Taverne Tour 2024 Day 1: An Energetic Kick Off To The Festival

Taverne Tour was back last week with dozens of concerts happening across several Plateau Mont-Royal venues. From February 8th-10th, venues Casa del Popolo, L’Escogriffe, La Sala Rossa, Quai des Brumes, and more hosted a packed line-up of Canadian and international artists, including: Ducks Ltd., Janette King, Laurence-Anne, Population II, SUUNS, Safia Nolin, and many more. 

On Thursday, CJLO staff attended a few of the shows Taverne Tour had to offer.


Over at Casa del Popolo, the theme of the night was audience participation and floor gymnastics with R. Flex and HAWA B. At 8:30PM, Toronto electro-R&B artist R. Flex took the stage as the room started slowly filling up with audience members trickling in from the seated bar side of the venue. By the third song in, the singer began to truly open up, shedding the apprehension they initially seemed to have. The rest of the set was a sexy, high energy, party of a show, with R. Flex practically spending more time within the crowd than on the stage itself. For the track “Inhale” the singer slinked down into the crowd, falling to their knees, and finally belting while lying on their back. Through the rest of their set, R. Flex would sing right into the faces of concert-goers, and twerk to some of their more catchy club bangers. R. Flex’s set was full of highly-danceable tracks performed by an artist who truly knows how to command an audience, even in the sometimes-claustrophobic space of Casa del Popolo.

Up next was local Montreal artist HAWA B. With accompaniment on keys and saxophone by Felix Petit, Hawa B put on a soulful genre-bending show. Hawa B has a knack for connecting with an audience, as her French banter was witty and confident, poking fun at an audience member for sneaking out to the bathroom and playing with Petit by getting him to repeated tap a pre-set on his keyboard that said “HAWA B” in an echoey, distorted voice. During the set, Hawa B brought up local rapper Greg Beaudin to perform “Brokest Rapper You Know”. Beaudin, HAWA B, and Petit all had great chemistry, dancing across the stage with each other. Later, HAWA B also came down into the crowd, toting the stool she had been crooning on to instead dance with, flipping her nearly-floor length braids. HAWA B’s full voice, beautifully-layered jazzy instrumentals, and quietly confident stage presence made this show a necessary go-to for this Taverne Tour. 

- Aviva: Magazine Editor and host of The Alley


It takes a lot to get me out of the house in February. Truly the darkest, cruellest month, ideal for hunkering down and catching up on your endless YouTube ‘Watch Later’ queue. However, there are a few things that will drag me out of the house with minimal kicking and screaming, and that’s a rad mixed-genre punk show, like the one put on by Taverne Tour on their opening night. All the punks gathered at La Sotterenea to bear witness to the stacked lineup of Dirty Milk, Jetsam, and Glowing Orb

Starting off the night were post-punk weirdos Dirty Milk. This band shares members with a few other local acts (Child Actress, Family Man), and after seeing their name around town, I was excited to check them out. They did not disappoint; right out the gate, they commanded the crowd’s attention with their offbeat stage presence and angular riffs. Lead singer Lukas Beneteau-Forgues’s voice matched perfectly with the disco-influenced post-punk tracks, coming straight from the school of Mothersbaugh. I was most impressed with the rhythm section, as bassist Joshua Linnen’s infectious energy on stage kept us all on our toes, and drummer Bryan Thomas kept perfect time alongside the bizarre riffage. After a good twenty minutes of dancey punk jams, they ended their set with an improved noise and sound effect jam, prompting more than one ‘what the fuck?’s being uttered from the crowd. This was a highlight for me. Keep your freak flag waving proudly, folks.

Following this set were Montreal’s powerviolence heroes Jetsam. Full disclosure: I’m obsessed with this band. I can’t come from a neutral place as a reviewer should. Not only does this band master the hardcore tinged powerviolence sound, but they take it further, incorporating surprising switch ups, spoken word pieces, and moments of pure catharsis. This night’s set was no exception. Lead singer Jack Solar held the crowd’s attention as they blazed through their set, often jumping from the stage and joining those of us on the floor. Bassist Neon Dubé’s was electrifying, leading me to often wonder, how can just one bass hold such a heavy, full tone? It was masterful work. In the middle of their set, Jack stopped the music to discuss trans rights in this country, stating the fascists in this country are leading a genocide of trans folks, not unlike the genocide we’re seeing in other parts of the world, namely Palestine. They spoke with such passion, the audience couldn’t help but be hypnotized. Political powerviolence with a purpose, for the people. I don’t think anything could be better.

It was a hard set to follow, and hardcore punks Glowing Orb did a good job of keeping the energy in the room up. Before the set, my friend hyped this band up as best he could, saying “They have an actual orb!” Well folks, it’s true: there was an orb, though smaller than expected, but it was indeed glowing a menacing red. Menacing is how I would describe this set, as they worked through tracks from their latest release Subterranean Prison with an aggressive flair. Their lead singer, often throwing himself on the floor, screamed and thrashed, inspiring a surprisingly raucous mosh pit. However the set felt quick, I guess not surprising for a hardcore band, and before we knew it, this eclectic and exciting start to Taverne Tour came to a close as we shuffled onto Saint-Laurent for a much-needed post-gig dart.

- Allison: Station Manager and host of Transistor Sister