Sunday, 27 September 2015

MRCY Fest under the warm September sun

Show: MRCY Fest – Alabama Shakes · Local Natives · July Talk · Safia Nolin
Venue: Espace Montmorency, Laval
Date: Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Will just share my favorite moments of the day. Will not mention that Misterwives were extremely overexcited of playing around noon. That Claude Bégin looked bored on stage playing with his buds from Alaclair Ensemble, that guy is weird. That I felt bad for DJ Lary Kidd filling in for Angel Haze. That there weren't enough food trucks at the event. Won't be mean.

First up. Safia Nolin. Absolutely love her. She's the opposite of over the top. Even with the melodies. Am I wrong when I say I hear half notes? Beautiful voice, beautiful lyrics, beautiful everything in its minimalism. I love that part in "Valse à l'envers"when she sings "ne me touches pas"*, the notes used fit perfectly the lyrics. You understand what she's saying, what's the meaning behind them.

I've met her a few times, she's humble. I believe her songs are a reflection of who she is. Joseph Marchand, her musical partner, accompanied her perfectly on stage. Some extra high notes added on his guitar to the sometimes low ones of Safia Nolin.

Safia Nolin & Joseph Marchand

The set ended with the crowd singing him happy birthday (the day before). Also ended with a girl among us on the floor imitating her in a mocking tone. It's all good if you don't like Safia Nolin's music. But if you are to make fun of her songs or simply her, you better be smarter than that.

Next. July Talk. I've heard them before on the radio and didn't think much of it to tell you the truth. But holly molly is it a whole other thing live. This band from Toronto uses perfectly well the duality between the two voices. One is hoarse (Peter Dreimanis) and the other one is sweet (Leah Fay). Recorded, I couldn't feel that duality. I feel it live though. They are great performers.

July Talk

A few songs were played from their upcoming album. Peter Dreimanis asked us crowd to be sincere and let them know if we didn't approve of them. Well, not being completely knowledgable of their music, relying only on this afternoon set, I much prefer the old songs. The new ones have more rock in them, less sweetness. Not that I don't like rock&roll. But in this case, I like opposing forces.

Leah Fay moved around alot.
She also spat (or drooled) on a speaker, walked away for a second then back to wipe it with her dress.
Stole hats from the crowd. Crawled on the stage. Whatnot.

There have been periods in my life when I have ceased listening to music. For reason's I will not explain here, the last years of the 2000's were non-musical years. This is why I knew only Local Natives by name. Don't even recognize the cover art of their first album (which was apparently a hit) released in 2009, Gorilla Manor. I hear them for the first time this Saturday. It's quite enjoyable to tell you the truth. They are good musicians. I kinda had an eye for the drummer Matt Frazier simply because he was drumming without really drumming. In other words, didn't look like an effort to him, he could've been cooking eggs. Also, love it that there's no lead singer. Keyboardist Kelcey Ayer has a singular voice even if pitchy at times.

Local Natives
Local Natives' Taylor Rice

They mentioned this concert being special. Playing in Montreal where they have recorded before and considering this set as being the last one before recording the next album.

I loved it. Own Gorilla Manor now.

Alabama Shakes. Last but definitely not least. Here's another band where songs are good recorded but great live. You just feel the music when Brittany Howard sings in front of you.

Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes

The night before was at a monthly bar event called Mess Around. The best place to go dancing in Montreal (Divan Orange) in my not so humble (at times) opinion. Mess Around is Nick Osicka and Ben Shulman playing 45rpm's of early Soul/R&B. Don't know most of the songs they play but you guess where the songs lead. You can anticipate your next dance move solely around the beat. If someone asks what type of music is Alabama Shakes, you'll say some Soul some R&B right? But there's a difference. The beat changes. Am almost never aware when a song begins or ends. You have to be alert if you want to dance well.

They played "Heartbreaker", my favorite song of theirs. Thought I knew from beginning to end. Turns out I don't. Check it out.

I'd just like to add I have complete and utterly respect for the Alabama Shakes.

