Category Archives: Reviews

Album Review: Benjamin Booker – Witness

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Benjamin Booker is soulful garage-rock at its finest. His characteristic blues-meets-punk style, alongside his distinct husky voice, results in a unique, gritty sound that one might stumble upon in a New Orleans bar. On each track of Witness, Booker’s highly anticipated sophomore album, he croons on a number of subjects, from faithlessness to police brutality, resulting in a record that is emotional, raw, and highly intimate.

Production-wise, the album’s opener “Right on You” sets the tone for the record. Heavily panned right and left channels serve to isolate the instruments and Booker’s voice. This decision is consistent in every track on the album: there is no song on Witness where everything feels centred. The audience enters a unique kind of listening experience as the intricately balanced isolations allow for more instrumental clarity. One can hear the way each particular element adds to the song’s arrangement as a whole rather than focusing on how they all work together simultaneously in the track. Booker unabashedly introduces listeners to this novel sonic environment of Witness — he invites them to stay, yet remains nonchalantly uncaring if they don’t.

“Right on You” blends into “Motivation,” a track with a lo-fi vibe that begins with a tape-saturated acoustic guitar and a syncopated bass groove. In the chorus, slightly distorted violins swell in the left channel, offering an unconventional type of orchestration that brings an interesting contrast to the acoustic elements within the song. In “Believe,” the listener hears the soulful elements of Booker’s music: the background vocals are akin to a gospel choir, and they harmonize with Booker as he yearns to find a resolution in his search for faith: “I don’t care if right or wrong / I just want to believe in something / I cannot make it on my own.” The title track, “Witness,” is a commentary on police brutality and racial issues in America. Resonant lines such as “Thought we saw he had a gun / thought that it looked like he started a run” make this the album’s most poignant track by highlighting Booker’s strongest lyrics on the record.

Besides “Witness,” the most memorable songs on the record are the ones emphasizing Booker’s well-crafted guitar riffs. In “Truth is Heavy,” the guitar lick isolated on the right side and the bass riff isolated on the left create a unique melodic blend, exemplifying how the producer’s decision to include heavy pans augments the music’s emotive abilities.

Booker’s strength is his bluesy and garage-influenced guitar work, as it allows him to create groovy, head-bobbing rock tracks without being overly flashy. However, most tracks on the album offer only subtle dynamic changes; additionally, since the drum patterns tend to remain steady and simple, at times the songs on Witness seem to drag. Nonetheless, Booker delivers this static feel exceptionally well and this may have been his intention: he emphasizes movement and repetition so listeners can hone in on the pulse of the music in order to lose themselves within it.

– Review by Francesca Pastore

Concert Review: Next Music From Tokyo Vol. 10

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On May 22nd, I arrived at Divan Orange at 8:00 pm, just before the music was supposed to start, to find a room already packed to the brim with a horde of excited fans. The concert was a showcase of Japanese bands, part of an ongoing series called Next Music From Tokyo. I was planning on bringing a few friends along, but even at such an early hour, the show was – in the words of organizer Steven Tanaka – “beyond sold out.” From talking to a few people at the concert and record store clerks, I eventually gathered that this 10th edition of Next Music From Tokyo was the most popular one yet.

I ended up at the show after recently reading Ian Martin’s Quit Your Band!: Musical Notes From the Japanese Underground – a newly published, finely compiled compendium of the history and inner-workings of the Japanese underground music scene. As Martin takes the reader through the history of Japanese rock music and band politics, he opens one chapter with a short story about Canada, presenting the country as some sort of promised land for indie bands aspiring to greatness. Martin then goes on to discuss a mythical figure within the Canadian scene, someone who would regularly travel to Tokyo from his home in Toronto several times a year to scout out underground bands, hoping to enlist them in a series of concerts in Canada.

Martin eventually reveals this mythical figure to be Tanaka, an anesthesiologist working in Toronto who moonlights as a seminal figure in Tokyo’s underground music scene. Intrigued, I decided to dig further. I found Tanaka’s blog on the Next Music From Tokyo website, where he writes about seeing bands playing live, hanging out with the members, and the intricacies of the scene itself. Both the book and blog made the Next Music project sound like an amazingly genuine product of love for the music, and I knew there was no excuse for me not to be at the next instalment.

