Though the venue known as MTelus opened in September 2017, the performing arts centre in Montreal’s downtown core is yet another venue to undergo corporate rebranding in exchange for financial sponsorship and updated sound systems, having been known as Metropolis since 1987. No matter the name, MTelus is still considered one of the world’s best rock venues, and in 2011 was ranked ninth most popular North American club venue in ticket sales.
David Bowie, Beck, Kraftwerk, Prince, Adele, Radiohead and Coldplay have played this storied 2300-capacity venue in the past, and the venue still keeps big acts rolling in, with Slayer, Run the Jewels, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie and Future Islands having played in recent years. Metric also recorded their live album/film, the aptly titled Live at Metropolis, there in 2006. The KANPE Foundation, the charity founded by Arcade Fire’s Regine Chassagne, hosted their yearly benefit concert at Metropolis in 2017. Since reopening as MTelus, it has played host to acts like Grizzly Bear, the National, Arch Enemy and King Krule. The venue also helps host the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal and Francofolies de Montreal.
The theatre layout is simple: a good-sized stage facing a wide wooden floor space, and a rounded balcony that offers excellent views of the stage. Its ornate red and gold decor dates from the 1930s, when the venue was repurposed from a skating rink to a cinema. It later became a porn theatre and, in the 1980s, a discotheque, which gave it the name Métropolis. Équipe Spectra bought Métropolis in 1997 and turned it into a concert hall.
The venue is easy to find, located close to the Metro and many downtown hotels. The amphitheatre is fully equipped with accessible ramps and washrooms for individuals with mobility issues, but there is no elevator access to the balcony.