Archive for the ‘Shows’ Category

Thursday, October 6th. I was really excited I was about to see them as it’s been a long time since this instrumental post-rock band from Texas came to Montreal. Last time I saw them was in March 2007, at Le National. A great show. They came back a little bit later the same year during the Osheaga festival, but I missed them. I was unlucky enough that their set was sceduled at the exact same time as the Smashing Pumpkin’s. I was not going to miss them this time around.

Opening for them this time was Wye Oak. This indie rock duo from Baltimore offer a mix of rock, pop and folk, with a bit of noise rock to spice things up a bit. Quite an interesting mix don’t you think? At first, singer Jenn Wasner seemed to be a bit uncomfortable. She did not interact a lot with the crowd. However, by the end of their set, she seemed much more comfortable. I was really impressed by drummer Andy Stack’s performance. He would play drums, while playing bass lines on a synth with his left hand. They gave a very good performance which leave me wanting to discover more about them. Watch the perform two songs off their latest album: The Alter and Holy Holy.

A litlle bit after 9 o’clock, Explosions finally took the stage. With them, there was an additionnal musician, in the back, playing bass and some percussions. That leaves Michael James, who use to split his time between bass and guitar, playing mostly guitars. Now picture this: 3 guitars playing complementary parts, a bass guitar to add somme low-end kick and a drum to top all that. There you have all the ingredient for an awesome, melodic, heart-felt instrumental rock.

Right at the beginning of the show, guitarist Munaf Rayani addressed the crowd…in french. And his french was not bad at all. It was not only the usual “merci”, but rather a few sentences. It was the only time in the show they would talk to the crowd as after that, they started their musical journey that would transport us for the next hour and a half. They played the show as a whole big song, with no interuption between songs. They would instead glue all the songs together in an almost seamless way. It was a concept, and they did not even do an encore. The crowd stayed there, clapping and yelling, even if the lights were turned on. Munaf actually had to come back to the stage to tell us that they planned it as a one big trip, thanking us all for coming. I think the crowd was a bit disapointed. I would definitly have taken more, even though it was nice that they were doing it differenly than what we usually see.

They started the show with the excellent Yasmin The Light, and then songs like Greet Death and The Birth And Death Of The Day (just to name a few) followed one after the other. My favorite moment of the evening is without a doubt The Only Moment We Were Alone…what a terrific performance. See for yourself.

It was the second time we saw those guys live and I can tell you that I am already hoping for the next time. They wrap you in their guitar melodies and you get flooded in the waves of sound. A very mesmerizing experience.

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Six years already. Six years, almost exactly, since Pearl Jam played in Montreal. It was on September 15th 2010. Last Wednesday, they were finaly back, in front of an energetic crowd at Bell Center.

Opening for them was the almost-legendary band Mudhoney. They’ve been around since 1988 and were amongst the bands that defined that “Seattle Sound” that became grunge. You could clearly see by the stage presence that those guys were not new comers. The experience was there, even though it felt a little bit like a venue that big was not what fit the most to them. Even if I could not enjoy their set as it should because I am not very familiar with their repertoire (shame on me), they did a great job at setting the mood for their friends, Pearl Jam.

They started the show with an “old classic”, Elederly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town. From there, the crowd started singing with the band and it never stopped for the whole show. And of course, Vedder gave us a lot of room to do so. As always, he was very generous with us. He even started the second Encore by reading his horoscope that he found in a local newspaper, before playing Better Man. It was quite funny. He also made a comment that was loudly applauded. He said that out of the cities north of the border, Montreal was the one that felt the most like a different country.

We were seated in the sixth row, on the right side of the stage. Pretty good spot. On our side, we had Stone Gossard and Boom Gaspar, Pearl Jam’s “sixth member”. While Gossard was quietly but surely delivering the goods on our side, McCready was literally giving a show at the opposite side of the stage. He was jumping around and interacting a lot with the crowd, to which he gave tons of guitar picks.

Without being the best setlist I have seen by them, it was still pretty interesting. It covered pretty much all of their albums. From Why Go to Amongst The Waves, without forgetting Daughter, Better Man, Hail, Hail, Given To Fly, Insignificance, 1/2 Full, Severed Hand and many others. You can find the complete setlist on the Fan Club website here. As you can see, the played material from pretty much all of their albums. They even played Crazy Mary, a Victoria Williams cover that was on the Sweet Relief compilation. During this song, as always, Gaspar and McCready gave us an amazing solo where the organ and the guitar interacted together as if they were talking. It was a strong moment of the show. But to me, if I had to choose my favorite part of the show, I think it would be the song Black. This song is so beautiful, and with everybody singing it was just amazing.

