make the room vibrate. The best we can do now is to focus on bringing the city back to life. We cannot think of what could have been and what should have been.

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AT A GLANCE: Billy Bob Productions will present over 30 local music acts in a late tribute to Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday on November 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Club Soda, 1225 boul. St-Laurent. Tickets cost $ 62.62 ($ 75.67 the day of the show) and are available on site at clubsoda.ca or by calling 514-286-1010. A vaccination passport and a mask when not seated will be required, as will a physical distance of one meter.

  1. Frisco Lee, on the left, and Adrian Micholuk are the managers of Bar de Courcelle in St-Henri.  About 80% of its bars spending, on wages and rent, has been paid for by pandemic grants from the federal government, but those end this month.

    Montreal club and bar owners angry at not being able to reach full capacity

  2. A masked waiter serves drinks on a terrace on Mont-Royal Avenue in Montreal on August 24, 2021.

    COVID-19 updates, October 4: Quebec will not ease bar capacity limits for at least “a few weeks”, says Dubé



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