a little bit of barnyard, a little bit of rock’n'roll, and a brief taste of winter in may

I'm back. And tired. But oh was it fun! Be warned....this is going to be long. It's been a while since I've hung out in montreal - we needed to get reacquainted, she and I.....I have missed wandering the narrow alleyways, drinking beer on french patios, spending an hour looking for somewhere sane to park, bagels. Outdoor staircases, metro signs, you get the point, I'm sure.

The show was at La Tulipe, on Papineau. Amazingly cute little venue. Driving up (down?) papineau, we were greeted with the blinky yellow lights of the "who's playing board", and the sight of two gloriously large tour buses, one belonging to Snow Patrol, the other to Athlete (who I had no idea was playing until I actually got into la tulipe last night. Why I never checked who was opening I don't know. What a tool.).

And then, we walk.

It was early when we arrived shortly before eight, so we wandered down mont-royal for a while before I had to stop for a bagel. When in rome...

Walking back towards the club, we encountered a bizarre bunch of farm animals. The pigs, above, in a houseware shop window, and the barnyard mural which I am now totally in love with because it's so cute on a random wall across from Saum Mom. And then, with little time left for photos, we were off to be entertained.

Walking in to La Tulipe, we had balcony tickets, which theoretically means you're supposed to go to the balcony, instead of the floor. So, we did. At least for a little while. Heading up the stairs, the opener having already started, I'm thinking to myself "why do I know this song???". And then it gels. I know why. It's athlete. It's "Twenty-Four-Hours". I was floored, frankly, because I like Athlete WAY more than I like Snow Patrol. How had I not bothered to even check who was opening???

They played an amazing set, though a bit short (boo). The lead singer, Joel, talked a bit about the story behind "Wires", which is a song he wrote shortly after the birth of his daughter a few years ago, while she was ill. For the majority of the set, I stood around, dumbfounded. This is how it always happens to me in montreal. I forget to check who opens, and I'm consistently amazingly well-surprised by them. Like seeing Remy Zero open for Travis a few years back. Or the Long Winters open for the Decemberists last June. Hello, good bands? Please stop giving me oh-my-so-good heart attacks!

Once Athlete's set was through, Steve and I decided to say screw it, and wander down to the floor. Who cares about where we're supposed to be. Let's go where we *want* to be. And so, our spots right in front of the stage monitors were born. When Snow Patrol started their set, I think that even they were surprised to see how large the crowd was. The venue was PACKED. Brimming, overflowing with crazed girls buying Snow Patrol panties (I kid you not), guys toting copies of albums, and gaggles of girls at the front screaming "We Love You Paul!!!!!" to the bands new bass player. Frankly, he's not so hot. But ok, he *is* a good bassist, I'll give them that much. And a left handed player, to boot. At times, the band seemed floored, so jazzed by the crowds reaction to them that they couldn't stop grinning. Even the lighting tech had to come down from his high perch to grin devilishly at the crowd.

Towards the end of the show the band started to play the opening bits of "Run" but not before they told a little story about why they were here now, about a good man who took a giant leap of faith in a band that had twice failed, and signed them to Polydor Records. Without that, who knows where they would be. Jamming in someone's basement, perhaps? The man who signed them was in the crowd, and Run turned into a bit of a tribute to success, of taking chances. Everyone sang long and loud. The band got caught up in the energy, and you could tell, I think, that they were moved and surprised by just.how.much Montreal liked them, it being their first time there and all.

During the encore, two girls managed to make it up on stage, beelining for paul, to give him hugs. Wrestled out by the stage bouncers, they managed to make it up again. Sadly, I didn't have my camera at the ready....but those girls, being denied their third chance at star-touching were diligently camped outside of the band's tourbus doors at the end of the show. I wonder if they were well received, in their drunken giddy state?

To be frank, I wasn't sure about snow patrol going in. I thought it was going to be one of those shows where I really appreciated the album, but wasn't wowed by the live show. I was wrong. It was far more than I bargained for.