Once again, Pearl Jam gave it’s Montreal fans an amazing and rocking evening. Let’s just hope that next time would not be in six years.

One of the most exciting news I had this spring was that The Tea Party were back together for a summer tour, 6 years after they broke up. To me, the Tea Party is amongst the most interesting Canadian bands. This tour was to stop in Montreal on July 7th 2011.

So, last thursday, we went to the Metropolis in Montreal, to see that show that we were really looking forward to. The opening act was a Canadian band called The Reason. Even though I didn’t know them, they’ve been around since 2003. For me, it was a really nice discovery. They delivered around 40 minutes of finely crafted rock songs with catchy melodies. Moreover, at the end of their set, they played a cover of one another Canadian band that I love a lot: Sloan. That was enough, they got me in their pocket. You can watch a video of this here.

Then came what we were all waiting for: The Tea Party. After just a few minutes, it was clear that their 6 years break wasn’t enough for them to lose anything. For those who have never seen them live, it’s amazing how a trio can sound so full and thick. And that is still true today.

There was something in the air that night. Some kind of excitement. You could feel that the crowd have been waiting for this moment for a long time. They opened the show with Writing’s on the wall, followed by The Bazaar. After this song, Jeff Martin said to us something like:
“Writing’s on the wall that The Tea Party is back, and it’s not going away anytime soon”. That was it. The audience was set on fire.

They delivered over 16 of their greatest songs, with all the energy that you could expect from them. You could actually see and feel that they were as excited to be back together as we were to see them back. And as usual, Jeff Martin had us sing on some songs, as Save Me, Release or Heaven Coming Down. The crowd was pleased. I was too.

For those interested in that kind of details, the setlist was ( maybe I forgot a song or two, but it should be pretty accurate):
– Writing’s On The Wall
– The Bazaar
– Lullaby
– Psychopomp
– The Messenger
– Fire In The Head
– Correspondance
– Heaven Coming Down
– Sun Going Down
– Halcyon Days
– Save Me
– Release
– Temptation
Encore break 1
– The River
Encore break 2
– The Badger
– Sister Awake / Paint It Black

To see some videos of the performance, you can go here.

Now that they shown us hey can still rock, they left me wanting for more. I am so looking forward to hearing new material. Please, give us a new record soon.

On April 25th 2011, I saw the Scottish band Mogwai live for the third time. They were playing the Olympia, in Montreal, to support their latest record called Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will.

Before the show, it seemed like the stars were not aligned for them this time around. A few days before the show, they announced that due to visas problems, they had to postpone the first few dates of the American leg of the tour. I was happy to see that the Montreal show was not delayed. Then, the day before the show, they announced on Facebook and Twitter that drummer Martin Bulloch would not be part of the tour, due to family commitments. James Hamilton of the band Errors will be playing drums for the North American tour.

As if it was not enough, when the opening act took the stage, they told us that they were playing instead of Errors who were supposed to be the opening act. I don’t know what happened here, but it seemed like everything was against Mogwai this time.

But honestly, I have to say that it all turned out pretty well. Finally, the first band to play was a Montreal band called USA, out of Vietnam. I never heard of them before. The singer/guitarist of that band is called Jonathan Cummins. He’s well known in the music community for having played in many bands, including the Doughboys and Treble Charger. But the sound of this new band is really far from the Doughboys or Treble Charger. The quartet plays a loud and heavy rock that is not instrumental, but that has long instrumental intros / breaks. I was pretty impressed by the performance. Of course, the sound was not all that good, but having a good sound is something an opening act can rarely count on. But the energy, and the songs were there. I will definitely be watching them and be looking for a CD release. I don’t know if there’s anything available yet, but I checked at the merchandise booth at the show and they did not have anything. However, for those interested, you can hear some songs on their Facebook page. And by the way, for those who said that a Telecaster could not be heavy or loud, well Cummins would prove you wrong anytime.

Mogwai took the stage next. Once again, we were on for a delightful journey through their musical landscape. They opened the show with White Noise, the first track on their new CD. As with all the other Mogwai show I have seen, there was nothing really fancy there. Just a great band, with awesome music. They also had a big screen behind them where there was some projections to add visuals to all that. Nothing fancy but still, everything it takes. Pure rock, intense and loud. But they’re not just loud. There’s something more. You can definitely feel the intensity. They sent shivers down my spine.

Something I really like about them, and you have to see them many times to notice, but as opposed to many other bands, they don’t serve us the same shows over and over. As an example, this time around they did not played songs as Haunted By a Freak, Christmas Steps or Batcat, even if these songs where great moments of previous shows. The playlist that time was mostly around the last album, with some older stuff thrown in. As an example,
the encore started with Auto Rock, off their 2006 album Mr Beast. I believe they played pretty much all the songs off the new CD, except for Letters To The Metro and Too Raging To Cheers. They played and fantastic show that lasted for roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes, including the 3 songs encore.

