The Montreal music scene entails more than just the music of her famous ones: Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion, Corey Hart, Arcade Fire and A Simple Plan.
The contemporary Montreal scene includes more than 260 bands who often get their start here then show up later in Toronto and New York. Groups such as Godspeed You, Black Emperor and the wild and raunchy, Launie Anderssohn can be found performing at Barfly on St. Laurent.
Further north at La Sala Rossa catch more experimental music like Klaxon Gueule, Foodsoon whose performances might start out like Edgar Winter group and move into an industrial/lounge /rock /bluegrass fusion that frightens the band and never sounds the same twice.
Across the street, Casa Del Popolo’s offerings vary widely from playwrights doing spoken word to a vocally challenged girl on acoustic guitar. Popular with the neo hippie set. Other St. Laurent venues worth a visit include Le Divan Orange, Swimming, El Salon, lounge 11 and the Green Room.
For artier stuff, try and find Friendship Cove which used to be Electric Tracter. Groups worth tracking down include Kiss me Deadly and Nitrosonique (drummer Marc-Andre Grondin of C.R.A.Z.Y. movie fame). Experimental metal bands worth the time include Khanate, Isis, Neurosis and Pelican.[At many places, if it’s before 11 and you haven’t got the $3-$12 cover, hang around until the door person invites you in. Failing this, try standing at the bar.
A few blocks east on St. Denis check out L'Hémisphère Gauche, l’Escogriffe, Quai Des Brumes, Bistro à Jojo, Medley (metal) and Cafe Chaos (punk).
Other Venues: Don’t miss Fou Founes Electriques at 185 Ste. Catharine St.east. The best bars are cramped spaces with old wooden floors and tin ceilings that cater to a variety of ages like: L’assommier, Missy Bar, Baloos, Bar Cherrier and Bar Ste. Elizabeth.
If you’re in the gay village, watch out for Mado who will pull you in from the street for her legendary cabaret drag act.
After hours try Sona, Stereo, Aria and the Jacques Cartier pub.