Words: Riel Lynch / Photos: Janine Kropla
As inhabitants of a city that acts as a microcosm of Mars we have become experts in the art of the indoor winter experience. It is on this very sentiment that Matt Schellenberg is hyped to be curating the second Pop Nuit festival.
Pop Nuit is a sub-sect of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival (NMF) that challenges the limitations of pop music by hosting fresh and gritty musicians and artists--like the circle-breathing saxophonist Colin Stetson, or the spine-chilling (in the best way possible, obviously) Vancouver violinist and songstress Hannah Epperson, and the multifarious artist Nereo II. The aforementioned artists will be playing on January 31st at the Millennium Center, where festival goers should plan to get fancy, drink some spirits, and have some good fun.
Speaking of fun--on the 25th Pop Nuit and Big Fun festival are putting on a collaborative kick-off show. On this night Winnipeg’s own Venetian Snares and Mahogany Frog will be playing at Union Sound Hall in the Exchange District. “Expect to be agitated in a good way”, says Schellenberg.
What is so different about this year’s festival? Sarah Neufeld of the Arcade Fire and Jesse of Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers played at the 2013 Pop Nuit, which made for an exultant first festival. Matt contends that even though Winnipeg has an already innovative taste in music, he wanted to take it a little bit further for this year’s choice in sets. “I trust that Winnipeg is a place that likes more than just the Barenaked Ladies,” he jokes. “I trust that there is a spot for this [Pop Nuit], and I know it will do quite well again this year”.
In the end, Matt’s certitude in the success of this year's Pop Nuit makes sense, even to an ear untutored in the temperament of the Winnipeg music scene. Simply put, he is acutely aware of what we as a city lack most—which are innovative festivals that cater to the under thirty crowd, yet do not try to “cheapen the art”.
January 25th - 11:00pm @ Union Sound Hall
Venetian Snares w/ Mahogany Frog
January 31st - 9:00pm @ Millenium Centre
9:00 The Art of Nereo II + Synonym Art Consultation
10:00 Hannah Epperson
10:45 Colin Stetson