And for those “anxious” about Bulloch not being of the line up, let me tell you that Hamilton did a great job. That guy is definitely a hard-hitting beast. The only noticeable mistake was at the beginning of George Square Thatcher Death Party, in the encore. But still, it was just a little fun.

All in all, a gorgeous show… just as usual.

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.

Hier soir, 14 juin, j’assistais à mon tout premier spectacle de Malajube. Bon, OK, je dois l’avouer, je suis un retardataire. J’ai découvert Malajube avec leur dernier album, l’excellent Labirynthes. On nous anonçcait ce spectacle comme exceptionnel, du jamais vu. Tout avait été gardé secret,  je n’avais aucune idée à quoi m’attendre.

C’est donc sans savoir ce qui nous attendait que ma copine et moi avons pris place dans le théâtre Maisonneuve de la Place des Arts. À l’entrée, on nous remet un petit programme de la soirée. Des indices commencent à faire surface. Premièrement, on remarque que la soirée sera divisée en 4 parties, nommées casse-tête, ouija, osselets et scrabble. On remarque aussi, en regardant à la droite du programme le nom des musiciens participants. Surprise! On y retrouve Denis “Snake” Bélanger, Michel “Away” Langevin, Jean-Yves “Blacky” Thériault et Daniel Mongrain. Vous avez bien vu. Voivod était de la partie. Mais qu’est-ce que Voivoid allait faire dans un show de Malajube? Le mystère persiste.

Le spectacle commence et on voit une scène avec 4 synthétiseurs et un drum électronique. Un immense cube rubik est accroché au dessus du groupe, qui nous offre un “set” complèetement revu à la sauce électronique. C’est Casablanca qui ouvre le bal, suivi de les collemboles, hérésie, luna et ursuline. Le groupe avait alors un 5e membre en la personne de Jean-François Mineau, cousin de Julien et Francis. Tout y était, même les chemises en paillette. Je dois avouer que Luna en version électronique était particulièerement intéressante.

Ensuite, on attire notre regard vers la droite de la scène, où Sarah Page nous offre une prestation émouvante sur sa harpe. À prime abord, la coupure faisait un peu étrange. Mais après la prestation d’une dizaine de minute, j’avais compris. Malajube reviens sur une scène complètement transformée. Plus de néons, plus de drum électronique, plus de chemises à paillette. Le disco à fait place à un atmosphère plus folk / acoustique. Accompagnés d’un choeur de 6 personnes, le groupe nous offre des versions acoustiques de jus de canneberge, la valérie, dragon de glace, pâte filo, le métronome et cube rubique. Le contraste avec la première partie était frappant. Mais ce n’était pas pour autant tout aussi intéressant.

Après nous avoir complètement décontenancés, l’heure de l’entracte avait sonné. Les gens sortent de la salle visiblement satisfaits. Bien que des projecteurs braqués sur nous nous empêchent de voir ce qui se passe sur scène, on arrive tout de même en entrevoir des amplis Marshall. Ça laissait présager ce qui s’en venait…

Au retour de l’entracte, c’est Voivod qui entre sur scène et sans se faire attendre nous offre une version de fille à plumes qui décape. Ils ont eu droit à rien de moins qu’un standing ovation. Ils enchainent ensuite avec une 333 déchainée durant laquelle Malajube les rejoint pour une finalle plus grande que nature. Les gars de Voivod quittent ensuite pour laisser la place à la quatrième et dernière partie du spectacle, où on a pu apercevoir un Malajube plus “traditionnel” ou comme on est habitués de les voir (et les entendre). Ils nous offre un set généreux composé de la maladie, le tout-puissant, Étienne d’Août, casse-cou, le crabe, porté disparu et cristobald, pour laquelle Voivod ainsi que le choeur sont venus les rejoindre. J’en avais des frissons.

Sous une pluie d’applaudissements, les gars reviennent sur scène pour nous offrir tout un rappel: les dents, Montréal -40C et finallement la monogamie, où tout le monde chantait à l’unisson.

C’était la première fois que je voyais Malajube en spectacle, mais ça ne sera certainement pas la dernière. Et je suis drôlement content d’avoir été présent à ce spectacle qui était plus qu’un spectacle. C’était un évènement.

Merci Malajube!

