Just for Laughs | Beyond the Laughter
Just For Laughs Festival hits us Montreal locals in the sweet center of our dynamic festival season. Bringing the best of the best in comedy to our backyard for a series of galas and free shows at Place Des Arts.
Just for Laughs is more than a bundle of laughter and carnival rides or games for the kiddies – I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of music at this year’s festival.
Where some classic groups display a stifled effort in their ‘golden years’, Kool & the Gang kept it fresh, powerful and youthful.
Well, weren’t we ever lucky to have Kool & the Gang headline the closing night at JFL Festival. The classic funk outfit from the 70s, 80s drew in one of the biggest crowds I have ever seen at Place Des Arts. So huge one could hardly move out of it to grab a drink. But it was okay, as soon as the band kicked off their set the sardine packed crowd felt the warm embrace and got down together in a Kool fashion.
Kool & the Gang could be one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. I’m possibly still riding the high of what came to be a very unexpected quality in performance, but I stand firm on it – they were remarkable. At moments I felt like we had danced and shimmied our way right back in time to the 80s where the band was in their so called glory days.
The group was on point. If I didn’t know any better I would have assumed that this Kool & the Gang was assembled out of the band’s kids or younger recruits to keep the energy. All of the members held strong through their set and the energy was high at Place Des Arts.
All of the classics were played. From Ladies Night to Get Down On It, Joanna to Celebration – the setlist was a stellar funk wave ride through decades past. Everyone in the audience ate it up. Generations together celebrating one common thing – the love of great music.
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Shout out to the drummer, George Brown. That drum solo before the encore was something indescribable!
Congratulations to go to Kool & the Gang for keeping the boogie strong all these years. Here’s to another 50 years of good vibe music for the masses, guys!
Iconic pioneer DJ Grandmaster Flash graced our fair city at the Melting Pot Block Party on July 21st.
Grandmaster Flash showed Montreal why he’s the absolute legend that he is. Spinning classics that kept the crowd singing and dancing all night long. We were excited to have him, and he did not disappoint. Here we have a DJ that stands the test of time and brings through some top level mixing and real DJism to the JFL music scene, beyond the laughter.
Russell Peters. Comedian. Actor. DJ?
Russell Peters was back again for this year’s Just For Laughs Festival. He’s a staple in the comedy scene in Canada and has been for years. You know his name. You know his style. But, did you know he is also a DJ?
Probably not – cause realistically, he is no DJ. His set on the main stage at JFL was flooded with classic Hip Hop and some light comedy, almost as if he didn’t want to be there at all. How on earth a headline slot on the main stage allows for a comedian to dip off stage numerous times throughout is beyond me. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
Moving over to The Melting Pot stage, Peters dug deep into his “repertoire” to bring you the finest curated classic Hip Hop playlist one could here. I say playlist cause there was little to no DJing happening on this stage. Easily distracting the crowd allowing VIP section members up on stage to dance while he “played” through his CD book – no word of a lie, I sat there and watched him flip CDs more than I watched him on the actual decks.
Not to mention when he was on the decks he always had someone who clearly knew their way around the tech to assist him. If you’re on the hunt for a wicked hip hop DJ set – do not catch one by Russell Peters. If you want to watch a low-key celebrity play his favourite playlist, well, then Russel Peters is your guy.
To the JFL organizers, Best Kept MTL tips our hat to you – the music at the years’ festival was (for the most part) outstanding! Shout out to Annexe Communications for helping Best Kept MTL be on the scene.