That was that for MRCY. Thank you for the candy in VIP lounge.
xoxo China

* don't touch me

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Timber Timbre's last night (for a while)

Show: Timber Timbre
Venue: Le National
Date: Saturday, September 13, 2015

Been thinking lately of the healing value of music. I'd even say medicinal. There are many ways to deal with problems. For me jogging is not it. Drawing, writing and music is it. Had I not had access to any of the three growing up I'd be heavily medicated. Going to concerts can be a small gamble. But it's so worth it. Sometimes you end up witnessing something magical. You leave the venue transformed. Last night at Le National, the sparks were among us.

First of all, Taylor Kirk, Simon Trottier, Mathieu Charbonneau, Bucky Wheaton and the saxophonist (if someone knows his name please let me know) are extremely talented. They transformed songs engraved in our memories. Had any other musicians done that it could have been a let down. This time we welcomed with open arms the change. (Except maybe for the tempo on "Magic Arrow")

Second of all, no photographs allowed. Was with friend V who thought that request was completely nonsense. She took a few pics until a fan reminded her of of the no pictures policy. Surprisingly enough, V listened. She ceased taking photographs. We left the venue afterwards thankful of that. We miss the surrounding beauty when glued to our phones.

Third, the lights. The first time I saw Timber Timbre perform, the stage was pitch black. Didn't understand why. This time the stage had some lighting but not enough for us to see clearly the musicians. We felt the music, we weren't watching the musicians play.

And of course, let's not forget that Taylor Kirk has no pitch problems.

Anything else is unexplainable. We left the venue in awe and a bit healed.*

Write to you soon.
xx China

* It was almost perfect. I say almost 'cause my mood was disturbed by what I overheard as we were leaving. Behind me were members of a Montreal band I like (and reviewed before on this blog). They mentioned having sold to a fan their last vinyl three or four times its price. And then they laughed. I didn't really think it was funny. Unless I'm writing for rreverb, I pay to attend concerts. Maybe it will change in the future but now that is how things are. I tell you, will no longer pay to attend one of their performances.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Psych Fest. Ponctuation | Milk Lines | Crosss | Birds of Paradise

Show: Psych Fest. Ponctuation + Milk Lines + Crosss + Birds of Paradise
Venue: Divan Orange
Date: Thursday, September 10th, 2015

My niece Sandrine joined me that evening. Brought her camera, took a few pictures. I love her and am so happy she'll be joining me once in a while with camera. A little hiccup yesterday though. Her fully charged battery ran out after the first set. It happens.

Birds of Paradise. photo Sandrine Cadieux
Birds of Paradise. photo Sandrine Cadieux
Birds of Paradise. photo Sandrine Cadieux

Birds of Paradise. Took a look at a clip of theirs beforehand ("Ghost of a Lover"). Not my type of music, didn't expect to enjoy the performance. Turns out it's the first time I really listen to Roy Vucino's voice that evening. Quite beautiful. A lot of character.


Second set, Crosss. They're good but I've said this before, the music is odd. I like it a little bit more every time I see them. Still, it's going to take a while.

Milk Lines

Third set, Milk Lines. Love them. King Khan & BBQ Show posted their music on Facebook, been a fan ever since. Emily Clarke, who's voice is perfect for that sound, was not as pitchy as she can be sometimes. And I believe Jeff Clark sang on a few more songs than he usually does. Good!
They're releasing an album soon. Y était temps.

Last up, Ponctuation. First heard of them in an AV Club article. They were playing M pour Montréal. They are good performers. Only, last night the crowd wasn't doing much. Just listening. I kinda got bored. Drank my last beer at the bar. Sorry guys.


As I was heading home on Rachel street, ran into a very drunk girl trying to walk on the sidewalk. She was barefoot, holding the shoes by the laces. Kept dropping them also. I figured she needed someone to walk with. A tourist from Sweden, her Airbnb wasn't too far. The ten block conversation was on how awful men were. The day before, a guy approached her and told her something despicable. It got to her, enraged her. She wouldn't tell me what it was. Mysteries.

Sometimes I hate men. But really, I love them. Sometimes I write nonsense. Don't go taking me seriously. All of you are much better musicians than I ever will be.

Just saying.

xx China