The Faces of Red Bull Music Academy’s Montreal Weekender

Montreal seems to have a particular grip on the Red Bull Music Academy.

Known for their multifaceted, 5-week long residencies held in a different country each year, the Academy’s decision to host a long weekend on the island only a year after last year’s impressive 2016 edition came as a welcome surprise. Whether this was due to an expansion in the already expansive Red Bull universe, or a simple coup de foudre with Montréal, the RBMA Weekender did not disappoint.

Beginning at la Societé des Arts Technologiques on Thursday night, the RBMA brought out Nadja, Âmes Sanglantes, and Pan Daijing for an exploration into the doom and gloom of noise, drone, and boundary-pushing industrial. Aptly titled Temple Damné, night-one was an illuminatory voyage into the darkness. Friday night took us to another realm entirely, with Montreal’s own Moonshine collective hosting day two at Cirque Éloize for a dance-heavy night with Le1f, TYGAPAW, and Pierre Kwenders. While the interior was sparse and primed for dancing, the exterior was bathed in neon signs and surrounded by dense, dramatic fog that rose into the air around the unassuming venue— serving as a sort of signal fire to the partygoers trickling in throughout the night.

Saturday saw a Never Apart collaboration at Usine C for a night of experimental house and techno with Courtesy, Umfang, and Carla Dal Forno. Beginning just before sunset with outdoor performances and a pop-up poké restaurant manned by Beaver Sheppard, the event slowly moved inside and continued well into the early morning hours with some truly deep cuts. Ending the weekender on a less experimental note, the Academy brought out RBMA Bass Camp alum Charlotte Day Wilson, and soul-pop act Rhye for an evening show at Le National—one of Montreal’s oldest and most beloved venues. Both elegant and undeniably talented, the two acts were an excellent pairing for a slower-paced, end-of-weekend show.

Meticulously planned and brilliantly executed, the Red Bull Music Academy’s weekend blitz unveiled itself as the true finale to the late summer festival season. See our full photo recap of the faces of the RBMA weekender below.


Words by COURTNEY BAIRD-LEW | Photos by SEBASTIAN FURTADO