Posts Tagged ‘tour 2012’

Mayer Hawthorne at Corona Theatre

May 27, 2012

26 May 2012

Mayer Hawthorne and The County played to a full house at The Corona Theatre in Montreal last night and did not disappoint, bringing their Motown swagger and good times great oldies vibe. Hawthorne was decked out in a red tux (in solidarity with la CLASSE?) and Air Jordans and showcased songs from his latest album How Do You Do? and his breakout record A Strange Arrangement.

The Hawth does such an amazing job of getting the crowd involved with singalongs, call-and-response exchanges, and choreographed hand motions, that it’s impossible not to get caught up in the music. Critics call him a “throwback” artist, which some say is a schtick or comes off as phony, but I find it genuine and authentic – rather than simply copying singers of old, Hawthorne’s music can be seen as an homage, using Motown and soul as inspiration for reviving the craft of live performance. Perhaps the fact that he grew up in the Detroit area adds credence to his music, but the bottom line is that Hawthorne wants to put on a “show” and truly entertain, and entertain us he did. He had a J-Dilla interlude and a Hall & Oates breakdown for Christ’s sake! He let us take photos of him holding a bouquet of flowers and took a picture of us for his Twitter account, and then politely asked everyone to put our cameras away and “pretend” we were at a show enjoying it in “real time”. We danced non stop, I spilt beer on some girl and her chum wanted to beat me up for a split second before remembering he was in a happy place. The vibes were too good for anyone to stay mad for long.

Mayer Hawthorne is a gentleman and the ladies clearly love him. His set was tight, he hit all of his notes with ease and his backing band was perfect. My only critique is the same one I made when I first saw him in Toronto in 2009 – he needs horns and two large black ladies doing back up vocals! Other than that, a helluva live show and a great weekend. Peace.

*photo by Jacquelyn Taylor*

Grimes at Cabaret du Mile End in Montreal

April 7, 2012

31 March 2012

It-girl Claire Boucher aka Grimes, finished up her first headlining tour in the city where it all began, playing to a sold out crowd at Cabaret du Mile End. She started the show solo on stage, twiddling knobs and building loops of voice and synth to excellent effect, yet it wasn’t until openers Born Gold joined her on stage to help flesh out her sound that the show really started to cook. The concert showcased tracks from her critically acclaimed new album Visions as well as a few older songs, like the hypnotic “Vanessa”. Grimes was particularly cute and awkward on stage, seeming a bit nervous and shy, continually asking the sound guy to “turn down the lights” and “turn up the music”.

And once the lights went down and the sound went up Grimes seemed much more in her element, letting her inhibitions go and her voice soar. And for the most part, she totally had the vocal chops live, although I did notice some voice loops assisting her once in awhile, most notably during the high parts of “Be a Body”. Production wise I was very impressed as the songs took on a grittier, darker vibe than they have on the album. The bass thumped hard, the snare pops rattled, and the synths coalesced into an analogue swirl of sound indebted to the work of Aphex. In sum, it was a great show, and I think she should seriously consider having Born Gold accompany her on the next tour, because I’m unsure as to whether the show would have had the same sense of freshness and urgency if they weren’t helping propel her sound farther and louder.

Still, in my opinion, Grimes should be playing at this year’s Mutek, as she seems to be on the cusp of a whole new wave of young electronic artists further pushing the boundaries of genre and technology. I digs.

Best track: “Life After Death