So I found myself alone at Divan Orange, where Tanaka’s love and excitement were on full display as he introduced each of the five bands playing that evening. He spoke so candidly and excitedly about the bands that you couldn’t help but feel the same sense of pure unadulterated glee. This enthusiasm was matched by the performers, too. Although a lot of words were lost in translation, each band emitted some seriously positive vibes. The combination of good energy from the organizers and bands created an experience that I won’t forget until I’m old and senile, and maybe not even then. Let me walk you through it.

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Album Review: Best Fern – Covers EP

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The work of the Montreal-based group Best Fern is not foreign to this blog — their self-titled EP, which was released around the end of the summer in 2016, stayed on CKUT’s charts throughout the fall and into the new year. The group is comprised of Montrealers Nick Schofield and Alexia Avina, the latter having also made waves with her solo releases this past spring. Best Fern’s latest offering is definitely an interesting move; the title of the new EP, Covers, aptly reflects the content of the record. When asked about the motivation behind releasing an EP made up entirely of covers, Avina said the duo “liked the idea of paying homage” to the work of some of their favourite artists, “while also imbuing the tunes with [their] own sonic style”.

First up on Covers is “Morning Side,” the group’s take on a 20-minute trance piece by British artist Four Tet. Best Fern’s version of the song is condensed to a more palatable four minutes, and does so without sacrificing complex vocal layering and sampling. “Morning Side” rides a strong, pulsating current, punctuated by ever-changing electronic sounds, showcasing Schofield’s creativity as the producer behind Best Fern.

The following track, “It Means I Love You,” features Avina’s strikingly clear voice as the main attraction. The instrumental aspects of the song are restrained, made up of mainly a driving drum track and simple synth bass line; however, this minimal structure allows Avina to showcase her versatile and expansive vocal abilities. In addition to carrying the main melody and lyrics of the song, she also incorporates soaring lines and more percussive elements, developing a tonal mosaic which leaves Best Fern’s stamp on the popular Jessy Lanza tune.

Schofield and Avina also add their signature softness to Panda Bear’s “Comfy in Nautica.” The more vocal-forward approach of Best Fern’s version serves to round out the sharp edges of the original, without losing the track’s meditative feel. Rich synth chords and a dynamic range of samples make every second of the song an new and interesting moment to lose oneself in. While acknowledging that most of Panda Bear’s music has had an impact on Best Fern’s sound, Avina says they chose to cover “Comfy in Nautica” because it spoke to their “ambient/drone influence as people and as a project.”

The EP finishes with my favourite track off Covers, “Bugs Don’t Buzz”, originally by Majical Cloudz. In form and melody, Best Fern’s take on the song stays fairly loyal to the original composition. Where the cover differs, however, is in the ethereal quality which permeates the duo’s work. Sparkling synth and layered vocal harmonies fill out an otherwise sparse arrangement, developing a day-dreaming feel that moves lazily towards a slow fade. The song’s smooth, uninterrupted flow make for a perfect drifting summer tune, and a gentle end to the EP.

A release comprised entirely of cover tunes is a bold move by any group; however, Covers demonstrates Best Fern’s ability to leave their stamp on some of the most popular hallmarks of modern electronic music. In this early summer release, Schofield and Avina transform four songs into works of their own. Schofield’s use of a vast range of electronic tones and sounds, and Avina’s soft, yet incredibly varied vocal tones create a dream-like set of songs that are the perfect accompaniment to the long, lazy summer days ahead.

– Review by Nora Duffy

Album Review: There’s A Better Something – Emmett McCleary

17834083_1683230611687423_6525160691465892576_oEmmett McCleary is of the opinion that it’s much easier to write a sad song than a happy one, though you might not catch it right away in his intricate, snappy tracks. The Newton native, finishing his university career here at McGill University, self-released his debut LP There’s A Better Something last month, just in time for Montreal to wake up from its eight-month long winter hibernation. The ten-track release, only 30 minutes in length, is a gentle breath of fresh air, and celebrates the return of the summery, sun-soaked 60s and 70s.

McCleary more than proves his worth as a burgeoning professional musician, mixing the retro musical themes of his youth with the jangle pop overtaking Montreal’s Mile End. While he draws heavily from influences like Joni Mitchell, the Beach Boys, and Elliott Smith, McCleary adds a personal touch to his music; in particular, There’s A Better Something addresses depression and trying to find new ways to stay positive while navigating through school, love, and the dreaded Montreal winters (despite being a born-and-bred East Coast boy, he is adamant about moving to warmer climes after graduation).

