Tag Archives: skin tone


Concert Review: Mal Devisa, Skin Tone, Joni Void @ Casa del Popolo

I went to Casa del Popolo this past week to catch the stacked bill consisting of Mal Devisa along with locals Skin Tone and Joni Void. People were a bit in short supply, it being a Sunday night, but high quality art was not!

Skin Tone’s set explored the outer limits of the saxophone on a bed of drone, and did not lose any steam for its duration. It started with a couple frozen notes, then dissonant wrinkles emerged and grew eerier as Skin Tone began to stomp onstage – a march away from his more melodic material. His horn was already saying a lot, but Skin Tone made the message of his set explicit: Do not be complacent in the continuous displacement of indigenous peoples and killing of black people. At this point, Skin Tone ceased marching and began free-form squealing his portrait of racism, capturing fear and sadness in a pure form. It is worth noting that this squealing is beyond where other sax heroes like Pharoah Sanders go. If you want to hear the place between overtones where a person’s soul lies, then see Skin Tone and watch him crack it wide open.

This set was one Joni Void had been looking forward to since supporting Mal Devisa years ago at a Brooklyn show, and being consequently inspired to continue developing his style. Playing at Casa del Popolo, as opposed to Art Lounge (where I previously saw him), allowed him to dial up the low end of his tracks. This gave the thick, patient thump of Joni Void’s kick drum a greater physical presence, making better friends with the freckled, high-end glass sounds. The opening and closing tracks of his set were particularly special, being composed not of found sounds, but of photos: the opener, a picture of himself, the closer, one of his father.

This was Mal Devisa’s first time playing in Montréal. She played a string of songs, and it feels more appropriate to talk about her style in general rather than the individual tracks. Together, her voice and bass put other forms of expression to shame. As a songwriter, each of her songs are a world of their own in a nutshell. She does not waste a single word in drawing emotional arcs complete and cathartic. The songs compel you to cry at the way things are, then instill a warm confidence in knowing things are that way. When she sings, it’s as though you are with her instead of with the audience, demonstrating a rare ability to command any space she decides to play in. It is exciting to watch where she will go from here, as she is already a master. Overall, I am super happy to have been able to catch three inspiring artists in one go – all are highly recommended!

– Review by Rian Adamian


Concert Review: Skin Tone, Buffalo MRI, Thin Gaze @ Concordia Greenhouse


The Concordia Greenhouse, tucked away into the clouds above Concordia University’s Hall building, greets you with a warm humidity and lush scent, once you find your way to the thirteenth (no need to be scared) floor. Last Thursday photosynthesis was not the only creative process occurring.

Arriving before the concert started, I stopped to rub my fingers on a purple-flowered herb – annis hyssop, a delicious tea – and to smell the incredible flowers of the lime (!) tree. So different from the urbanity just a hundred feet or so below, I and the rest of the audience was enchanted by the greenery surrounding us. Nestling between and behind ferns, bushes, trees and hand-built nooks, we settled in for the music to begin.

Skin Tone opened the show with a super short but just as sweet set, opting to ditch the pedals entirely by the end to give us raw, unfiltered saxophone sounds. This was followed by Buffalo MRI, who could barely be seen, as she was tucked to the side of the stage (the stage being no more than an open wooden box, a demonstration balcony garden). But all that needed to be observed were the plants, listening more intently and silently than any of the humans present, absorbing these otherworldly yet earthly tones. Thin Gaze closed out the show with a more human, vocal touch, but mixing the same elements of computer and organic for a thought-provoking twenty minutes or so.

The music ended but the humans remained, unable to step away from this sonic rainforest. Just for a moment, it finally felt like spring.

Review and photo by Carol Fraser

Skin Tone hosts The Montreal Sessions :: Nov 25

James Goddard wraps up a wicked radio residency today, having hosted The Montreal Sessions like a champ all November long.

In his final episode, we’ll hear interviews and performances from local pop, experimental and folk artists like April from Hooded Fang, Kaie Kellough, and Lucas Huang from Old Haunt. This, plus musical selections from non-white persuasions.

Tune in today, 3-5pm at 90.3 FM ~

skin tone

Skin Tone hosts The Montreal Sessions :: Nov 18

skin toneSkin Tone is the solo performance project of James Goddard a local concert promoter (formerly of Loose Fit) and musician (Pop Talk, Public Transit). His Montreal Sessions will focus on exploring issues of identity and how music can both express or avoid them. Over the course of the month expect to hear interviews and live performances by some cool local musickers like Jef Barbara, April Aliermo, Kaie Kellough + like other ones too! Tune in Tuesdays 3-5pm at 90. 3 FM or CKUT.ca 

skin tone

Skin Tone hosts The Montreal Sessions :: Nov 4

skin tone

Hey radio peoples – meet James Goddard, aka Skin Tone. James will be hosting The Montreal Sessions on CKUT for the month of November, an exciting prospect for the station and listeners alike. Tune in Tuesday afternoons, 3-5pm, for music of all kinds from non-white persuasions.

Kicking off the first show with gusto, James will be interviewing Markus Floats, local musician and Electroacoustics alumni, plus we’ll be treated to an in-studio performance.