Depuis plus de 15 ans, j’ai conserve les billets de tous les spectacles auxquels j’ai assisté. Je sais, ça peut paraître un peu bizarre (et peut-être que je le suis), mais je n’arrivais jamais à me convaincre de les jeter. Après tout, c’est tout ce qui me restait (physiquement parlant) d’un bon moment que je venais de vivre. Je me suis toujours dis qu’un jour je les mettrais dans un livre, avec mes commentaires sur le spectacle. Après 15 ans, je dois bien me rendre à l’évidence que si je ne l’ai jamais fais, je ne le ferai probablement jamais.

Hier soir, nous étions assis au Metropolis mon épouse et moi, attendant avec impatience le début du spectacle et nous discutions. C’est là que l’idée m’est venue. Et si au lieu de confiner ça dans un livre je faisais mon propre blog? Ça y est. L’idée est lancée. Maintenant je dois le faire. Alors, le voilà, mon tout premier blog. J’espère que vous allez l’apprécier.

Nous sommes dimanche, le 2 mai, et il est environs 20h00 lorsque les lumières s’éteignent. Je ne connaissais absolument rien de ce groupe appelé Death Vessel qui faisait la première partie. En fait, je devrais plutôt dire de ce gars connu sous le nom de Death Vessel. Un homme grand et mince, à la longue chevelure foncée marche sur la scène. Il est seul. Il saisi sa guitare acoustique et commence à chanter. Si javais eu les yeux fermés à ce moment-là, j’aurais été persuadé qu’il s’agissait d’une femme. Quelle fût donc ma surprise lorsque, après la première pièce, il s’adressa à la foule avec une voix tout de même assez grave. Ce n’est pas seulement qu’il chantait d’une voix aigue, mais le ton de sa voix avec un petit quelque chose de très féminin. Il a joué pendant environ 30 minutes et a quitté la scène. Je ne suis pas trop certain de ce que j’ai pensé de sa performance. Peut-être l’effet de surprise. Peut-être que je ne m’attendais pas du tout à ça. Tout ce que je sais c’est que ce n’était pas mauvais. Ce n’est pas un genre de musique qui m’accroche particulièrement, mais je n’ai pas détesté. Il faudrait bien que j’en réécoute pour me faire une meilleure idée. Mais la foule semble l’avoir apprécié car elle lui a réservé des applaudissements chaleureux à la fin de sa performance.

Pendant les 30 minutes suivantes, on pouvait sentir la fébrilité dans la salle. Tout le monde était impatient de voir Jonsi finalement apparaitre sur scène. Vers 21h00, mon épouse s’avance vers moi et me dit : «dans 5 secondes ça va commencer». J’ai à peine eu le temps de lui demander comment elle faisait pour deviner ça que les lumières s’éteignent. La foule s’excite. La scène était très belle. On y retrouvait de grandes boîtes avec les parois en verre. C’était par contre très encombré, étant donné tous les instruments présents : la batterie, deux orgues et un gros xylophone, pour ne nommer que ceux-là. Personnellement, je ne savais pas trop à quoi m’attendre. Je n’ai jamais vu Sigur Ros en concert, et encore moins Jonsi. La quatrième chanson, Kolnidur, a litterallement donné le ton à cette soirée. C’était tellement beau que les mots me manquent pour le décrire. La musique était à une intensité indescriptible, pendant que les projections nous en mettaient plein la vue.

Jusqu’à la fin du spectacle, avec la pièce Grow Till Tall, l’intensité et l’émerveillement étaient au rendez-vous. Autant je peux apprécier l’album de Jonsi, autant je peux maintenant affirmer qu’il ne rend pas justice à Jonsi et à son art. Sur l’album, les pièces plus rythmées comme Boy Lilikoi, Go Do ou Animal Arithmetic sont  celles que je préfère. Par contre, en spectacle, ce sont les pièces plus douces qui m’ont réellement transporté. À mon humble avis, les moments forts du spectacle ont été Kolnidur et Grow Till Tall, la finale, avec son orage et son mur de son plus grand que nature. J’en redemandais. Je n’aurais vraiment pas pu demander mieux.

Jonsi a également su s’entourer. 4 musiciens partageaient la scène avec lui. Bien qu’ils étaient tous excellent, le drummer m’a particulièrement impressionné. En fait, je dis drummer mais il était bien plus que ça. On l’a entre autre vu jouer de l’orgue et du xylophone. J’apprécie toujours voir dans un concert rock des instruments de musique non-traditionnels ou encore des instruments qui sont joués de façcon non-traditionnelle. Alors, nul besoin de vous dire que j’ai adoré voir du xylophone joué avec des archets. Wow!

En terminant, je dirais que Jonsi est un de ceux qui ne se contente pas de seulement nous donner un bon spectacle. Il nous transporte littéralement dans son univers. Je n’étais plus assis au Métropolis. Pour une heure et demie, j’ai visité le monde de Jonsi. Et j’ai adoré. Merci Jonsi.