Archive for March, 2011

Remember a few weeks back when I wrote a review of the new Jeff Martin CD? I was telling that I couldn’t wait to see how it would sound live. Well, now I’ve seen it and let me tell you I was not deceived.
I was glad to see that the show was at Latulipe. It’s a small venue that I like a lot. However, I was quite surprised to see that the balcony was closed. It was a sign that it was going to be a small intimate show. Actually, I was shocked to see that it was probably the smallest crowd I seen at a Jeff Martin or The Tea Party show. But with the performance I saw that night, I am confident that next time’s going to be bigger. The nice thing about those kind of show is that the peoples that were there were real fans of Martin. Those who kept following him. And we were rewarded for that.
The show started at 8h00 sharp. A guy walked on stage, alone with his acoustic guitar. His name his Gabriel Lee. When he started playing and singing, I felt transported to the 70’s. His music had some kind of a classic rock feel. And what a voice. He has a strong voice, reminiscent of Robert Plant’s. That was a really pleasant opening act. I must admit though that after a few songs, we became a little bored with all the “baby”, “woman” and “love”. I think that those three words were the foundation of all his songs. That being said, it all came together as a pretty interesting whole. You can watch a (very) small part of the peformance here.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same of the second band that took the stage. They’re called Flowerchild. They started the show with a pretty energetic rock song. However, from there, they seemed to be going in all directions. They had a country song and even a Brett-Michaels-kind of ballad. I have to say however that they were good musicians, especially the drummer. I concede that being an opening act is not easy. You’re performing in conditions that are not necessarely the best for you, in front of peoples that don’t know you and did not came to see you. But they difinitely didn’t impress me. Watch their first song here.
Around 9h45, Jeff Martin and the band entered the stage. They started with the album’s opening track, The Ground Cries Out. That was it, this evening was set to be a great one. I don’t recall seeing Jeff rock like that since he disbanded The Tea Party. His voice was, as always, deep and mesmerizing. And he treated us with tons of great guitar solos and improvisations. As an example, take a look at this video of Overload, which he started with a nice bluesy intro. He also offered us a nice solo during the song, into which he threw a few Hendrix riff, for the great pleasure of his guitarist fans.
Speaking of guitarist fan, I was please to see him play with a Fender Telecaster for The Messenger. I believe that was the first time I saw him play a Fender, which a like a lot.
Besides from playing the songs off their latest record, they also played a few of The Tea Party’s songs like Overload, Requiem, The Messenger, The Bazaar and Coming Home. They also played Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin, with the participation of Gabriel Lee. I have to say that as much as I like the new material, everytime they played a Tea Party song, it made me realized how great they were.
As if it wasn’t enough, we also had the pleasure to see Jeff playing his guitar with a bow, as he used to do in Save Me. Even though he did not invent this, and some others have done it brillantly, it’s always thrilling to see Jeff pull out his bow and play his magic. You can see it here, on The Cobra.
For me, this show had nothing really surprising. After all, it was the 6th or 7th time I saw Jeff live (either alone or with The Tea Party). But I can tell you without a doubt that it was one of those amazing memorable rock show. It had a lot of those little extras that make a show stand out.
Hats off to Jeff and the guys and please, come back soon to rock the hell out of that city.

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Jeff is back

Posted: March 16, 2011 in CD, Musique
Tags: , , , ,

I was in a music store last week, looking at CDs when the artwork of a CD grabbed my attention. I looked at it more closely and saw that it was a new Jeff Martin recording. For those who don’t know him, he was the frontman of the Canadian band The Tea Party, who were active in the ’90s, up to their breakup in 2005. Their style was a mix of raw rock and blues, with a middle-eastern flavour. After the breakup, Jeff put out a solo album in 2006, and a record with a new band, the Armada, in 2008.

Even though I’ve been a little disappointed by his post-Tea Party efforts, I remained a big fan of Jeff Martin. And it was with great pleasure that I discovered he was back…and rocking.

Before talking about the music, I’d like to talk a little bit about the visual. When CD came along, the jacket became less important than it was on a (much larger) vinyl. And it’s almost disappearing now with MP3 and digital music. However, I personally really love that piece of art that is, to me, part of the musical experience. And in that specific case, I must say that I really love the artwork of the CD. It’s really beautiful, and set the vibe for that middle-eastern flavoured record. Even the booklet has this mystical side that is just awesome.

That being said, let’s jump into the music. Right off the bat, Martin and his band set the pace with The Ground Cries Out (which is also the album title). The pounding percussions, the heavy guitars and that exotic melody immediately put us in a Tea Party flashback. However, I have to say that he does not sound like a copy of himself. It’s just that he brought back that spirit that was behind Tea Party’s music.

Of course, you’ll also find on the album a touch of blues and slide guitars, as Jeff Martin seems to cherish it. Good examples of that are Queen of Spades or Riverland Rambler.

Another of Martin’s trademark is instrumental acoustic songs. And of course, you’ll find it here as well, in songs as Blue Mountain Sun or The Mekong. On this last one, Martin widens its influences to add a touch of oriental melodies. I would say there’s a little something Chinese in this song. I believe this is the first time he explores this, on record at least.

The album closes as strong as it opened, with The Pyre. Its heavy guitar riff will leave you begging for more.

To me, this album is one of the interesting album 2011 has given us so far. It sure isn’t The Tea Party. There was something special between Jeff Burrows, Stuart Chatwood and Jeff Martin. Those of you who have seen them live know what I am talking about. But this is clearly a great rock album.

Now I can’t wait to see (or hear) how this will sound live.

What a nice surprise to discover that Mogwai, the Glasgow-based rock band, was offering us the gift of a new Album. Even nicer to see that they will also follow with a tour, that will bring them to Montreal in May.

I have been a fan for 3 or 4 years, after a friend of mine made me listen to Haunted By a Freak. That was it. He then convinced me to go see them live. I new very few songs, but I was blown away by the show. They really transorted me into their sound-walled universe.

So, it’s with a lot of excitement that I put their latest CD, Hardcore will never die but you will, in my CD player (yes, call me a dinosaur if you will, but I still love my CDs). Once again, they didn’t disapoint me.

Let’s start by saying that this is not a “remake” of their previous album, as some bands would do. The mood is quite different that what they offered previously. I have to say that at the first listen, I didn’t notice as much hooks as on the previous album. No Christmas steps, no Haunted by a Freak, no Batcat. However, the more I listen to it, the more it grows inside of me.

Everything is there to make an amazing rock album. Great drum beats (White Noise for example), killer fuzz (Rano Pano), nice melodies (well…all tracks), funky song titles (You’re Lionel Richie), and even a song that has this Joy Division kind of vibe (Mexican Grand Prix).

Hi highly recommand this record. Better yet, check out their website at http://www.mogwai.co.uk/ and find out when they play near you. I guarantee that this is an experience you won’t forget soon.