Moon and I had never heard most of the bands we were going ot film in Montreal, so we did just like everyone, we checked their MySpace pages. Then, we sent our short list to two authorities on the subject in Montreal, Patricia Boushel and Sean "Said the Gramophone" Michaels. Witchies got unanimous support.
The first time we met them was at Café Olimpico, through a member of A Silver Mt Zion they were having coffee with. The third time I met Nadia was on the last day of the festival, for the closing party, at Club Lambi, and she was behind the bar. It’s not unusual in Montreal to find yourself ordering a drink from the singer whose songs you’re humming in the shower, or see the guitarist of a band you know gathering empty beer bottles after a show in a famous venue.
We were meeting Nadia, Chad and Jonah at the place they practice, on Van Horne, next to the viaduc and the railroads. The weather was beautiful this day, a winter-like sun forcing us to squint and a wonderful blue sky. While we were biking next to each other, Moon told me about this area of the city, its old buildings and abandoned warehouses, wastelands and rusty bikes. When we arrived there, after climbing one or two stories, we entered a room whose only window was on the ceiling, creating a skylight where the tiniest dust particle floating in the air couldn’t remain unseen. This room is the kind where you don’t know where to turn, because they’re so many things to look at. It looks like an antique or secondhand shop, and you just wonder how many people have been there to abandon all these miscellaneous objects. Dismembered dolls, dusty comics, oil lamps, pieces of furniture everywhere, old old records, a dead radio, flowery dishware, promotional lighters, board games... And Witchies, smiling, sitting on old battered sofas. They only had time to practice one song for us, just like most of the bands we were fiming during the festival.
Listening to their songs on MySpace, I often felt that Chad’s solemn and often Bowie-like voice was a little muffled by the music, not present or emphasized enough. Right when they started a low-key, more sober version of "Royal Blood", I quivered. Contrary to the original and its pop-synthe accents, the song then suddenly took on a new meaning in sobriety, revealing its gravity, as well as unexpected solemnity. Hiding behind a sofa with the sound recorder, headphones on, I could hear a funeral march, a gothic ceremony, and I thought to myself that it fitted them well.
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