U.S. Girls @ Cinema L’Amour (Pop Montreal)

US Girls Pop Montreal 2 by Owen Maxwell
U.S. Girls by Owen Maxwell

When Pop Montreal announced a string of shows this year at Montreal’s infamous adult theatre Cinema L’Amour there were definitely a few raised eyebrows. Given the amazing night of entertainment between wordsmith Johnathan Rice and Meg Remy’s U.S. Girls however, the venue made for a unique experience and the butt of more than a couple jokes.

Johnathan Rice

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Jonathan Rice by Owen Maxwell

Through his somber guitar crooning, Johnathan Rice aimed for a stripped down set as he took the stage at Cinema L’Amour alone. “I don’t come here often…” joked Rice, as the audience laughed at his joke and then again at the double-entendre he’d so casually dropped. Rice’s tender strumming made it easy to hone in on his amazing lyricism as he brought colourful rhymes to his equally stirring stories. “I’m so glad that people still come out for live music,” said Rice, “and to see porn together.” A surprising highlight of Rice’s set however was his poetry and haikus which basically brought the middle of the set up as amazing one-liner comedy.
“You’re drinking tequila, which means we’ll be having a long flight later..” said Rice, which brought out rounds of jeering laughter from the crowd.

U.S. Girls

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U.S. Girls by Owen Maxwell

Meg Remy stepped on stage with U.S. Girls stoically, as each member gathered around to set off into a loud fury. With a triumphant opening on the lively “The Ocean Song,” Remy started to dance through “Mad As Hell.” All night U.S. Girls opted away from banter, instead building more mood with weird audio clips and ambient noise between songs. Another amazing aspect of the show was the demented lo-fi visuals from some on-stage camcorders, that would alternate between trippy visual effects and VHS era backgrounds. With such a great screen behind them, this mixed with their sense of drama truly took advantage of their unique venue like nothing else.
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U.S. Girls by Owen Maxwell

With U.S. Girls going into full dances and power shouts throughout songs like “Velvet 4 Sale” and “Rage Of Plastics” the In a Poem Unlimited-heavy set was a party that had something to say. As Remy dived into older tracks like “Navy & Cream,” you could feel the sense of fun her and the rest of U.S Girls was having. This turned into a full roaring band breakdown with every member cutting loose before Remy and a vocalist holding hands while staring out to the crowd. As they built back into “Window Shades,” the duo broke their stillness for a full-fledged disco dance party that had people screaming. After Remy gestured and eyed the crowd to get full silence, which found her sliding into “Rosebud” with a cool elegance. Screaming through “L-Over” and “Pearly Gates” Remy was hitting her most soaring vocals of the night while the band really leaned into every moment of the closing tracks. As “Time” closed out the set U.S. Girls was dancing and roaring as excitedly as the crowd, with everyone bouncing around and pushing the limits of the venue’s tight spaces. As the band broke into feedback and grimy outro blares, Basia Bulat rushed on stage in her own U.S. Girls shirt to give some freak-out shrieks that ended the set in a way no one would forget. After coming back on stage  to close out the set on “Sororal Feelings,” Remy gave her one exchange with the crowd, saying “Wash your hands” before leaving Cinema L’Amour.
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U.S. Girls by Owen Maxwell

U.S. Girls Setlist:
The Island Song
Mad As Hell
Velvet 4 Sale
Rage Of Plastics
28 Days
Navy & Cream
Window Shades
Pearly Gates
Sororal Feelings