The Tastemakers: Noah Bick

Noah Bick has been a fixture at Montreal indie shows for over eight years. You’ve seen him hanging out at The Luyas, ripping tickets at How Sad, running the show at Miracle Fortress – now he’s taking things a little further.

We met Noah Bick on a damp evening at Notre Dame des Quilles, a Little Italy dive bar that is as famous for its indoor bowling alley as it is for its beanie-sporting patrons. Noah sat at the corner table, with – surprise – a musician friend: a former member of local indie legend Islands. We made our introductions and took a seat. When asked why he had chosen NDQ as a meeting spot, Noah responded: “I started hanging out here a lot, and then became friends with the staff. Now it’s kind of like a big family.” This trajectory has come to define his career thus far.

Nearly eight years ago, he started hanging out at Pop Montreal shows, became acquainted with the Pop staff, and was offered a job after volunteering at a few Pop events.

In 2008, Noah branched out on his own with Passovah, a production company that, in its early years, showcased the bands he had been hanging out with at now-defunct art collective The Friendship Cove. Soon enough, he was hired as a production manager at the indie promotional company Blue Skies Turn Black. Noah still works at all three, effectively making up his extended Montreal indie family.

Noah Bick

Beyond his role as arbiter of all things indie, Noah puts on his DJ hat for dance parties at Nouveau Palais and NDQ. “I kinda got into DJ’ing as someone who was working at concerts in different capacities,” he explains. “I put local bands in my DJ set. It’s just another space where I can immerse myself in music.”

Clearly, Noah’s first love – indie bands – remains at the heart of everything he does. However, Noah has recently found a way to synthesize his political views with his work as a promoter. Over the summer, Passovah put on a show featuring exclusively female acts – a demographic that is oft-underrepresented in the community. “I would call myself a feminist, and I want to support female musicians, because there’s a lot of very talented acts,” he says. “Passovah kind of evolved with me, and I want to introduce changes to the company that reflect my world views.”

“This show has a lot of homies… it’ll feature a lot of people I’ve met over the years, bands that we have kind of grown with”

Indeed, Passovah is not so much Noah’s baby as his slightly more musically-inclined twin, and the two have progressed side-by-side over the past half-decade. This month marks Passovah’s sixth anniversary; in celebration, Noah has organized a two-day loft show extravaganza, beginning this Saturday afternoon (March 8) and running into the wee hours of Monday morning.

Building on the familial theme, the lineup features bands that have played an integral role in Passovah’s success over the years. “This show has a lot of homies,” says Noah. “It’ll feature a lot of people that I have met over the years, bands that we have kind of grown with.” In classic Passovah style, the lineup is eclectic, placing singer-songwriter acts such as Caroline Keating next to noisy post-punk outfits like CTZNSHP, all held together by interspersing DJ sets — including a closing one by Miracle Fortress.

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“It’s not just about doing a show, but about juxtaposing all sorts of different bands,” Noah explains. “So you have someone who is going to support a friend’s band or going to see a band they like, and if they wait an extra hour, they can have their mind blown by something completely different.”

With its loft setting, the show captures the unique musical spirit of Montreal. While many successful locals have their sights set on other cities, it’s this spirit that is keeping Noah firmly planted in Mile End soil. “I like Montreal,” he says. “There’s cool stuff going on here, and I want to be a part of it.”

The Passovah anniversary show begins March 8th at 4pm and finishes March 10 at 3am, at 185 Van Horne. Check out the Facebook event here.