Magazine’s annual concert tour brings hot acts to town



Barry Russell photo



John Londoño photo

Maxim Morin, top, the man behind Juno-nominated Champion, headlines the Exclaim! Spring Fling showcase tour, along with Polaris Music Prize finalists Malajube tonight at The Phoenix.

Your long-term favourite band broke your heart. They released a bad album, or stopped coming to your city, or maybe you caught them making out with some cheap producer. Maybe it’s time for a spring fling.

That’s this year’s tongue-in-cheek title of Exclaim!’s annual showcase tour and Spring Fling promises to serve up “a series of one-night stands across the country.” The magazine has picked up four sizzling hot acts: Champion, Malajube, Chromeo and You Say Party! We Say Die!

Exclaim! editor James Keast says the band selection process is an arduous one, noting that if “you get four Exclaim! editors in a room, you’ll get six different opinions.”

“It’s always the push ‘n’ pull of putting together a variety of sounds but still keeping the show cohesive — you don’t want to clear the room when another band comes on,” he says. “The idea is you can come for one band and discover another.”

Be gentle with Champion — it’s his first time. (Touring across Canada, to be specific.) Montreal’s Juno-nominated masterpiece-maker, a thoroughbred of live guitars and throbbing electronics, aims to offer the acclaimed album you already know but shaken up within “a mix of everything.”

“We improvise all of the structures of the songs,” says front man Maxim Morin of the live show with his band, the G-Strings. “We have jams that sometimes end up like songs and I like to provide that experimental side. A CD is a CD and a live act is a live act — one inspires the other but it doesn’t have to be the same.”

Morin promises to be a generous performer, adding he’s only having fun if you are. “You have people on the stage, you have people in the crowd,” he says, “everybody’s working at this concert.”

As for Chromeo, they’ve already been around the block and back, but have commitment issues. The odd-looking duo of Dave One and Pee Thug, who sells themselves as the only successful Arab-Jew partnership since the dawn of mankind, could only sign up for half the tour. Nevertheless, if it’s short, Dave One promises that Chromeo will be sweet.

“It’s fun, it’s fresh,” he says of their live act. “I’m 21 feet taller than (Pee Thug), and he’s 21 feet wider than me. And then we’ve got a drummer that looks like he’s 71 years old. I guess it comes off as fun through some weird chemical reaction.”

But if a one-night stand simply conjures up the image of a lonesome farewell, Keast notes that the tour will always be back again.

“The showcase represents really good, exciting music and it’s become an annual ritual for music lovers,” he says. “It could end up being the beginning of a beautiful relationship.”