There’s A Better Something, McCleary’s first full-length album since changing his moniker from his high school project Easter, demonstrates a successful shift from a DIY-attitude to one of collaboration. Thanks to his father’s experience in the recording business, the album boasts a crisp, full-bodied production quality; a step up from the more homey sound of Easter’s discography. Additionally, the shift allowed McCleary to lean on the creative resources of Boston and Montreal’s fine music communities, rather than playing all the instruments himself. As a result, the instrumentals are more adventurous, tinkering with pedal steel guitar and experimenting with some different genres.

The album opens with the the sweet, breezy “Candy,” an airy track that is anchored by the subtle theme of social anxiety present in the lyrics. The female background vocals, provided by childhood friends of McCleary, add another layer to a fairly straightforward track. “She’s Coming Home” provides a subtle electronic introduction before launching into a gorgeous ballad; this track is easily McCleary’s boldest piece of work, both musically and vocally. He momentarily leaves his breathy falsetto behind, adopting instead a gruffness that serves him very well.

“Bright and Blue” moves like a country slow dance in the early morning, wistful and intimate. The echo and pleading chorus serve as a window into McCleary’s darker heart.  “Twine and Straw” shows his edgier side, guitars smoldering underneath almost-shouted lyrics. Discordant melodies sprinkled here and there provide a nice contrast to the otherwise pleasant musical atmosphere on the rest of the album. There’s A Better Something ends with the title track, a short acoustic number that brings home the sweet melancholy that McCleary does so well.

In fact, the entire album is a smooth navigation between raw emotions and catchy hooks. McCleary is wholesome, but never disingenuous. He advertises “earnest music for earnest people,” and what you hear is what you get: retro pop for the tender heart.

Album released: May 12, 2017

review by Juliana Van Amsterdam 

Album Review: Slowdive – S/T

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Slowdive opens with a demand: “Give me your love.” This forcefulness at the beginning of the album seems fitting for the group’s self-titled release, considering it’s their first one in 22 years. Such an extended absence from the music scene warrants a strong plea for admiration and attention – and a listen to the record shows it is well-deserved. It successfully brings Slowdive back to the forefront of the shoegaze scene with instrumentality and craftsmanship that is aesthetically muddied, yet sleek and spacious.

Throughout the record, soft synths dominate the background stereo image. The drums remain at a low volume in the mix, emphasizing the album’s focus on utilizing ambient elements to compose a huge-sounding background rather than playing up any rhythmic structures. Distorted leads pierce through this foundation of sound to complete the instrumental arrangement. This method of arrangement is present throughout the album, but is best exemplified in the album’s second single, “Sugar for the Pill.” A lone delayed electric guitar establishes a slick chord progression in the beginning of the song before a silky, mid-heavy distorted lead guitar appears and plays in sync with the progression. These elements combine with a bass riff that is so, so groovy to set the pulse of the track and make it the most dynamic and fun on the record.

The opener, “Slomo,” sets a space-y vibe along with a casual, upbeat rhythm. The dreamy synths, paired with the looping and distorted guitar riff, could be the soundtrack for a flight through dark space. Goth-rock elements are apparent in “Star Roving,” where the vocals almost resemble Peter Murphy’s from Bauhaus, and the guitar riffs with reverb-heavy distortion and rhythmic strums sound akin to the guitars of Christian Death.

The album’s only weakness lies in the lyrics, which are neither particularly distinct or profound. As the vocals are usually lower in volume than the instruments and drenched in a heavy hall reverb, the words are muddled together and often indiscernible. However, of the actually audible lyrics, there are gems of honest simplicity. In “No Longer Making Time,” Neil Halstead croons: “Oh Lord I remember those days / And all those nights / When you wanted so much more.” This track directs the album toward a more reminiscent feel, that culminates in the album’s closing song, “Falling Ashes.” With a piano riff that repeats for the entirety of the track’s eight minutes and very minimal involvement from other instruments, it is a soft and circular ending to the record. Halstead incessantly repeats the phrase, “Thinking about love,” which characterizes the circular nature of both the track and mindset of the album: beginning and ending with the notion of love.

