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  • 22nd Nov, 2005 at 7:53 PM

Alex Bellegarde
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Last Tuesday, I went to the Spectrum to see a jazz concert. It was part of the Montreal Jazz Festival which I've managed to attend for the past two years. Note that I've only been living in this city for a little over a year, so I think that's pretty impressive. Well, actually, the first year I only saw a guy getting his pockets picked and no actual concerts, but we shall overlook this technicality.

I forgot where Spectrum was so I wandered about. As I was about to give up, I realised that I was right in front of it. It's merely steps from the office. There was a girl at the coat check and she noticed that I had bought my ticket. She was quite surprised about the whole thing, since she thought it was all complimentary. Anyway, I went inside and realised that it was a cavernous theatre. They had tables set up everywhere with the theatre mostly empty; so I took the table that was front and centre.

As I was fiddling with my camera when I noticed a gentleman sitting down near me. I looked up and waved hello, but he stuffily looked at his watch. He asked me if the show was to start at 21:00, which was true, and then he harumphed. I looked at my own watch and realised that the concert was late. Only later did I wonder why such an uptight person would attend a jazz concert in Montréal. Maybe he felt he was too important to just enjoy himself?

Dawn Tyler Blues Project
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Up first was Alex Bellegarde with two other people along. I've heard of him before and this was the first time I've seen him or heard his music. He was mostly playing backup to the saxophonist. They actually garnered a lot of applause and cheering, which was nice because they were really quite good. Mr. Bellegrade spoke very quietly and politely, which was really very nice. Sadly, the stage was absolutely massive for a trio, which made the sound seem cold instead of warm and friendly. Or perhaps it was because the theatre hadn't turned up the heat?

People put on their sweaters and coats as the next set came out. Dawn Tyler Watson and Paul Deslauriers came on stage and started playing. They sang some pretty awesome songs. Then they asked if they could play the blues; and there was cheering from the younger crowd in the wings. After a couple of blues songs, they asked if they could play some rock and rool; and there was cheering from the younger crowd in the wings. Up where I was sitting, there were lots of old people who stared at me for being enthusiastic. After a Jimi Hendrix cover, the gentleman beside me got up and left.

I hope I never turn out like that.

Dawn got an extra long set, so she brought out a band that she collaborates with. These guys had a great time on stage. After they had finished, the older people started getting up and putting on their fur coats. I looked about the room and wondered why they were doing this, since it was not even late. Nor had the last band come on stage yet.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

When Kobayashi came on stage, there was much applause and cheering. The audience had gathered up in the centre and were super-enthusiastic. They made far more noise than the other two audiences combined. This reminded me of the SoCalled set that happened at the end of Pop Montreal. Everyone who left early missed out on a great show. And it was the same here.

As usual, I fell in love with the live sound. And since they change things around each time they play, it took me a second or two to recognise each song. There were other photographers so we spent a lot of time up near the stage taking photographs. I saw a man taking pictures with his compact camera, and I recognised him. I had bumped into him earlier when he was explaining to the security guard that this camera was to take photos of Kobayashi for his nephew. Isn't that cool?

After the very short set, we stomped and clapped and cheered for an encore. They only played for forty minutes on stage, which was quite short for the last band. It took a very long time for them to come out again, but they eventually came out again. People started shouting out titles, which made me smile: there were other fans in the crowd. They played one more song, I think it was The Catalyst, and then left the stage.

I talked with the two guys and the girl behind me, and they admitted to being huge fans themselves. Then I bumped into two men who wanted a Kobayashi CD but nobody was selling them out back. I pointed them to the website and highly recommended they buy some copies.

After the show, I got to chat with Josh and Chris and Franco, but I was getting tired so I left for home.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
23rd Nov, 2005 01:15 (UTC)
I still have yet to see Kobayashi. I know they're good and have heard their records. But I haven't seen them live.

That concert seemed so bizarre to me, a really weird lineup. They're all great but so drastically different. Alex does more modern jazz, Dawn (who's an absolute sweetheart, I found out during Jazz Fest this summer) is a phenomenal blues/R&B singer (she can sing jazz pretty darn well too), and Kobayashi is Kobayashi. :) It almost seemed like they drew names of jazzy Montreal musicians out of a hat.
23rd Nov, 2005 01:21 (UTC)
Well, there's a Kobayashi concert on 2 December at Pub Quartier Latin, which you should totally go to. I have other commitments then, or I would be there too.

I really enjoyed this concert a lot, since it totally fits into my model of "I don't care what you play as long as you play well." So I was happily listening and tapping along the entire time.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )