Passovah 2014: A Night Out @ Piccolo Rialto

Montreal is clearly not done with its many incredible summer festivals. The 3rd annual Passovah Fest took place in several different venues between August 21 and 24, with over 60 artists taking part this year.

A fun aspect of Passovah is that the organizers have presented a series of pay-what-you-want events, though they suggest attendees pitch in between $5 and $25. In addition to the awesome live acts, the festival offers a compilation in partnership with Villa Villa Nola,  which includes many local bands. The compilation also follows the pay-what-you-want concept, with the proceeds going towards the Ange-Aimée Woods Memorial Bursary.

I was lucky enough to check out the Thursday night show at the Piccolo Rialto. I had never been there before, nor have I ever heard of it! It’s located in the basement of Montreal’s iconic Rialto Theatre. The venue has a church basement vibe, with a mix of comedy club, and grandma’s kitchen, all going on at once. I kind of loved it! With a crazy light set up, and even a smoke machine- kicking it old school.

Even though the popular Frog Eyes and PS I Love You brought in the crowd and hype to this show, the two bands that really stood out for me where Montreal’s Smokes and Nanimal. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed watching Frog Eyes, who’s set was bit long but interesting, and PS Love You, who rocked theirs with amazing guitar solos, but the 2 “smaller” acts were simply perfect.

Smokes @ Passovah, Photo Courtesy of Sean Vandaru

Smokes is comprised of 4 dudes, including an amazing violinist. Their rock and roll vibe mixed with such a classical instrument is surprisingly well balanced. The singer wails every single word of his songs while the quartet rocks every inch of the stage. Smokes have a dramatic stage presence that really stands out.

Nanimal, Photo Courtesy of Nanimal,

And then you have Nanimal. Three guys and a lady rocking it from every angle. This pop-rock band had the crowd dancing throughout their entire set. Their confident garage-indie rock pop sound is clearly influenced by 90’s rock. The guitarist’s technical licks and the bassists groovy vibes enhance the simple melody in every song, while the signer’s raw sound is incredibly captivating. This band has a killer stage presence rocking out all over the place. And those catchy tunes- had me singing along!

Both bands nailed their short 20 minute sets, and I for one cannot wait to see what they are up to next!


About Alyssa Rodriguez

a hard core Montrealer who loves Cupcakes and her Bike!



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