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    Foxy Shazam and Free Energy Headline SPIN Tour

    "Show me your ass, baby! Show me your ass!" Eric Nally of Foxy Shazam was yowling in Montreal's tiny bar Jukebox, and despite the crowd pressed up against the foot-high stage, he was calling out a bandmember -- probably bassist Daisy, with the two-tone frightwig -- while Alex Nauth blew strip-bar trumpet over Sky White's Queenly keyboards in "The Only Way to My Heart (Is With An Axe)." And that was for openers. On a vile Nor'easter Friday night, two bands were here to jam themselves into the streetfront window of a second-floor venue so tiny the stage-left members were obscured by the p.a. But you could see the '70s just fine from there. And both bands, co-headlining their recently launched tour sponsored by SPIN, wore that decade like Ric Ocasek's Moodring. First up, Philly's Free Energy, some of whom once played in a band called Hockey Night.

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    Sufjan Stevens Kicks Off Tour in Montreal

    When your most famous song is a self-critical elegy for a serial killer, there is no "business as usual." And as Sufjan Stevens opened his tour in Montreal Tuesday night, business was extraterrestrial. The indie-folk poet laureate of Brooklyn brought his lavishly melodic voice, an 11-piece band with three horns, two drummers, two keyboards, and two backup singers in Ace Frehleyette outfits, and an utterly uncorked flair for the orchestral. Is it a weakness as well? Five years after Come On Feel the Illinoise blew up, he was in a packed Metropolis before a rapt and rapturous crowd, with his "Merci beaucoups," his humble mien, and his outsized ambition. After 13-minute opener All Delighted People dropped in its Simon & Garfunkel brushstrokes, Stevens was announcing that new album The Age of Adz had been released this very day.

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    Gorillaz Evolve Into Arena Rockers in Montreal

    No better time to work out the real-vs.-artifice dilemma than the opening night of your world tour, and no one better to do it than a cartoon band come to life. On Sunday night, Gorillaz were in our midst. And what is "the real," anyway? The issue washes up on the band's 2010 album Plastic Beach, where head ape Damon Albarn explores the conflicted but interesting theme of artifice as not necessarily antithetical to nature , but an outgrowth of it -- which would make sense for a guy pretending to be a cartoon.

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    M.I.A. Mixes Messages at Montreal Tour Opener

    Arular, Kala, // / Y / -- Maya Arulpragasm named her albums after her freedom-fighter father, her mother, and herself. It says plenty -- the M.I.A. theme is identity, in all its roiling, coming-to-be chaos. But M.I.A. is also about contradiction, or at the very least, duality. Tuesday night's tour-opener at Montreal's sold-out Metropolis brought home that idea. And whether the crowd believed Maya to be real, or a purposefully conflicted character, the packed house was there to throw hands in the air, dance (even onstage), and celebrate all that diversity. M.I.A.'s show was a brief 65-minutes long but she was a ferocious presence on stage for the entire gig. After an opening spot from her self-described dance-mad protégé Rye Rye and an interminable DJ set, M.I.A.

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    Lady Gaga Launches New 'Monster' Tour in Montreal

    One Nation Under Gaud -- that was Lady Gaga's declaration ofindependence as her Monster Ball Tour re-opened in a packed MontrealBell Centre on Monday night. In an exuberant two-hour-plus trip through her re-imagined Wizard of Oz narrative, the crowd goggled and shrieked to a flamingpiano, a bleeding, burning Angel,underwear sparklers, a dozen dancers, bracing clubland beats, slashesof metalloid guitar, and more hydraulics than a NASA launch; there were multi-level stage platforms, a walkway riser, scrims, video screens,monsters -- even a headpiece that fanned out robotically asa canary-haired Gaga belted "So Happy I Could Die." Well over 17,000 "little Monsters" raved the night away through adisco passion play in Four Acts, moving from City to Subway to Forestto the terminus, the Monster Ball.

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