Didn’t know what to expect as I arrived at L’Astral yesterday evening to see Whitehorse in concert. I was dumbfounded by the mandatory coat check and the four chairs per table rule. Guess this is not the “Ritz” PDB. Spotted a couple at a table and joined them on their romantic date while waiting for the show to start.

The Montreal duo Mentana opened for Whitehorse. They were ok I guess. It began with Islands and Rupees, a beautiful song written for Rafaël Ouellet’s movie Camion. Thereafter the songs just resembled each other. Not saying they’re not talented, only it’s a tough thing to be playing without your band as was the case that night. I even started getting impatient when Robin Joël-Cool gave his speeches between songs.

Whitehorse at l'Astral

Whitehorse at l’Astral

At last Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland stepped on stage. Listening to their albums and watching them play live are two different experiences. A suggestion, go see them in concert even if you’re not overwhelmed by their recordings. You’ll get something out of it. First of all, it’s a duo playing band songs. They work very hard at it by playing a multitude of instruments and using loop recording. You’ll see them with acoustic and electric guitars, drums, bass and keyboards. Furthermore, there’s chemistry on stage. I read in an article that married life is not something they want to share with the public. Seems justifiable but also hard for us to ignore when seeing them perform. Would also like to add that Luke Doucet’s guitar solos are exceptionally good. Love it how he just bends over to play. With Melissa McClelland it’s her voice that makes her stand out. The concert was perfect with the exception of drunkards behind me screaming obscenities.

The encore ended with two songs. The first, Un Canadien Errant, written in 1842 by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie, about the pains of living in exile. You’ll find that cover on “The Road To Massey Hall” EP, the first album I recommend you listen if you don’t know their music. The last song was a Tom Waits cover, and, well, I’m a sucker for Tom Waits. They could’ve played Gun Street Girl for an eternity (I’m exaggerating here) and it would’ve been ok.

If they ever perform again in Montreal or in your town, go see them because you never know what the future brings. Bands never last forever right?

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About The Author

China Marsot-Wood
Collaborator - RREVERB
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China used to avoid going to shows because she felt uncomfortable in crowds. Then in 2005 a friend convinced her to go to a White Stripes concert. That changed everything. In an ongoing attempt to recapture that magical moment, she has become an avid concert-goer and decided last fall to share those experiences in her personal blog. She is happy to join the RREVERB team to further share her love of the music scene.