– Review by Francesca Pastore

Concert Review: Chance the Rapper Takes the Bell Centre to Church

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“I talk to God in public,” Chance the Rapper proudly proclaims in “Blessings,” the radiant closer of his brilliant mixtape, Coloring Book. After Thursday night’s concert, it’s no wonder the man upstairs has his ear on the 24-year-old Chicago beat-maker.

After opening act DJ Oreo warmed up the crowd with throwback hits, Chance came out guns blazing, tearing through “Mixtape,” “Blessings,” and the infectious “Angels.” After spending ample time interacting with the audience, he then transitioned into a mashup of Kanye West numbers that he cowrote off The Life of Pablo including “Waves,” and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” concluding with his triumphant verse in “Ultralight Beam.” The crowd was hooked.

Backed by Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, Chance then performed the jubilant “Sunday Candy” before giving his backing vocalists the spotlight as they serenaded the crowd with their rendition of “D.R.A.M. Sings Special.” It came with no surprise that DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” was part of the night’s setlist, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and just recently went platinum. That night, the Justin-Bieber-sung track sounded less like mindless pop-radio fluff and more like the undisputed song of the summer.

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Chance also didn’t shy away from his older hits, performing “Chainsmoker,” “Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Favorite Song” off his 2013 critically acclaimed mixtape Acid Rap, which helped place the Grammy-winner on the map. While performing the latter, the rapper looked just as ecstatic as we all were to hear it.

Then came one of the many highlights of the night: the defiant “No Problem”, which he prefaced by urging the crowd to be fearless. Behind him, the massive screen displayed distorted logos of prominent record labels: most notably, the Warner Music Group emblem, which was fashioned to look like a flaccid penis. Followed by the equally high-energy “All Night,” Chance then transitioned into a number of slow jams, including “Summer Friends” and “Same Drugs” yet he did not lose the audience for a second.

Before concluding the night with “Blessings (Reprise),” Chance told the crowd, “make some noise if you want to go to heaven.” For those two hours, it was as close as many of us were ever going to get.

– Review by Matthew Martino

Concert Review: Perfume Genius + serpentwithteeth @ Theatre Fairmount

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The room was already nearly full when I arrived 15 minutes early, wandering over to the merch booth to look at the t-shirts and gold ‘No Shape’ necklaces. The stage was dimly lit and bristling with palm fronds which looked fake, but must have been real because the tips were starting to brown. I managed to get up close just in time.

serpentwithteeth took the stage and it all began, Josiah Wise’s flawless voice winding and fluttering as string and horn samples unfolded over watery kick drums. The combination was effective and arresting: minimal looped gospel-tinged meditations centered around desire, attraction, and queer intimacy. He seemed to glower, basking in the ominous energy of the music and then slipping easily into quick-witted banter between songs, trading barbs with some rowdy audience members and working his lyrical content into an ongoing conversation. While the slippery sounds and his sometimes menacing presentation seemed at first designed to be off-putting, his gorgeous vocal delivery and fearless vulnerability soon won the room over, and he was gone from the stage much too soon.

After a short wait, a bass-boosted-beyond-all-recognition version of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” gave way to an instrumental rendition of “Choir” from this year’s thrilling No Shape LP, and then Perfume Genius strode into view. About a minute in, set and album opener “Otherside” proved itself to be the ideal kickoff track as the delicate piano arpeggios and Mike Hadreas’s cracked falsetto dropped suddenly into a sparkling chorus of soaring pads and tooth-rattling bass. This dynamic played out easily into the rest of the set as the band pivoted smoothly between hushed, beautiful moments and ponderous, locked grooves. The whole vibe of the performance was cohesive, right down to the sartorial choices: Mike wore a scandalous bare-shouldered classy outfit, and it only served to emphasize the way he slunk across the stage mid-song.

Highlight tracks included the stuttering “Go Ahead,” the trip-hop-drenched “Die 4 You” and the absolutely ecstatic yodel of “Wreath.” While at times the mood reflected all sorts of melancholic and introspective shades, the overarching thread was one of triumph, of security, of winking self-awareness. Mike’s strange and authentic sense of humor was on display throughout, along with the obvious affection between all sharing the stage. Quieting down for the encore, we were treated to a couple solo piano numbers, culminating in the rest of the band returning for a dazzling rendition of “Hood” off his 2012 LP Put Your Back N 2 It. The show closed perfectly with the towering snarl of queer anthem “Queen” and then it was over, and I followed the flushed audience out onto Parc, surrounded by straight dudes proclaiming loudly to all within earshot that “that was actually really sick.”

