KickDrum and Hot Tramp Management Get Groovy in Backyard Session

Le Dépanneur Cafe Hosts a Free Show for Everyone to Enjoy

Laura Gray describes their band as gloom-pop. Photo Elias Grigoriadis

Cafés that showcase artists are not a new invention. However, Le Dépanneur Café has live music scheduled all day which is not a concept that is often seen. After the success of their debut festival at the beginning of September, Hot Tramp Management chose the café that seats roughly 30 people as the one to host one of their Backyard Sessions.

Three femme-fronted acts performed throughout the evening with 45-minute sets apiece. Felix Ho is one of the five volunteers at KickDrum—a music promotion group focused on smaller musical acts. This is not their first Backyard Sessions. This is, however, their first show in collaboration with Hot Tramp.

“Everyone involved has been super passionate and cool about getting this show done,” said Ho. “We help organize shows around Montreal because locals bands and artists sometimes get overlooked by some of the bigger promotion groups so we’re here to shine a light on some great music that might not come across everyone’s radar.”

Originally taking place in the backyard of the café, they decided to switch it up recently and have the shows take place inside the venue.

First up was Moroccan-born singer-songwriter Nora Toutain, who performed a medley of some of her songs. The R&B artist aligned herself with Hot Tramp Management to promote her upcoming album in May. Playing alongside her guitarist Frank O’Sullivan, the stripped-back set up let Toutain’s voice and her lyrics shine through.

The stripped-back set up let Nora Toutain’s voice and her lyrics shine through. Photo Elias Grigoriadis

“There’s really a lot of beautiful energy and everyone involved was so wonderful to work with,” said Toutain. “The venue is so intimate and close, you really get to interact with every single person in the crowd. It’s a beautiful way to showcase your music in an authentic way.”

Following up Toutain’s set was Laura Gray. The pop and folk-inspired duo that described themselves as “gloom-pop” was not originally slated to perform at this Backyard Session.

However, given the injury to singer Maryze, who was supposed to perform, and Laura Gray having played at Hot Tramp Fest earlier this September, there they were. With Gray on the guitar along with saxophonist Marc Richard, the two combined for a sweet back and forth that blended wonderfully with Gray’s vocals.

“Everything was so lovely. The concept [of Dépanneur Café] is really interesting and playing it was so much fun,” said Gray. “It’s such a great space for musicians, and collaborating with KickDrum and Hot Tramp was totally awesome.”
While they do have some shows coming up, they’re mostly focused on their EP and are working to finish that.

The third and final act to play was The Leanover who put on a quirky, upbeat, and poignant set that kept everyone in a good mood and completely focused on every last lyric. While they don’t like defining their genre, the band—consisting of lead singer and guitarist Ali Overing, bassist Lou Seltz, and drummer Erik Fines—went with indie rock and jazz hybrid, before jokingly settling for the genre “post-description.”

“We have a lot of influences and that’s why we struggle with that question a lot,” said Overing. “Cate Le Bon is an artist that me and Lou [Seltz] kind of first bonded over when we started.”

KickDrum will be hosting another Backyard Session again at Le Dépanneur Cafe on Sept.18 with performances from Eric Seguin, Needle & Gem, and Roźa.