I was in my friend Jonah’s home waiting for a lift back to Montreal from Toronto. It had been a hectic but fun-filled couple of days, just ran in from Montreal on a ride share with a bunch of animated people. Then spent the weekend checking out some shows and playing a show at the Cameron house as part of the North by Northeast festival. Flaming lips performed to over 30 000 people on the Dundas square. They got a large crowd from disappointed and saddened Radiohead fans after their stage came crashing down and killing one of their crew members. It was awful to hear that. We didn’t stick around too long due to the sheer number of people there, it was as Michelle says “Bad Vibes”. I played an amazing set last night, beautiful audience and I surprised myself. I hadn’t played this set more than twice in over 3 months and yet, muscle memory just kicked into overdrive and I felt a real connection to the music because I wasn’t tired or sick of playing it! It was a lovely thing to be with this most memorable moment of connecting to a message to a music. Got to reconnect with old friends like Anne Joyce and JF Robitaille, Joe Chisholm as well as a buddy from Winnipeg, Tim Jones and many more! Its so good to go back to the T-dot and catch up!

I’m sorry for not having been writing lately, I felt I needed to take a break as I felt it was overkill since Id been back. I was writing almost every day on tour and I developed a kind of Carpal Tunnel pain in my left hand which kind of told me to slow down on the writing especially since I type (believe it or not) with only my index fingers! Believe it or not again, but I have lived over 3 lifetimes in the last three months. The first consisted of coming home from Europe I thrust myself into creating the One Man Band Festival.

It’s a unique 3 day music festival that celebrates and exclusively showcases the talents and creativity of one-man/woman band musicians and performers the likes of loop artists, multi instrumentalists, dj’s, and other solo performers. For a first run, the fest was a remarkable success with next year is slated to get even bigger. The first edition was a beautiful thing. Big turnout but most importantly all the over twenty artists that played it were so amazing and diverse that it made for a special event. I was completely satisfied for a first time. I am looking forward to doing this again next year. It will be much more organized and much more talented and high profile artists coming through.

To promote the next edition, I’ve booked a one man show nationwide as the One Man Band Festival ExpressThe idea is to take the festival on the road nationwide. Each night will be billed exclusively as a one man/woman artist showcase, in different cities. I will be sharing stages with other great local/national one (wo)man bands/solo acts. The Fest has proven to be a very attractive for audiences & media due to its unique character and musical diversity (see press here). The concept alone gets many curious people interested and draws more than an average indie crowd. For this show I’ll be touring with my friend from thunder bay  Jean Paul de Roover, a fascinating-to-watch loop artist from Thunder bay. We’ll make a pretty great pair of o-m-beez and he will just tour around Quebec and Ontario with me where afterwards I will continue on westwards by myself to hook up with other amazing artists. This will help raise the profile of the fest and already next years edition is looking amazing, we’ve added one day five venues and another 15 acts, so its growing exponentially as I figure it would, the fest was such a roaring success that I cant wait for next May for #2 which will concretize the whole thing!

Ahem.. like I said, many changes have taken place since my return from Europe. Montreal has been the focus of a struggle between a generational, class gap that has been made so wide that it can no longer be ignored throughout the world. At first I curiously got into it but then really propelled myself into it, hitting the streets with students and supporters and donating my time to the cause in any way I could. We’ve yet to see the final denoument of how this will end.

Then I was thrust into a 2-week sojourn with my lovely lady Lisa who came to visit me form London England for two weeks in Montreal. Pure Bliss. She made me rediscover the beauty of my city by introducing her to it, and she brought much joy to my home and life. We went camping in the gorgeous Mont Tremblant and got eaten alive by black flies, and we basically biked all around the city! I’m excited to se her again in the fall; hopefully we will take her from “honorary Canadian” to citizen.

It was nice to put everything on hold for a while, music, work, life and just be. It’s really in my nature to forge full speed ahead in my endeavors and work and dreams I sometimes don’t know where to stop! Summer is the perfect time for slowing down and for the first-time in three years I finally did so. Now Im back on the move again, Lisa’s (who I met while on tour in London) back home in England for now and I’m working hard on the Festival for next year as well as a one man band tour across Canada in September for one month.

Oh yeah! I’ve also been working as tour Manager Repercussion Theatre who do Shakespeare in the Park (they tour around the different parks in the city and offer free shows for the communities around the parks. It’s free its fun and it’s in the open air. If you happen to be in Montreal and want something to do in the evenings between July 11th and August 5th and Like Theatre (this year the play is Taming of the Shrew) then check out the schedule for details. See you at the park as we say! After that its weeding season with three of my bestest and longtime friends all getting married in the same month! I am actually going to be officiating the wedding ceremony of my friends Reisa and Michael so I’m looking forward to that, hope I can live up to the occasion! Apparently in Quebec any regular citizen can marry someone at least once in their life (they are de-virginizing me!) then after that a few festivals Duckstock for one, one of my favorite outdoor lakeside indie music fests and Artswells , then its off to tour! Second major tout this year alone as well as first fest I put on, it’s been a productive year but Im only getting started.

I’ll leave you with some pics and vids of random events and highlights since I’ve been back from Europe in April as well as highlights from the one man band fest and a few festivals I’ve played over the summer such as North by Northeast in Toronto, and Fringe Festival in Montreal and Ill be coming to you live again with new updates on what the fall and Winter holds as well as what we can expect from the Festival next spring.

I hope you are all getting intimate with your natural surroundings, if you know what I mean. keep on taking in every moment as if an eternity!

Jon Cohen