Album Review: A Blaze of Feather – EP 1

A Blaze of Feather’s EP 1 feels like overcast, like Irish winter, like the wind. A cloud of mystery surrounds this experimental dark-folk project lead by Mickey Smith. Information about the band still remains quite sparse, and only recently did Smith reveal himself as one of the main producers and members, while also confirming the involvement of indie-rock’s big name Ben Howard (Every Kingdom, I Forget Where We Were) in the project.  
 
Instrumentally, the sounds of the electric guitars drenched in various reverb, delay, and octave generator effects are the most striking element of the EP – consistently and definitively pushing the limits of a guitar’s imagined potential. Their presence is so all-encompassing and elongated, I often confused them with the synths also at work in most of the songs. A shimmering acoustic guitar also appears in a few of the tracks on the EP, and creates an interesting contrast when paired alongside the immense atmosphere created by the synths and electric guitars. 
 
Th EP’s single, “Carousel,” showcases this contrast best through its excellent arrangement of verb-ed out guitars and droning synths in combination with a strummed acoustic guitar that pops in and out of the mix. Like almost every track on the EP, the ambient sounds fade into the left side and dynamically drip into the right, forming a strong stereo soundscape for the vocals to complete the melodic sphere. Howard is featured in this track, where he sings, “With my last breath / I comfort you,” right before light sawing synths reclaim the musical arrangement for a few bars. A steady rock beat is then re-introduced alongside them, and drives the song until its end. 
 
Folk elements culminate most in the last song of the EP, “Freagh.” The track, named after a municipality in Ireland, is the only song on the EP that begins almost immediately with the clear melodic instrumentation, where the center focus is on a finger-picked acoustic riff paired with two voices.  It is notably the EP’s most vocally driven song and ends it with a strong, optimistic tone, as Smith sings: “Come hell or heavy weather, evening dances in the gold.”
 
Ultimately I found the standout track on EP 1 to be “Death.” It begins like the others on the EP, with a long, droning intro. At the one-minute mark, layers of voices suddenly appear, and their blend is so full that they sound like a synths themselves. This makeshift synth-choir ends with the most powerful line of the EP: “There is no shelter from the sound of the end.” The track then converges into a Schoenberg-esque string accompaniment with octave jumps and tones that interchange between being melodic and dissonant. This instrumentation suggestively (and intentionally, I believe) creates what “the end” may sound like: a composition of isolated yet serene tones that mesh together to construct an uncertain but grand and distinct whole. 
 

Each song on A Blaze of Feather’s EP 1 is a mini soft-world, like a separate cloud of sound in a wider atmospheric space that contains the six songs of the release. The low-volume distortion that carries over into every song connects each piece as if they were overlapping like smoke. Perhaps this is what the album attempts to capture in its cover: a giant cloud of music that characterizes white and dark and gray weather through poetry and melody.

– Review by Francesca Pastore

Concert Review: Slowdive & Japanese Breakfast @ Olympia

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It had been a long week, grey and rainy. I’d come down with a cold on Tuesday and spent the following 72 hours in a clogged funk. How providential, then, for the clouds to part late Saturday afternoon, low sun bursting through to the wet and shining city, hours before Slowdive took the stage at Olympia. Bolstered by the promising weather, I popped my meds and headed down to the show.

Japanese Breakfast kicked things off, the room already nearing capacity. The Brooklyn quartet lined the front of the stage and dutifully powered through their upbeat indie rock setlist, frontwoman Michelle Zauner’s peppy banter linking one song to the next. They seemed a little stiff, with their songs failing to really pop and fill the room. It was difficult to determine whether the fault lied with the arrangement and instrumentation or with the venue’s sound techs: guitar and bass blurred together and backup vocals remained buried in the mix. In the end Michelle’s powerful vocals stood out as the only clearly distinguishable element, and it felt more like we were hearing the idea of the songs than the complete package. Despite these sound issues the audience was forgiving, sending the band off with a roar as they closed with their strongest number, the driving “Machinist.”

After a wait filled with steadily rising hype and a strikingly good playlist (krautrock, Abba, and a Rihanna cover), the lights dimmed. The immediately familiar, comforting swells of Brian Eno’s “Deep Blue Day” filled the room and Slowdive ambled onstage, greeted us politely, and began.

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At first, I was concerned. The opening run of songs seemed initially to be suffering from the same issues as the previous set: things felt a little muddy and underwhelming. Easing us in with a couple new songs and a few cuts off their older but lesser-known albums, the anticipation continued to swell, as if they hadn’t yet fully arrived.

As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Twenty minutes in, they dropped “Machine Gun” and everything locked into place. The difference was immediate. My body shook with peals of thundering guitar and pounding drums as psychedelic vistas opened up behind my closed eyelids, spurred by the strobing screensaver visuals onstage. The song  hit harder, much heavier than the ones before. Maybe it was the crowd responding to an old favourite, maybe the techs finally nailed the mix, maybe the song was just written that way; whatever the case, from that point forward, they were in their groove.

The remainder of the set proved to be a pleasant exercise in dynamics. All the older tracks, such as “Alison” and the outstanding “When the Sun Hits,” served as the anchors, the ballast around which we could comfortably tether. Peppered between, the newer tracks all seemed lighter by comparison, more spacious and synth-heavy, marking an interesting new direction from more mature songwriters. The oscillation between gritty ’90s shoegaze and polished contemporary alt-rock was pleasant, and – with the aid of a truly outstanding light show – hypnotic. When the encore finished and the lights came on, I wandered out, dazed, with a newfound respect for an iconic group that has flourished for decades and turned out to be a lot more versatile than I once assumed.

 

Concert Review: Mac DeMarco & Tonstartssbandht @ Metropolis

On May 10th and 11th, Mac DeMarco returned to his old Montreal stomping grounds for two sold-out shows at Metropolis. Less than a week before the shows DeMarco released a new LP titled This Old Dog, yet the May 10th set balanced tracks from DeMarco’s previous albums with his new material fairly evenly. Despite DeMarco’s soft, lo-fi sound and relaxed style, his live performances tend to be quite high-energy. The first of his two Montreal dates was no exception: the concert was fun, exciting, and entertaining enough to live up to the hype.

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Fellow Montreal expats Tonstartssbandht opened for both Metropolis shows. The band is made up of brothers Edwin and Andy White, who also plays in DeMarco’s touring band. Tonstartssbandht played a show in Montreal a couple months ago for their latest album Sorceror, which I also had the pleasure of attending. The February concert was at Bar le Ritz PDB and although Metropolis is much larger, Tonstartssbandht had no trouble filling the whole venue with their dreamy, experimental rock aesthetic. Their set featured energetic percussion and pleasantly slow, psychedelic melodies that harmonized to deliver a chill, groove-driven performance.

When DeMarco took the stage, I felt like I was witnessing the presence of a phenomenon. After all I’d heard and seen of DeMarco’s aesthetic and behavior, including the trends he’s inspired, it was hard to remember that he is, first and foremost, a musician. However, once he launched into “Salad Days,” the title track from his second LP, I immediately recalled the appeal of DeMarco’s sunny melodies and warm vocals. While it was hard at the concert not to think of the countless people I’ve met who remind me of DeMarco, his friendly hipster shtick appears original and authentic when performed by the man himself. Tracks from This Old Dog, like “Moonlight on the River,” “For the First Time,” and “One More Love Song” featured stronger acoustic leanings and a hazy, romantic pop sound. These tracks complimented DeMarco’s popular upbeat songs like “Cooking Up Something Good,” “Freaking Out the Neighborhood,” and “The Stars Keep on Calling my Name,” all of which initiated wild dancing and moshing from the crowd.

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Many fans climbed up on stage during the concert with the intention of giving DeMarco a high-five, taking a selfie, or jumping into the crowd to surf; however, despite these interjections the band seemed set on giving Montreal a true performance. By the end of the show, DeMarco had started refusing high-fives, swatting away cameras, and even pushing fans onstage back into the crowd. As an audience member sitting in the balcony section, I greatly appreciated this dedication to performing, even if it did seem to contradict DeMarco’s lazy style. My personal favorite quote of the evening came from Andy White during DeMarco’s set, who told everyone, “Put your phones away kids; enjoy the show.” It was a valuable reminder for such a raucous, enjoyable night.

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– Review and photos by Celia Robinovitch